This month my reading group, Novel Conversations, picked the genre of fairy tales and folklore inspired fiction. I picked this book both because it is folklore inspired from a different culture and it isn't another retelling of a European fairy tale.
The center of this book is the Korean legend of the gumiho, the nine tailed fox. This fox lives an immortal life by sucking the gi or life force of people. The fox is always presented as a beautiful woman. Legend also seems to hold that if the fox doesn't take any gi for 100 day, she will die.
For our story, the gumiho is a teen called Miyoung. She and her mother move frequently. On her monthly hunt, hunting is best under the full moon, she rescues a teen boy Jihoon from a goblin. It turns out she is a new student at Jihoon's school. They become friends, although Miyoung tries very hard to not be friends. Over time they become closer. Then Miyoung is attacked and Jihoon is injured.
Another part of the legend is something called the fox bead. It usually resides inside the gumiho. During the first time Miyoung and Jihoon meet, her bead is knocked out of her body. The bead is important because if someone other than the fox can get and keep the bead, they can control the fox. A large part of the action is about getting the bead back where it belongs.
This reforming of the legend is part coming of age and part young romance. I enjoyed the story. I liked learning a little about another culture. I recommend the book.