sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #25: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
“Citizens of our beloved Democratic Republic of North Korea! Imagine the life of an orphan boy who is plucked from nowhere to be trained as a tunnel assassin, a kidnapper, a spy. He has no father but the State, no sweetheart but Sun Moon, the greatest opera star who ever lived, whose face is tattooed on his chest. Imagine he lives in our very own country, a model of exemplary Communism. A nation that is the envy of the world, especially the Americans. Where the only stories people need to hear are those blasting from loudspeakers to the glory of our Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il. Dry your eyes now, comrades! Prepare to hear the Greatest North Korean Love Story Ever Told. Warning: Any resemblance to real people and events may not be entirely coincidental.”
Not due to any particular plan, I’ve read a lot of YA in 2012. I read a lot of YA generally what with being a school librarian and there being a lot of awesome YA around but normally I intersperse it with adult fiction more frequently than I have this year. The Orphan Master’s Son is the first adult fiction I’ve read in a good few weeks and I really enjoyed getting involved something with a bit more depth and complexity with wonderful language as well as a superb plot. Ultimately, this is a superb novel. It is expertly put together with beautiful, inspiring writing, wonderful characters and plenty to make you think. It has politics, romance, action, drama all put together in a carefully and excellently crafted novel. It also has a beautiful hardback cover – it really is a lovely book to look at. I would highly recommend this novel. I’ve given it four stars, but it really was teetering on the edge of 5.
First Line: ‘Citizens, gather ’round your loudspeakers, for we bring important updates!’