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Author: Christina Farley
Publication Year: 2014
My Pre Reading
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.
But that’s not Jae’s only problem.
There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.
Review: This book was a slow read for me. I never really connected with it. I found the Korean mythology really interesting as well as the rest of the Korean culture. The food is referenced often and when my favorite Korean dish, jopchae, was mentioned I may have squealed just a little bit.
My problem with the book may have just been that it is targeted to a younger audience. I had problems with the way the science was presented. When a story takes place in the real world, but has magical or paranormal elements truly existing, the science needs to at least sound plausible to me. In this book, the mythology matched up too well with the actuality. The scientists seemed to know too much for things they were unsure if they even existed. There is a secret society, but it just didn't blend well with me. The whole science and grounding of the paranormal felt awkward. This is random, but I also just didn't like the way the word metamorphosis was used.
I also didn't connect with the characters, especially the protagonist. The way the paranormal elements were dealt with when it comes to belief were hard for me to follow.
This book felt like a Disney Channel Original Movie from the late 90s or early 00s. It had the cheesy elements and the cool paranormal imagery to match. I could totally see this as a DCOM from that era featuring Brenda Song, although she is Thai and Hmong.
This review turned out more negative than I thought it would be. I did enjoy this book, I just didn't connect with it as much as I wanted to. I give it a 3/5 and suggest it to readers who enjoy contemporary paranormal stories that may be a little cheesy. If you like Paranormalcy by Kiersten White or Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, you may enjoy this. I will be reading the sequel, but I need to step back from the series first. I hope you can connect with this book more than I did.