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Vicious Spirits is the follow-up to Wicked Fox and deals with the aftermaths of pretty much every event which occurred in Wicked Fox. The main focus lies on Somin and Junu, both individuals with very strong characters who have a lot to say about everything they come across. And even though the fate of the world is at stake they somehow still have time to live out their love-hate for each other.
It is rarely the case that a follow-up book is better than the first one of the series but Vicious Spirits is exactly that. One of the main themes is the loss of someone beloved and how to deal with this loss. It's seeping through the whole story and it shows how the four main protagonists deal with it - Somin suppressing her feelings of missing her dad, Miyoung being wretched in guilt because of Yena's death, Jihoon not being himself and Junu…well Junu being Junu and not admitting to anything that is just vaguely connected to his human past and thereby ignoring his losses. And while everyone is still processing the events from early spring a new threat is rising and it's still connected to Miyoung's fox bead: a tear between the world of the living and the world of the dead causing ghosts to float back to the mortal realm and causing more and more harm the longer they stay. So the task of solving this problem falls on Junu if he doesn't want Miyoung to pay with her life to close the tear. But no one could've anticipated what would be unraveled throughout their journey. Least of all Junu who finds himself not only drawn to Somin but also being honest to himself and others the very first time in his life. Which has been really, really long up until this point.
Next on getting to know Junu, his past and whole being Somin is also being introduced closer. Being merely a strong, independent and sometimes rude sidekick to Jihoon in Wicked Fox she is established as a caring, no-nonsense, strong and independent young woman with her own mindset and not afraid to talk her mind. To everyone. Even a mountain god. Getting to know her better is one of the best parts of the story because it becomes obvious that there is more to her than her protective attitude towards Jihoon. She's trying so hard to live in the supernatural world she just can't be a part of that all or at least most of her actions are relatable. The slowly building relationship to Junu is so refreshingly charming and the fact that immortal Junu is overwhelmed by her every time they get into an argument is absolutely funny.
The writing is - like in the first one - focused on detailed scenes and a slowly building story instead of a short paced action packed story which focuses on a love story halfway through. The whole plot lines - the main theme of loss and love in life, the ghosts floating back to the realm of the living, Junu's past and Somin's fight to keep the ones she loves safe - blend into a satisfying and interesting story with a lot of values being told along the way. The characters are lovable, deep and believable and written with the right amount of humor.
So all in all Vicious Spirits is a more than worthy follow-up to Wicked Fox and definitely worth reading.