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Sun-Kissed by K. Lemay
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it was amazing

Sun-Kissed by K. Lemay is a paranormal urban fantasy set in the densely populated South Korean capital of Seoul, following the new life of former K-pop idol Iseul. Once one of the most visible stars of the East Asian Peninsula, Iseul's affliction has pushed him into a flat where his every move is controlled beyond even the strictest regiments of an idol. As his confinement carries on, the promises he's been made begin to fall away with the story moving back and forth between Iseul's present circumstances and a past that he is desperate to hold on to and revive no matter what the cost...until he begins to realize that any guarantees made are as changeable as the body he once thought he knew.

"You've stopped wearing masks because they recognize you, no matter what. That's your decision. This is theirs."

K. Lemay begins Sun-Kissed with a slow burn, building the readers understanding of where Iseul is versus where he was at the time of his transition and isolation five years prior. Glimpses into his old life, one he relished in despite its gruelling training schedule and a micro-managed persona, are dangled between his current existence as a prisoner. This captive state goes beyond confinement to an apartment in Seoul, as Iseul is also held hostage by his body, an appetite he can barely control, and desperation to go back to 'what was'.

For me, the turning point in this book was the start of chapter three, when we really do get the first full look at Iseul's paranormal turn and what the true affliction is when his sister, Jin-ae, finally brings him sustenance. There's an emotional understanding as a reader and from the point of view of Jin-ae., and this is when I truly connected to the story and Lemay's writing blossomed. The backdrop of Seoul is really fantastic and comes to life on the pages, as does Lemay's in-depth portrayal of K-pop and the idol life itself, which feels like the best kind of reader immersion.

Highly recommended for both the writing and the story itself, which is a unique twist on an old genre.

Review written for Readers' Favorite.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 24, 2019 – Shelved

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