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Friday, January 13, 2012

Review and Give@way: The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Title: The Orphan Master's Son
Author: Adam Johnson
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Source: Publisher

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
What's the Story?:

From "An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

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 Two Cents:

I was really, really excited to score a copy of this book through Random House's Early Reads program. With Kim Jong Il just passing away, I've gotten very interested in reading more about the super secretive country of North Korea so this book really could not have made its way to me at a better time.

And what a way to kick-off my 2012 reading! The book is a little slow in the beginning but it picks up really quickly after about 100 pages or so (the first section is mostly about the protagonist, Jun Do's background, which is not all that connected to the real meat of the story). After that point, the book really picks up and doesn't let go until the final page. Jun Do is right in the midst of North Korean society and politics. He struggles with his own feelings of support and love for his country and the teeniest feeling that he isn't doing what he should be doing but making decisions on what you want to do is not really allowed for those in Jun Do's position.

His story is definitely interesting but I was way interested in how the book looked at North Korean society. The author uses radio addresses to the North Korean citizens (of which there are apparently a lot of) to introduce the different chapters throughout the book. Those were fascinating! 


This book is a great way to kick off your reading year too! I have a brand new copy of this book to one of you!

The Fine Print:
- You must be 13 and over
-  Open to US only!
- You must be a follower of A Bookish Affair
- Giveaway ends January 23!
Just fill out the form below!


  1. I'm dying to read this so I am so happy to hear how good it is!! I'm not entering the giveaway because I'm waiting either the net galley to be approved or I might end up just buying this one! Either way I'll have it in the next few days lol! Somewhere in the past few years I've really gotten into reading books a out North Korea!

  2. I'm so sorry I missed this!


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