Good Reads – May 2014

ReadingBench

Hello friends and fellow bookworms!
My first read was The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.  The first lines: “Jun Do’s mother was a singer.  That was all Jun Do’s father, the Orphan Master, would say about her.  The Orphan Master kept a photograph of a woman in his small room at Long Tomorrows.  She was quite lovely – eyes large and sideways looking, lips pursed with an unspoken word.  Since beautiful women in the provinces get shipped to Pyongyang, that’s certainly what had happened to his mother.”  Summary from Goodreads: “Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.  Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”  My thoughts: I have had this book on my shelf for quite a while now (I won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway!) – and I am disappointed I did not read it sooner.  It is, most certainly, not a quick read – or an easy book to read – but this story was quite captivating!  As I was reading, I was literally transported to North Korea…the words written so as to capture the entire atmosphere, not only the actions of the characters in the book.  Life in North Korea is brutal, and Johnson doesn’t spare any of his characters – except, of course, Dear Leader.  Petulant, petty, absurd and deadly, Kim Jong Il casts his paunchy shadow over the lives of every citizen.  There are so many heartbreaking moments, so many statements that leave you sitting in stunned silence – that no plot summary can do justice to the power of Johnson’s depiction of the modern-day dystopia that is DPRK.  My full review on Goodreads.(4/5 Stars)
I then read The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)  by Julie Kagawa.  The first lines: “My name is Ethan Chase.  And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday.  That’s not me being dramatic; it just is.  I just wish I hadn’t pulled so many people into this mess.  They shouldn’t have to suffer because of me.  Especially…her.  God, if I could take back anything in my life, I would never have shown her my world, the hidden world all around us.”  Summary from Goodreads: “Don’t look at Them.  Never let Them know you can see Them. That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.  Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.”  My thoughts: Not *quite* as good as the first series…but still the writing is fun and it is an easy read. will continue this series!  (4/5 Stars)
I started Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, but am still in the middle of reading it so the review will have to wait until next month!
JuneBooks
What has been your favorite read of 2014 so far?  Any recommendations for me?
Jen
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