When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter―finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.
Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?
Warning: this review may contain spoilers for Vicarious
Ferocious is a worthy enough sequel to the psychological mystery that Vicarious was. In the previous book, most of the plot was devoted to Winter trying to solve her sister’s murder while giving her mental illness the stink eye and looking very badass while doing all of that. Ferocious shifts the plot slightly into a revenge arc, where Winter, now aware of the circumstances of her sister’s death, and starting to realize the breadth of her illness, is out to retrieve the ViSE tech from Kyung, her arch-nemesis. Her story takes us from the aftermath of the events in the climax of Vicarious, to her on the run and finally landing in Seoul, to fight the battle on their turf.
The two major components of the plot are action and romance. Action with Winter trying to devise a heist-like strategy to retrieve the stolen tech, and romance with Jesse starting to become a safe place for her. Her arc in the previous book was all about denying herself the chance to be a normal girl, to be with him because she felt sullied by her past. In this book, he supports her constantly and becomes her rock, so that she can learn that her past doesn’t define her or make her unfit for love. She also shifts from her fatalistic tendencies and in very cliched terms, learns to live.
The story, while slow paced, devotes time to both the action and romance, and while I am not usually a fan of the latter having a majority arc in a story, it worked here because of the dynamics of their relationship. Most of the story takes place in Korea, so it is also peppered with details about Seoul, and the food and the cultural conventions, which seem to be well-researched. As with Vicarious, the mental illness also seems to be well-handled and given it’s due importance, as well sending out the message to seek therapy rather than shun it.
Overall, I find it a nice conclusion to Winter’s story, and a good sequel to Vicarious.
Content warning: Mentions of sexual assault, human trafficking, and torture.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Tor Teen, via Netgalley.
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