A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.
Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson (North Korea), thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.
There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General - the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.
Note from the author: Have you ever wondered what the world looks like when seen through an indoctrinated mind?
This is a topic that has intrigued me for as long as I can remember, so when I came up with the idea to write a book many years ago, I decided to create it from the viewpoint of a victim of indoctrination… which in the end became Areum (the protagonist of the story).
What I try to explore in this story is how deep the indoctrination of a 14-year old girl can run and how much “reality” it can be exposed to before breaking… if it will break at all. As a comparison, the defectors from North Korea who arrive in South Korea are isolated for three months in a de-programming facility called Hanawon before they are allowed to join society where they go through this process in a more controlled (and less brutal) way than Areum.
I hope you will enjoy this slightly different take on the dystopian genre! 😊
Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format - books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games - she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.
Areum lives with her parents and her twin sister Nari in the Kingdom of Choson in the Year 83. This kingdom is ruled by the Great General, who is the wise, omniscient, and immortal leader of their free and fair nation, the most successful nation in all the world. Areum is immersed in preparing for gymnastics tryouts for the Great General's National Olympic Team. She is greatly devoted to her god, The Great General, and refuses to think about the fact that her father has disappeared and her twin sister is ailing. Then the day comes that changes her life for good.
This is a great combination of both dystopian and historical fiction, as it is really 1994 and the Kingdom of Choson is, of course, North Korea, and the Great General is their leader at the time, Kim Il Sung. This is not just about an evil Communist dictatorship, although much is exposed. It is about the great resentment Areum feels towards her parents and sister and the fact that she doesn't feel a part of her own family. Her resentment is shocking at times and is so well described. The descriptions of the horrible treatment of the citizens of the "Kingdom of Choson" and the way that evil actions are described as good things is heartbreaking. The story is riveting from start to finish. This is a great debut novel from Adria Carmichael. I received a free copy of this novel, but I also got it on Kindle Unlimited. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
*This book is free on Amazon worldwide from Dec 28th to Jan 1st.
"I guess darkness can disguise even a place of horrors".
cw // violence, s. assault
About the plot, the main character, Aerum is a gymnast that can't wait to leave her family behind, a family she doesn't feel she belongs in. But the day she finally reaches her dream, her family and her are taken to a re-education camp where the strayed from the righteous path must work and starve to be able to go back to society. There she has to survive together with the family she hates, her twin sister she resents, and her father that is nothing but a traitor in her eyes. The story takes place in North Korea.
This book was very good! At first, I wasn't very sure, not gonna lie. I didn't see where the story was going, and Aerum was too annoying, having repetitive thoughts that I didn't understand, but after I finished that first part it skyrocketed. It didn't seem boring to me and I didn't want to put the book down and the end left me SCREAMING. Not literally because my parents would glare at me, but I was 👌 that close to screaming. I need the second book as soon as possible. I have so many questions for the next book: what's her secret? What happens next? Who can she trust? What else will we see? How Aerum and Nari start working and where they'll work? etc. I can't be very specific because I could be spoiling things and we don't want that.
Something that I think is particularly interesting is that you see the main character is indoctrinated. She believes all the lies the government feeds the population, like that the Great General is immortal or that absolutely every soul in the country has three meals a day. It was interesting seeing her relationship with the Great General, it was more of a religion than anything else. How she prays for the Great General to save her, how she believes he is immortal. It was very interesting reading the book through the mind of a brain-washed person.
Regarding the characters, I'm mainly going to talk about Aerum and then a bit about Nari because there really isn't much content to talk about other characters (or not without spoiling anything):
- Aerum: at the beginning, I thought she was a bit annoying and a bit of an attention seeker: "Mi was like the sister I always wished I had. She admired me. Praised me. She gave me full attention and required none in return". Maybe it's just me, but here she seems a bit self-centered. But as I was reading the book I got to know her and her story better and eventually liked her more. That doesn't mean though that all her self-centredness is excusable. She can be a bit too annoying. And even though she is completely brainwashed and can't realize the truth, I couldn't get mad at her because at the end of the day she is a victim of the system. I pity her. She is all about the Great General, under whose command nothing can go wrong: no one suffers, everybody has 3 meals a day, etc. Choson is the richest country in the world. - Nari: I have to confess that she got a bit on my nerves. She has gone through a lot with her disease and all, but 90% of the book she spends it crying. 😭😭 Please do something else.
Something that I found very enjoyable was how the brain of a 14-year-old is portrayed. I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but after studying last year how the brain of teenagers work, it was very interesting seeing those characteristics in Aerum. For example, the way she discusses and fights with her parents, thinking that she has all the information and that she is right because she knows everything and can't be wrong; or the fact that she does certain actions thinking that, because she is herself, she will succeed in doing those actions. And how self-centered she is (although in her case she is a bit too self-centered, and that is not only because she is a teenager).
Something to note is that there are no love interests, and I really liked it. Usually, there's this idea that in YA books there HAS to be a love interest, some romance, but that's not true and this book showed exactly that and it makes it more realistic. In this situation, I think people aren't precisely thinking about having a partner.
There were, of course, things that I didn't like, but those weren't many and they were more at the beginning of the book like that comment Aerum makes about Su Mi, some classist remarks, or some comments that show her internalized misogyny.
Thank you so much to Shannon from R&R Book Tours and Adria Carmichael, the author, for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Needless to say that all thoughts are my own.
I edited and proofread this book and was very pleasantly surprised by the book. Normally, it would not be my style of book, but I was gripped by the first chapter and found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next. The story was written extremely well, and the MC has been developed in a good way throughout the story. It is a story/plot that I have not come across before and that is one of the reasons that I enjoyed the story so much.
I know this is a part of a series, and I look forward to reading future books to see where the author takes the characters.
This is an honest review in exchange for the first two parts of Adria Carmichael’s YA dystopian series, Juche. Before publication, these 2 parts will appear as book 1 of the series.
This book, to me, seemed VERY well researched and believable. Areum, just hours after a life-changing decision, becomes a member of the National Gymnastics team for the government of Choson. After celebrating with her friend, she comes home to secret police in her house and her mom and sister frantically packing whatever belongings they can carry. Her father is not on a business trip, as believed, but has been taken to a re-education camp for traitorous acts toward the government. The rest of his family is being forced to join him.
Areum is a spoiled and privileged young girl, with a deep love and blind faith in The Great General, Choson’s leader. A simmering resentment of her family festers and boils over once her life becomes a daily reminder that her bubble of comfort, safety, and protection are over. Her new reality is starvation, thirst, work, pain, fear and loss. Will she survive? Will she convince the director of the camp that she’s innocent and be freed? Will her willfulness and disrespect of the rules be her undoing?
Overall, Book 1 was engrossing and, at times, so real that it was difficult to read! I could literally feel the filth and hunger in the camp, the desperation and need to survive that forces good people to do bad things. The pushing of boundaries and breaking of spirits, all in an effort to make citizens quiet and compliant.
Book 1 leaves you with many questions!! You’re left on a major cliffhanger- so be prepared for that! Every question answered leaves you with 10 more and I found myself frustrated, in a good way, at the end, because I need to know more! I found the main character largely unlikable. She’s selfish, bratty and spoiled. However, she’s a product of being raised in comparative comfort in The Capital. When the rug is pulled out from under her family and she is forced to remove her blinders, the layers of her personality begin to develop and her true fighting spirit begins to emerge. Suddenly, her black and white sense of superiority and good vs. evil mentality is put into question and everything she thought she knew and understood is suddenly not what it always appeared.
If you love YA distopian novels, definitely check this one out! You will not be disappointed!! Adria Carmichael is definitely an eloquent and thoughtful writer. Her vivid descriptions and character development are supurb. She draws attention to the filthy underbelly of the world in a way that is so stark and vivid. Adria draws attention to the things we don’t want to think about and rubs our noses in it!! She draws out suspense and leaves you feeling anxious and stressed, living every moment alongside her characters. This is a true gift! Highly recommended!!
I kind of stumbled on the book and didn’t really know what to expect but ended up binge-reading it from cover to cover (it’s only 125 pages).
I was especially impressed by the many dimensions of life that are added and mixed throughout the book, and how the author has managed to make the characters and sceneries come alive. The conflicts fueled by competition between the main character and her sister and peers are described in a vivid way, and the portrayal of the dented relationship with her parents is effectively dosed. The complexity is further amplified by the story’s setting in a totalitarian and dark community that is hard to imagine had it not been for the author’s well-researched description from the main character’s perspective.
To summarize – Juche Part 1 is a great story and I cannot wait for the rest of the saga to unfold.
I find this book very exciting and a little scary. It´s well written and I enjoyed reading it despite my age, 70+. Looking forward to the comming book. Can´t stop thinking of what will happen to Areum and her family. I can recommed it.
Wow this is an intense read and not for the faint of heart.
This story follows Areum a 14 year old girl who gets approved to join Great General’s National Gymnastics team. She lives with her parents and twin sister in what I would assume is North Korea and where everyone worships and looks to the Great General as their savior. Areum is very indoctrinated and views the Great General as her real father and would literally do anything for him. After she joins the gymnastics team, she returns home and then her world is turned upside down when her family is taken away to a labor camp called Yodok due her father having a falling politically, causing his family to be taken to this camp. And this story is about how Areum handles and survives being in this camp with her parents.
I don’t read dystopian novels often, so I’m always looking for new ones to check out! This book was quite a ride! I noticed a lot of reviews say Areum is annoying and I guess I get that, however, this girl is completely and fully indoctrinated in looking to the Great General as her leader and father, and that everything she does she does for him and no one else. The way she acts, especially towards her family makes sense because she views the Great General as the only person who deserves her absolute and exclusive devotion. And then the way she acts towards her family I also get. They tend to treat her as a side character to their family because her twin sister has a heart defect and is so weak, they tend to only focus and worry about her and make it seem like they just forget about Areum. So I get why Areum may resent her family and only love the Great General.
It’s sad to see how this land will punish the entire family when only one does something wrong. And how they choose what they think is wrong and punish them when they may do something against what the Great General wants or expects. It’s like you cannot have your own thoughts or opinions, otherwise you may be punished. Doesn’t exactly sound like the greatest life to me. And then when Areum and her family are sent to the camp…that is just intense. Areum is so young and to see the violence and starvation the people go through because someone in their family did something “wrong”, and then how Areum fully believed she didn’t belong there and that she is so determined to get out no matter what, it’s just sad and hard to read. My heart goes out to her and those stuck in this camp and after that ending, I really am curious to know how her story continues.
This read is very intense. There’s violence, implied sexual assault, and detailed situations of survival, especially from starvation. If you enjoy dystopian novels, I recommend this one. Thank you to the author for a free digital copy to read 🥰
“The rule of thumb is that anything related to escape, food, or any kind of disobedience is deadly serious”.
The story begins with Areum, a 14 year old girl who dreams of joining The Great Generals gymnastics team, whom lives with her parents and twin sister Nari in the Capitol of Choson. Areum finds herself doing whatever it takes to fulfill this dream no matter the costs, as she wishes for nothing more than freedom from her turmoiled family. However, not everything goes according to plan. Areum’s family falls out of political favor and finds themselves living amongst the Strayed in Yodok. Areum maintains that she is innocent, and must now adapt to navigate and survive her new reality. ° My initial thoughts of the book based solely on the brief description and cover were that of intrigue. The story itself sounded interesting, and I found the cover captivating. This was not a “had me hooked at the first sentence” type of story however, once getting passed the initial character and World building portions, I found it more compelling. There were many circumstances throughout the story I found relatable, and thus was able to empathize with some of the characters. What caught me off guard was the style of writing and wording, which initially I thought was due to rough translation but seemed to be the overall style of writing. It wasn’t an unpleasant style to read, just different/unexpected. ° By the halfway point I found myself enthralled and anticipating what would happen next. I appreciated the historical accounts of the story, and how the author was able to tie the events together. The story is set in North Korea, during Juche Year 83. Juche (translated to self-reliance) is a way of life. The regime incorporates mass imprisonment as a means of retribution for those who disobey. The concentration camp, Yodok specifically in this case, is described in detail with abhorrent living conditions, and vile, inhumane practices. ° In it’s entirety, I found the book captivating and a quick read. I enjoyed the plot, a majority of the characters, and the cliff-hanger at the end. Which is why I purchased a paper copy for my personal library.🤗 ° Would I recommend? If you’re someone who enjoys dystopian/historical stories, then absolutely! It’s a very captivating story, and I felt the author did an excellent job writing it in such a believable way.
Possible spoiler Trigger warning at the very end of review . . . . . . . . . .
#juchebook #adriacarmichael #YA #dystopian #yadystopian #triggerwarning Such great books! I am reviewing these 2 books together bc the author will be making changes to them on Amazon and will be having them published as one. She did initially have it break at the perfect cliff hanger. But who wants a dystopian novela? Not many.
Quick reading. The world building was excellent. It appears to be a socialist society. Descriptions are spot on. Everything is perfectly described. Very thorough where necessary but never too wordy or verbose. The only character you truly get to know is the main character. But I think that is intentional. Areum is very self centered. As are many 14 year olds. She doesn't even have much of a soft spot for her own twin sister. This is the reason why I took off a half a star (💫) in my rating. She was too bratty for just a bit too far into the story for my taste. They are in a prison camp and she is still all about me.
First, Areum is determined to get on the national gymnastics team. Then her whole family's world goes for a downward spiral. They get sent to a re-education camp. Why are they even there? What did they do to make the whole family end up prisoners? Throughout the book the author has Areum thinking out loud to the reader. It helps to clarify the situation currently going on. It leaves you with no doubt as to how the main character feels. It's a great tool!
As I hinted in above hash tags, I wanted to warn people that there is an attempted rape in the book. It's not very in depth. But it is there. Just a warning. I didn't want to give this away but I know it can be a problem for many. And as soon as the story sequence started moving in that direction, I guessed where it was going to go anyway. You probably would have too.
This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I CANNOT wait for the next book to come out!
Areum is fourteen years old and lives in Chosen under the Great General’s command. She lives in the Capital with her family. Her father Young Il works for the department of agriculture for the country, Sun Hee is her mother and a former actress, and Nari is her twin sister that has a heart condition.
Areum is rather snotty to her family and focuses on the Great General and believes how he is her true father. Her only goal is to get selected for the Great General’s National Gymnastics Team and through a little cheating gets her wish. She is about to be away from those she lives with when suddenly her mother, Nari and her are rounded up and sent to Penal Labor Camp 15, otherwise known as Yodok.
Young Il has been deemed a traitor and sent to the camp. But the Great General knows that treachery runs deep so whole families are sent with the traitors to make sure all doubt can be cast out. Slow to accept her fate, Areum is going to have to learn how to come together with her family if they are going to survive Yodok.
I was instantly drawn into this story even if Areum is such a snot and horrible to her family. It just made me bristle until I learned more about her past, then I could kind of understand her behavior. Of course she is very narrow sighted and doesn’t see the big picture around her until she falls flat on her face.
You know this story is about North Korea and how the people live. It breaks my heart that anyone should have to live like this but all you have to do is look at history to know that it has happened in the past, in the present, and will happen again in the future.
The more I read the more I wanted to know what was happening. I received the original Part One of the series and as soon as I finished I downloaded the update to keep reading Areum’s struggles. This is a wonderful read and one that I recommend checking out. I would recommend having all ages read it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
This is a review of Adria Carmichael’s first book “Juche: Part one - The Demon of Yodok” in a three-book series.
For the past 70 years, in the name of Juche (often translated as self-reliance) North Korea has used mass imprisonment to weed out dissenters who resist or disobey official rules and regulations. Unfortunately, this has too often been a favored practice in Communist countries such as Russia, China, Viet Nam, and Cuba.
The concentration camps where the prisoners live and work under abysmal conditions are believed to contain hundreds of thousands of people, including entire families and even several generations of the same family. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners have perished due to the harsh treatment, or have been executed for the slightest infraction. North Korea has steadfastly denied the existence such camps. However, over the years the few who have managed to escape from those camps, including former guards, have told or written accounts of the atrocities committed there.
Adria Carmichael has made a very commendable attempt to describe what many in the West are often ignorant of. Her heroine comes from a privileged family in North Korea’s capital who has fallen out of political favor, and this first book gives a detailed account of their fall from grace and how they cope with life in Yodok, a most heinous concentration camp which was finally closed down in 2016.
Adria’s prose is captivating, her characters well developed, and in general the story line flows smoothly. Dividing it into three parts may be intended for younger readers who are not so inclined to read lengthy books such as War and Peace or The Count of Monte Cristo. I only wish all three parts could be combined into one book at some time in the future.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review* 3.5/5 stars
The Demon of Yodok tells the story of Areum and her family as they are taken from their home and brought to live in a re-education facility far removed from the general society they are used to in the capital.
Areum's point of view is quite bitter; she has cause to feel discord with her sister and parents and this fuels much of her determination to join the national gymnastics team and move away from her family. The author definitely conveys Areum's brainwashed attitude, which is at once self-centered and servient to the Great General, but her thoughts can be quite childish and whiny. I think alternating another character's point of view with Areum's would help break up the tension and make sticking with Areum's story easier.
I appreciate the level of detail and thought the author put into this story. Juche is not a concept I was familiar with prior to reading this. That said, some of the language could be tightened up. There were some things that I didn't think added to the plot and were repetitive. I am not familiar with the Korean language and its dialects, but including some words would help immerse readers (for example, instead of a mom calling her daughter "honey" she would use the local term).
The beginning is a little slow but it picks up later on; once they arrived at the re-education camp, I became more invested in the story. I am interested in seeing what happens with the rest of the story. Readers frustrated and potentially put off reading the rest of the series by Areum's attitude are assured by Carmichael that her character development happens, it just takes it time.
I had the pleasure of reading Juche, The Demon Of Yodok by @adria_carmichael_author in return for an honest review and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is part one of a series of 3 books, a young adult dystopian survival saga. . . Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation. . There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General - the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father. . . This book grabbed me from the start, a complex story with complex characters, told in a way thats both immersive and easy to follow. I found it very difficult to put down and can't wait to read the last 2 parts. I'm giving this one 5 stars.
The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael is an addictive YA Dystopian and more than I could have hoped. I was so excited to read this, and when I got started, I knew there was no chance of setting it down. Wow!!!
This book will bring you right into this world of filth and hunger. The desperation to survive can be felt through the pages. Emotionally, it was challenging to read the hardships, but isn’t that what the dystopian genre is about? People struggling but finding that one shimmer of hope to keep going.
Every answer leads to more questions, which kept me reading for more. This does end on a cliffhanger, so you know I’m definitely continuing in this series. I need to know what happens!
Areum is a complex character. She shows her privileges in the beginning of the book, but as things happen, and the truth is revealed to her, it is interesting to watch her character develop.
I could go on and on, but honestly, just go get yourself a copy. The Demon of Yodok is fantastic and I highly recommend it!
Thank you to R&R Book Tours for the copy of The Demon of Yodok and the opportunity to honestly review this book on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.
Es un libro demasiado bueno y poco conocido. Literalmente leí que decía: • Young Adult • Distopia •Supervivencia Y sin dudarlo lo leí
Es una distopia demasiado diferente a lo que he leído. Hubieron algunas partes que siento que fueron lentas pero, ¿qué onda con el final? Te deja pensando en que pudo suceder y definitivamente te hará querer continuar el próximo libro.
Espero en el próximo libro ver qué Areum desarrolle una relación muy cercana con alguien, (no me refiero necesariamente a un vínculo amoroso) simplemente alguien con quien se lleve muy bien.
Lo recomiendo mucho. Debería de conocerse más. Le pongo 4.5 estrellas porque quiero guardarme las 5 para otro libro de esta saga. Porque espero demasiado
I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I was not disappointed! Adria Carmichael tells the story of Areum, a 14-year old girl who has just landed a coveted spot as part of the Great General's gymnastics team. But everything goes wrong as Areum, along with her mother and sister, are ripped from their home and taken to a re-education camp for criminals. Now Areum must adapt to her new life at Yodok along with her family, who she hates.
The worldbuilding is done so well! The pace is a little slower than I thought it was going to be, and I really struggled with Areum throughout the book, but I really enjoyed this one! And the ending will leave you immediately running out to find book 2.
For a while I wondered if this book had been translated, as some of the word choices are a little odd. However, I think it's just the writer's style. Once I got past that, I enjoyed this story and I'm very excited to find out what happens in the rest of the series. This is - not exactly enjoyable, simply because of the subject matter, but very compelling. I didn't want to put it down until I found out what was going to happen next. And it ends on a total cliffhanger! I hope I get the chance to read the rest of the series.
This book had intricate world building! It was a very interesting read with many characters. I was pretty invested in the journey of each character early on.
My only major issue was that I just couldn’t connect with the main character. I kept hoping that that would change, but unfortunately it didn’t. I just couldn’t understand her motivation at times, and that was problematic, but didn’t detract from the story itself.
Overall a good read. You’ll enjoy the world building if you like the idea of The 100 meets The Hunger Games, but modernized and wrapped in a communist bow.
I love this book! I read the description before I read it and thought it would turn out to be a horror book. It is not that scary, which is good because I will not read any horror book. This book provides suspense, action, and is a binge worthy read. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
I feel like this book is supposed to be set in North Korea. At least as I was reading it, I pictured the events as taking place in North Korea. The book description didn’t make me realize this and I thought I was reading a book set in a totally fictional dystopian setting.
Though this isn't generally my genre, I was really drawn in to the story through its pacing and flowing language. I really enjoyed the characters too and found the book very difficult to put down whenever I read it. I'm looking forward to the sequel!
This book combines 2 of my favorite genres, historical fiction and dystopian societies. The story follows a young girls journey from high society in North Korea, to a work camp that will surely be the end of her. I found the novel easy to read, although the main character was hard to connect with, in a good way. Kim Areum was raised in communist North Korea, so it may be hard for an American like me to understand her devotion to an evil Dictator. However Adria Carmichael does just that. She puts you inside the mind of a controlled child who loves her government more than her parents. Who was hopelessly devoted to the country that is torturing her. I was quite impressed by the fluid writing style and Can’t wait to finish book number two.
"Juche - Part One - The Demon of Yodok" is an intense, nerve wrecking book. The protagonist, Areum, is the daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson. Having to fight for survival, hatred, love, loss, etc, it's everything in your typical main character trope.
As much as unique this book is, it's short and simple. I wish the author included more pages or just merged the second book into the first one.
I think it would be more fun because I was disappointed when I finished. I wanted more, but, eh, I can wait ig-
I was a little excited about this book because it’s dystopian/historical fiction and I’m maybe one of the few people in the world who will never get over the dystopian phase. The fact that it’s based off of North Korea was pretty clear from the beginning.
However, I could not get over the writing. I found the main character (Areum) to be really annoying. I mean, I understood her reasons for being annoying but still. She has a lot of internal thoughts, which I didn’t really like. Her thoughts are all super repetitive too. Also, minor thing that I noticed: the author includes so many ellipsis. Like, a lot. I felt meh about all the other characters.
What I did enjoy was that one scene where one of the current members of this camp tells Areum about how bad the world really is. I was like yes, give her a reality check!!! The world itself was easy to understand, but the writing was what’s stopping me from completing this book.
Would I recommend it? Unsure. I didn’t complete it, so my review can only say so much.
Give Aerum a chance! When I read the first book in this series a while back, I really didn´t like the main character because of her childish behavior, arrogance, and refusal accept the world around her for what it was. I found her completely annoying. Still, I continued reading the next book anyway because I was curious about how the story would develop. And now that I have finished the second book, I actually see the first one in a different light. Areum isn’t just a spoiled brat from the Capital, she is a damaged teenage girl on a journey. Her change is slow and excruciating, and she is fighting it every step of the way, but as I turn the pages and follow her hardships one after another, I see her personality and perception gradually evolving into something else. Exactly what they are evolving into is still too early to say, but I expect a great and riveting transformation ahead, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series to find out.
This was my first book on North Korean history and I was really excited about it. The book is classed a YA dystopian novel with a very unique plotline. It's highly controversial that's why I would recommend the readers to not take this story at heart after all, it's fiction!
I am just in astonished by this novel and its author !! Based on the title of this book “Juche” I never ever foresaw the book to be so impactful, but rightly said “never ever judge a book by its cover” or in this case a title because I adore the cover. The story is about Areum who is a total brat up until the time she has to face some unexpected circumstances. I have always heard this phrase "blind faith it's dangerous" it suits the protagonist. She annoying but as you will progress with the book you'll understand the reason behind her attitude. I surprisingly like her character. The most disturbing part for me has to be the one where the protagonist and her family was trying to survive in the camp. It was vividly described and that's why I felt I was there too starving, fighting and trying to survive with them. It was like a whole new world, so different from ours. The world portrayed inside this story will make you feel more thankful of the real world we get to live in. It's fairly sensitive to read, and parts can be somewhat confusing, but it's all worth it not just for the terrifyingly brilliant political messages, but also the terrific characters. The most commendable impact of the book is that it makes you reanalyze a lot about life and society, there were even times when I questioned the importance of history and what actually makes something reality.
As I said, the book is extremely controversial, the reason being the accuracy of the information. While reading Juche I was wondering how did the author do this?! I am highly impressed. The content is well researched and smartly fetched that's why I am a fan now.
- The Magic of Wor(l)ds blog (https://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com/) is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. I'm grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. -
I'm not sure if I would call 'Juche : The Demon of Yodok' a YA Dystopian as I had the feeling that, certainly the first part, is set in a known totalitarian state and some of the things that are happening might be a little harsh for a teenager. Nevertheless I believe that the author has something great in her hands as it felt original from others in this genre and she writes in way that keeps you glued to the pages. The main character is perhaps rather hard to love as she, even for a teenager, is very self centered, rude towards her family an certainly very angry about even the smallest of things. This made her for me sometimes very unlikeable, even if her behavior is because she's indoctrinated and brainwashed by the world she grew up in. On the other hand it also made her at the same time very interesting and a very strong character that keeps you hooked throughout. As a reader you get so invested in her that you want to know how her storyline evolves, however I'm not really sure where this will be going. Especially after the last part of this book which felt, for me at least, somehow a bit disconnected from the rest of it and more like a much needed bridge to other books. I know this all sounds as though I didn't actually enjoyed reading the book that much, however this is everything but true as I devoured it in only 2 days. I also said before that I thought it very well written and it got me more than intrigued as this is a 'could be possible in the near future' scenario. Undeniable a quite unique read that leaves me wanting to read the rest of the series.
Juche is set in the totalitarian regime of Choson, based on the DPRK, the MC Areum has her whole life thrown upside down when she's taken to a labour camp. Well that's what the description said.
I found this a really good introduction into the world of Choson and learning about Areum's family dynamic, her likes and dislikes etc. This was a quick, short and easy read. So I recommend this if you're looking for a quick read to pass the time.
However, it wasn't a gripping or thrilling adventure like the ads made it out to be. It ended as it was beginning so it didn't leave me wanting more and won't be continuing on with the series, I felt too much time was focused on Areums world before the camp that it took away from showing the "Demon of Yodok." If Areum and her family were thrown into the camp much sooner, say within the first 3 chapters, I feel this story really could have pulled out the true sinister nature it had the potential to be.
Also as somebody who knows Korean culture, mostly South Korean, I noticed a lot of discrepencies within the book. I know it's a fictional Korean peninsula that doesn't actually exist, but the fact real life DPRK places were used in the book made it factual enough to apply it to real life. Yet another negative was the author trying to apply Korean speech patterns into English, it was unnecessary and made it difficult to read. I feel just making them talk as we normally do in English would have been sufficient enough to get the message across.
This is an honest review in exchange for an e-copy or Juche part 1 by Adria Carmichael. 3.5/5 stars!
First, I want to say this book was very well written. Well researched, and well put together. I love YA Dystopian books, so I was incredibly grateful and excited to receive a copy of this book and read it!
I think it’s also important to note that there are some trigger warnings you should research before reading, such as violence and SA, so please check before reading!
Areum is a character that you have a love/hate relationship with. She’s brave but to a fault, she’s young and she’s an unreliable narrator. If there’s one thing I love about fiction books, it’s an unreliable narrator- it always makes the plot twist so much more interesting and unexpected.
I think the plot was great, but the pace was slow. As frustrated as I was with Areum at some points, I tried to remember that she is a 14 year old who is going through some traumatic things and also comes from a society that is fully indoctrinated. I think the character development will be interesting to see going forward, but I don’t think I’ll personally continue on with the series.
As well as it was put together and researched, it’s just not a series I feel invested in. I will of course always recommended to people who absolutely love YA Dystopian fantasy’s.
A huge thank you to Adria Carmichael for the opportunity to read and review this awesome book!