4 out of 4 stars
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The Vanished by Pejay Bradley is the story of Embon, a Korean boy born to affluence, and his struggles during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Born in the summer of 1912, Embon's entrance to the world was fraught with troubling signs. He was born in the Year of the Rat, but in the summer and during the day. In Korean culture, this meant not only that he would be unsuccessful in his life but also that he would not be wealthy.
In the first part of the book, we follow Lady Sougyon, Embon's mother. We quickly learn that Lady Sougyon was deserted by her husband. She continues to support him financially, at great hardship to herself. Lady Sougyon was lucky enough to have a father that valued the education of women as well as men, and because of this, she was well-learned. Though he was born to prosperity, Embon seems destined for a lowly life because of his birth signs. What will become of Embon and Korea? Will Embon be able to overcome his destiny and achieve greatness? Find out in The Vanished by Pejay Bradley.
While we mostly follow Embon, Bradley wrote The Vanished, so we could also follow the other main characters' thoughts and actions. This gave the book a sense of tension, as we sometimes don't know how the characters relate to Embon. I enjoyed this writing style because it was intriguing to follow other characters throughout the story. I appreciated the plot of Bradley's novel and found myself eager to read more.
The book is mostly character-driven, as we follow Embon and his close relationships up until Embon is about 20 years old. It was a pleasurable read that kept my attention and made me long for an explanation of the relationships between the characters. I thought the book ended rather abruptly, with most of the plot happening near the end of the book. This would normally be a detriment, but I found that it only added to the anticipation of the novel. This is undoubtedly a book that must be read carefully, as many twists and turns are almost imperceptible.
This book seemed professionally edited, as I found no errors in the novel. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in historical fiction and especially to those who enjoy Korean history. I learned a lot about the occupation of Korea by Japan and also about the structure of the Korean government. Facts about this time period were weaved seamlessly into the novel's plot and only served to give the reader insight into this trying time for Koreans. Overall, I can't think of anything I disliked about the book, and I can't say enough good things about the story. I would highly recommend The Vanished and happily rate it four out of four stars because I enjoyed the book so much.
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