I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
I recieved an ARC of this book via Netgalley. That did not change my opinion of the book, though I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Yeah, this book is about as Korean as the TV dinner I had last weekend. It might’ve said it was Korean on the box, but it was really just a sad over seasoned meal that I only ate because it was the only thing in my house that wasn’t bread and I can’t eat bread anymore unless it’s the nasty rice/tapioca bread that’s texture isn’t right.
That being said, this book that features a Korean American who lives in South Korea, wasn’t that Korean.
Not that I should be surprise since the first book featured the whitest of white love interests and he seems to only get even whiter in this book.
To be fair, this book is a little bit better than its predecessor. Or to be honest it wasn’t worse. And for a second book that’s a positive since more often than not the second book is going to suck a lot more than the first.
And it didn’t go the New Moon route either, like it’s biggest (well, only) competitor in Asian inspired YA modern paranormal type way (the Japanese set Ink series). Though, it went the standard McGuiffin quest route and it was sort of a bumbling quest at that.
That took place in North Korea of all places.
Oh, yeah. Part of this book took place in North Korea.
But does it go to the hot bed of political issues, human rights law violations, or randomly appearing leader?
Um, no. The only thing that it remotely touches on those harsh conditions is that the country seemed undeveloped and that the National Honor Society at Jae Hwa’s school is giving TB vaccines.
Um, what sort of high school is going to let students go to North Korea? It’s not that I don’t think high schools want students to be caring people, it’s that it’s a law suit/potential political catastrophe in the making.
But don’t worry, Farley will make that anticlimactic so that it’s not a big deal. Despite all the foreshadowing.
What’s more or less a big deal is the stupid pointless McGuffin quest that ends up leading to a heart wrenching cliff hanger that makes me like….I don’t give a flip.
Because I really didn’t.
I couldn’t connect to either of these characters. Not Jae Hwa or her WASP boyfriend.
What’s the point with Marc?
Really, is he just supposed to be eye candy?
He wasn’t though.
Not to me. You know what would’ve been eye candy for me? A geeky Korean guy who wasn’t viewed as instantly attractive, didn’t know everything, but was loyal to a fault and didn’t fall in love with Jae Hwa right off the back.
Of course, we get Marc instead though. Marc with his green eyes, brown hair, and sheer stupidity that makes me want to hit something even though everyone else says he’s really soooo smart.
Really, if he and Jae Hwa stopped making idiotic choices this series could’ve been done already like my TV dinner of Korean food. Instead, we’re dragged on through another book (at least I’m pretty sure).
In the end, I sort of pity this book. I do feel like Farley does try throughout the entire book, but sometimes trying like love isn’t enough. And it’s just sort of sad. Because while I see Farley at times trying to embrace the setting and embrace the culture, at other times I just felt like I could be in any heavy Korean populated area in the US. Same goes with the mythology. Sometimes I was really intrigued and then sometimes it felt just generic. Then the characters, sometimes…no, the characters I never really go into them.
I gave this series a second chance when I saw this book on Netgalley, only because I wanted so much for it to work. But I really am going to have to think about whether I’m going to invest my time with the third book. Choppy use of mythology, making a rich vibrant culture generic, and beyond dull characters…um, no thanks.
Overall Rating: C- at least it didn’t pull a New Moon and at least it’s readable.