Fran's Reviews > Star of the North

Star of the North by D.B. John
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read March 31, 2018 to April 8, 2018.

The 65th Anniversary of the founding of the Worker's Party in North Korea is at hand. The date: October 10, 2010. Colonel Cho of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is overcome with emotion. People weep, cry, and cheer as Kim Jong-Il waves to the crowd. After all, Kim Jong-Il is their guiding light. North Korean news coverage shows the Dear Leader eating simple meals of potatoes in solidarity, and with understanding, of the people's plight. Author D.B. John, who visited North Korea in 2012, has written a thriller with three distinct voices and experiences navigating the underbelly of North Korea.

June 1998, Soo-min, a U.S. citizen studying music in South Korea, disappears from a beach along with boyfriend, Jae-hoo, a resident of Seoul. It was determined through video footage that the students did not leave Condol Beach by ferry or boat. All personal items were discovered on the beach suggesting drowning although no bodies were recovered. Jee-min (Jenna), Soo-min's identical twin sister could still "feel" her twin's presence even ten years later. Jenna Williams, now a Georgetown University professor, grew up in a dual culture with dual languages. Born to a Korean mother and African-American father, she learned and was fluent in North Korean dialect. She was recruited to work for the CIA.

Mrs. Moon was picked up daily, by open truck, to work in the cornfields. She could be seen washing her face in a ditch at the side of the road. She finds an enemy balloon with an attached plastic sack when it lands between the trees. She hides the contents including two pairs of warm woolen socks and twelve Choco Pies (made in South Korea). Mrs. Moon is determined not to starve or beg for food. She will use the cookies as a bargaining chip at the market.

Colonel Cho is happily married and adores his son nicknamed "Books". He fervently believes in the Dear Leader's message. Cho is being sent to New York to open negotiations with the Americans. If successful, a military promotion will follow. A vetting process for "elite" status includes an investigation to ascertain whether his gene pool carries any ancestral criminality. Cho's adoption at a young age is reason for concern.

The interplay and twists and turns of the story make for a gripping, eye-opening and heart wrenching look at life in North Korea. We experience the life of the upper echelon contrasted with poverty and suffering and the ever present looming shadow of the Bowibu, the state security force. "Star of the North" by D.B. John is a timely portrait of North Korea. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you Crown Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Star of the North".
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 24, 2018 – Shelved
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 31, 2018 – Started Reading
April 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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Paromjit Fantastic review Fran.....I want to read this! :)


Fran Paromjit.....I'm sure you would find it to be riveting! Enjoy!


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Fran, your reviews are dangerous to my shelf! And I love it. Fabulous review, and I’m already riveted! Xo


Fran Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader wrote: "Fran, your reviews are dangerous to my shelf! And I love it. Fabulous review, and I’m already riveted! Xo"

Jennifer...I am humbled by your words. Thank you for the laugh as well! ")


Fran Thank you, love! :)


message 6: by Kevin (last edited Apr 12, 2018 01:37AM) (new)

Kevin Ansbro Nice that Kim Jong-Il ate a simple plate of potatoes in public, before tucking into his daily banquet.
Super review, Fran!


Fran Thank you, Kevin!


message 8: by Seemita (new)

Seemita Pithy review, Fran!


Fran Thank you, Seemita!


message 10: by Cheri (new)

Cheri I loved your review, Fran, this sounds very compelling. Contemplating...


"('・c_,・` )" lewis"('・c_,・` )" sorry to say this i hated the review


message 12: by Fran (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fran Cheri wrote: "I loved your review, Fran, this sounds very compelling. Contemplating..."

Cheri......I hope you decide to check it out! :)


Elyse Walters Oh my gosh.... this story sounds riveting! At first - as I was reading your review-I wondered ... is this a true story?
I’m going to mark it for sure...
Thank you!!!


message 14: by Fran (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fran Elyse wrote: "Oh my gosh.... this story sounds riveting! At first - as I was reading your review-I wondered ... is this a true story?
I’m going to mark it for sure...
Thank you!!!"


Elyse......glad I could be of help, my love! Enjoy! xoxoxoxoxo


message 15: by Fergus (new)

Fergus Wow. Thanks, Fran. This book looks heart-tearingly good. The abysses of our world frighten me!


message 16: by Fran (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fran Fergus wrote: "Wow. Thanks, Fran. This book looks heart-tearingly good. The abysses of our world frighten me!"

Fergus...an excellent read.....check it out! :)


Elyse Walters Fran... it was fantastic! Loved Jenna immensely- the plot was outstanding- I loved Mrs. Moon...
I learned more - about the camps & the crime with the government..
My God North Korea is a scary place!!!!
The poor innocent people and children. What’s wrong with people?


message 18: by Fran (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fran Elyse wrote: "Fran... it was fantastic! Loved Jenna immensely- the plot was outstanding- I loved Mrs. Moon...
I learned more - about the camps & the crime with the government..
My God North Korea is a scary plac..."


Elyse....I agree...what an eye opening read. Glad you enjoyed it, too! xoxoxox


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