cover image The Fox Maidens

The Fox Maidens

Robin Ha. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-268513-1

Ha (Almost American Girl) puts a queer and feminist twist on the origins of the Fox Maiden from Korean folklore in this fantastical graphic novel. The only daughter of famed General Song, 10-year-old Kai desperately wants to be a fighter like her older brothers. But her father will only train her secretly, believing that the patriarchal Joseon society will never accept a female warrior. The rumors that she’s a descendant of Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox demon, ostracize her further. But her strong sense of justice emboldens her to stay on the warrior path and prompts her to aid a thief in their escape. On the day she experiences her first moonblood, or period, Kai’s life changes drastically, forcing her mother to reveal the truth about her own past—and about Kai’s destiny. Across cleanly rendered, digitally illustrated panels with starkly highlighted hues in reds, blues, greens, and yellows, Kai tenaciously attempts to change her fate, encounters a familiar face on a parallel journey, and finds compassion and love along the way. Front matter provides context into historical worldbuilding. An author’s note concludes. Characters are Korean. Ages 13–up. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Literary. (Feb.)