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The Land of Hope (Journey to the West Book 3) Kindle Edition
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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 renumeration 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 (Journey To The West) and Trials of Life (Journey to the West) - 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.
Pearl, the main character and narrator has moved on after leaving, forcefully her successful career and has landed as an interpreter for law enforcement as well as other agencies while struggling with the heartache of being separated from the love of her life Andrew.
Page after page Junying reveals each of her characters layers, one at a time artfully drawing us in until we are emotionally, intertwined and invested in this story and its characters. Right before our eyes Pearl becomes a real, breathing human being with flaws, passion and the age- old, soul born struggle of good verses evil. You may find yourself disagreeing with some of her choices, yet you will cheer her on and wonder what is coming next. You will swear you can hear Pearls as well as the other characters hearts beating louder with each turning of the page.
This story is one of fiction yet it is deeply rooted in truth. The struggles of illegal immigrants is real, gritty and beyond shocking. Human beings that leave everything they own and loved ones to cross borders into other lands, not just America but all over the world and can easily find themselves victims of the world's most dark, notorious criminals. They can be sexually exploited, financially devastated and/or sold into slavery. Junying does not just `touch on' the politically charged topic she dives right into what I personally believe is our worlds most current, egregious and under reported crimes against humanity of all time, the epidemic of human trafficking.
Parts of this book were painful and quite difficult for me to read through because of my own past but I applaud and congratulate Junying for finding the words that will shine a very bright light on a very dark reality.
This book will emotionally affect you, it will bring every ounce of compassion and empathy you hold in your soul to the surface and leave you deep in thought.
Most recent customer reviews
Where do I begin. There is so much I want to say, yet don't want to say too much. As I have to start somewhere, here goes.Read more
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