Sunday, October 7, 2012

Land of Hope Blog Tour: Review and Blurb

Welcome to my stop on the Land of Hope blog tour! (link to my post about where to go on what days) Land of Hope, the last book in Junying Kirk's Voyage to the West series, is now available. You can find it on Amazon UK or Amazon or Smashwords.

First, the blurb:
Every year, millions of illegal immigrants cross borders in search of wealth, happiness and a life of ease in the Land of Hope. Some succeed. Others suffer unimaginable hardships.

When Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad) hires Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese interpreter, they join forces to fight injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Pearl is the voice of broken dreams, translating raw, deranged, and colorful tales of those who cannot speak for themselves. As Pearl gets more and more tangled in the lives of strangers, Jack becomes a welcome diversion, complicated by the fact that both are married. Their trans-continental roller-coaster ride derails when Pearl tumbles into the sinister world of her clients, a world full of secrets, lies, and unspeakable violence - only this time, it's directed at her.

Can she depend on Jack? Find out in this third and final book of Junying Kirk's "Journey to the West" trilogy.

Now, for my review!
Land of Hope review
Author: Junying Kirk
4 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Thriller/Suspense with some romance
Reading Level: Adult (some erotic scenes)
Book Available October, 2012 in ebook from multiple distributors
Recommended for: Those interested in thrillers, especially with topics based on real-world issues, like human trafficking and slavery
Read: 8/20 - 8/29/12 and 9/21 - 24/12

Disclosure: I edited this book for this author; I do not receive any financial remuneration based upon sales. I am happy to provide an honest review.

Synopsis: Every year, millions of illegal immigrants cross borders in search of wealth, happiness and a life of ease in the Land of Hope. Some succeed. Others suffer unimaginable hardships.

When Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad) hires Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese interpreter, they join forces to fight injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Pearl is the voice of broken dreams, translating raw, deranged, and colorful tales of those who cannot speak for themselves. As Pearl gets more and more tangled in the lives of strangers, Jack becomes a welcome diversion, complicated by the fact that both are married. Their trans-continental roller-coaster ride derails when Pearl tumbles into the sinister world of her clients, a world full of secrets, lies, and unspeakable violence – only this time, it's directed at her.

Can she depend on Jack? Find out in this third and final book of Junying Kirk's "Journey to the West" trilogy.

My Thoughts: Unlike the two earlier books in the Journey to the West series, this one is not semi-autobiographical (or at least I hope not!). While I would not be in the least bit surprised to discover that Ms. Kirk has based some of the immigrants’ stories upon things she had actually witnessed during her career as an interpreter, the plot itself comes strictly from her vivid imagination. There are scenes in here that I am going to give warning about – if scenes of rape and violence against women are a trigger for you, be warned: there are several in this book. This book deals with the very serious issues of human trafficking and sex-slavery, which is a world that many desperate female immigrants end up trapped in.

I won’t lie to you, this was a very difficult story for me to read. There were sections I really had to struggle to push though, especially the first time – the story is brutal, realistic, and not for the faint of heart. That said, I think it’s also important that we become aware of this issue – or more aware, if it is something we think we know about. Seeing the struggles of the people that Ms. Kirk has put into this book... it’s just heartbreaking. They put everything they own and then some into their hopes and dreams for a better life, and where does it get them? Like as not, it gets them trapped in an even worse situation.

To fully understand the characters of Pearl and Andrew, it’s best to read all three books in the trilogy, but it’s not necessary to understand what happens in this book, which can be read as a standalone – enough information from the previous books is included to give you some idea as to what has happened. Other characters are given the spotlight in this book, especially some of the immigrants whose stories are told through the course of the book.

The reader has to be aware that interspersed with the main plot are the stories of the various people with whom Pearl interacts during the course of the stories, and whose lives are affected in the end by the main plot. These chapters alternate with the main story, so the reader needs to watch the chapter titles carefully to keep track as to whether they are reading the main story, or part of one of the other characters’ stories. As long as the reader is aware of this, they can easily keep track of what is happening.

This is a book I had a difficult time rating, honestly. I always have trouble rating the books I edit, because I see them in the “raw” form and not the final form. My final rating is based upon the fact that the story itself was very difficult for me to read, but it is a topic I think is important and a book I think people should read.

If you have enjoyed the previous books in the Journey to the West – which are The Same Moon and Trials of Life – then you will not want to miss this final book in the trilogy. If you enjoy suspense or thrillers based upon real-world issues, you won’t want to miss this book. If you are interested in the problems faced by immigrants, or by those trapped by human trafficking and sex slavery, don’t miss this book. Recommended.


4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Katy. Sorry to put you through some hard reading, but as you said, it's important to address some of the issues - really like the picture you included - it's a justified fight to stop human trafficking and sex exploitation.

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    1. That's quite alright, Junying - it IS important. I'm glad you like the picture - I felt it fit the idea nicely.

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  2. thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome - thanks for commenting!

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