I read and reviewed a book from onlinebookclub.org again. The review I wrote for this platform is already publised and you can read it here. Pejay Bradley’s The Vanished is a historical fiction novel, set in the Korea of the early 20th century.
Starting with the cover, it is designed quite nicely and simply. The colors harmonize and in it’s entirety the front page appears very peaceful and calm. The flowers seem to refer to the preferred decorations of furniture of Prince Aansoon and his daughter Lady Sougyon. I really like the tender arrangement of this thrilling and mysterious title, which is a great choice describing the story and topics in a decent and well thought-out way, I think.
The Vanished by Pejay Bradley is about Kim Embon, a Korean aristocrat, who fights as a nationalist for the independence of his home country in the first half of the 20th century. The story starts with narrations of his mother Lady Sougyon – also the only character, who gets narrated by a first-person narrator – in the summer of 1912. At this point of time, Korea has already been annexed by Japan two years earlier. Embon grows up without a father, but he still lives a quite privileged life. Also, he is extraordinarily intelligent. He gets accepted for early admission at Hokkaido Imperial University on an island in the very north of Japan. There, he finds his dearest friends, the Koreans Hain Park, Ahn Yangwoo and Insoo. All four of them want a sovereign home country again and they’re ready to fight for it.
I certainly think, this historical fiction novel is a very good book. It was well researched and I got the feeling of the history being the main focus of Bradley, while she was writing it. The author did gorgeous work in developing the personalities too; even minor characters have been characterized sharply and interestingly. If there wasn’t much information about someone, then it was valid why that was the case. But I liked the most, how vivid Embon’s development was. While reading, one got much knowledge about his emotions, thoughts and actions. The main figure went through many different situations and tasks, lived extremely contrary lives and needed to deal with a kind of emotion, which, I think, is hard to understand for people of the modern western world, where arranged marriages aren’t common. The mixture of it all made reading his alteration very interesting. Additionally, Bradley’s writing style is very pleasant, fluent and rich in adjectives, which made reading The Vanished quite a nice experience. I just noticed one bothering aspect, which was the usage of Japanese language in some scenes, such as “Sodesu ka.” on page 146. I totally back the utilization of foreign languages in novels because it often supports the feeling of the situation, but only, when there is a translation given, which wasn’t the case in The Vanished.
Though I relished the book, I’m not sure, if I would read it a second time. It was a nice and interesting story with lovely characters and impressive historical facts, but it wasn’t as compelling for me as other books. If you like reading historical novels, you should definitely give it a try. I’m sure it will enrich your bookshelf.
Hope you’re well,
PS: You can buy the book on amazon.com.