After the events of Wicked Fox, Somin is ready to help her friends pick up the pieces of their broken lives and heal. But Jihoon is still grieving the loss of his grandmother, and Miyoung is distant as she grieves over her mother's death and learns to live without her fox bead. The only one who seems ready to move forward is their not-so-favorite dokkaebi, Junu. In Vicious Spirits, Kat Cho delivers another beguiling and addictive read full of otherworldly dangers and romance.
Jody and Reina share their thoughts below.
Jody says: The book doesn’t shine in its rich descriptions or colorful prose, but captures readers with the folklore the story is built upon. While Vicious Spirits is set in modern day Seoul, the supernatural characters represent an ancient heritage that is unique and compelling. I personally loved how there were folktales wedged in between the different chapters.
Reina says: Kat Cho's unembellished, unpretentious prose again allows you to simply enjoy the show without getting caught up in flowery, flashy narration. I devoured this book in a day as the story unfolded on the page, each scene flowing seamlessly into the next. Compared to Gumiho, the twists were less shocking in Dokkaebi, and the plot felt safer and more predictable. I don’t mind terribly, though, because the world itself was novel enough to keep me entertained.
Jody says: While the cast is smattered with beings of different shapes, sizes, and convoluted histories, their depictions remain very human: flawed and instinctively relatable. [...] The love they have for one another, whether platonic or romantic (not a spoiler: there is an enemies-to-lovers trope here which I am a huge fan of), wraps around their lives, making them feel pain and comfort, and propel the story forward.
Reina says: If Gumiho banked on the slow burn, friends-to-lovers dynamic, Dokkaebi went full throttle on the enemies to lovers trope. Which I must admit, I am a complete sucker for! If you’ll recall the little glimpses of antagonism and teasing between Junu and Somin in the first book, they set the stage nicely for the barbed banter, steamy kisses, and vulnerable moments that fill the six-day timeline of Dokkaebi.
Jody says: Vicious Spirits will lead you through mountains, ghost-infested cities, and awkward homes. It will introduce you to characters that ache so much they bleed, and it will quietly ask you amidst all the mist and myth, “what’s a life worth living?”
Reina says: If Gumiho’s emotional mess of an ending left you clamoring for more of Kat Cho’s fantasy world, Dokkaebi is just the thing to comfort you. It brightened that one day for me in quarantine with a combination of Korean folklore, feisty romance, fast cars, and characters that, refreshingly, look like me.