Official Review: The Yulin Killer by E.H.

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Kayla Cook
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Official Review: The Yulin Killer by E.H.

Post by Kayla Cook »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Yulin Killer" by E.H..]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Yulin Killer by E. H. is a harrowing tale about the cruel torture and slaughtering of dogs for the annual Yulin Festival in China. Lin is a dog butcher working to feed his family. The slaughterhouse he works for is busy preparing for the festival, which is just days away. Animal rights activists have flocked to Yulin to protest the festival. Tensions are high, the threat of violence looms heavy, and then a local woman is found brutally murdered just outside Lin's workplace. But the Yulin Killer’s reign of terror has only just begun, and as the killings continue, the threat grows closer and closer to Lin. Who is responsible? Will the police find the murderer before it’s too late?

I have to admit that the ending threw me. I was definitely not expecting it, which is a good thing. The author provided great insight into each character and kept me guessing right up to the end. I was especially impressed by this because of the short length of the story. The author did an excellent job of adding all the necessary plot points in good time within a shorter structure. I wouldn’t call this a novel. Based on the length, it’s more like a novella, but it packs a powerful punch.

I also appreciate that the author, while taking a firm stance against the abuse of animals, didn’t explicitly villainize a whole country. E.H. made it clear that not everyone in China holds the same views as many of those who reside in Yulin. E.H. also went further and took the time to develop the characters, explaining their reasoning, culture, and motivations. This novella provides a decent study of its characters, however brief the details may be. Rather than seeing the central characters only as horrible villains who torture animals for a living, we also see them interacting lovingly with their families and friends. What I like about this is that it makes the characters more real. They aren’t flat, emotionless puppets that the author jerks around on a string—they think and they feel.

This was, honestly, a very hard story to read. To be fair, it starts off with a rather candid trigger warning that states the novella is based on real events caught on camera. I love it when authors add trigger warnings—I think it shows respect for the reader. However, having a warning available doesn’t guarantee that the audience will really be prepared for what they’re about to read, as some warnings underestimate the brutality of their content and others overestimate that brutality. I made the mistake of assuming that this story’s warning was like other warnings that overestimated the possible impact of their material. What I mean by this is that, for me, many other trigger warnings make a big deal out of nothing. That’s subjective, of course, and varies from reader to reader, but that is what I expected with this book, too. I was horribly wrong, and that is my fault, not the author’s. The warning is spot on. Read it and heed it. There are a lot of highly graphic scenes of gory violence. That said, it should be obvious this is not a book for children. This is only for mature audiences who can withstand reading about the horrific torture of dogs and humans. If reading about torture or animal cruelty bothers you at all, you may want to pass this story up.

As a whole, I enjoyed this little book even though I had to put it down several times to go find a happy place. It was a truly heart-wrenching read. As I said, however, the author did add a trigger warning, so I’m not deducting points for the displeasure the graphic violence brought me. I am, however, deducting points for the errors I found. While many of those errors could be considered style-based, there were several that should have been edited out that served as speedbumps in the story. For this reason, I rate this story 3 out of 4 stars.

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The Yulin Killer
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Splendour0606
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Post by Splendour0606 »

Great review, but I think I will pass on this one, I won't be able to stand the killings illustrated in the review. Thanks alot.
Jajachris
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Post by Jajachris »

Your review is very insightful and helpful. I will not recommend this for kids as the gory scenes could mess up their minds.
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Post by funninessishappiness »

I have never read a book with a trigger warning in it. This sounds like a really interesting book. I have never heard of one with such a scenario. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Kelyn »

The book lost me at "gory and violent torture ." Your review was appreciatingly candid and thorough. Thanks for the warning, I will definitely be passing on this one.
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Post by Adanna Inya »

I don't think I've read a book with a trigger warning. I'd be scared. I'm glad that the author pulled off this masterpiece effortlessly.
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Post by NetMassimo »

This novella's subject is really difficult to read, so I expect many people to pass on it even if with another round of proofreading it might be excellent. Thank you for your great review!
Ciao :)
Massimo
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Post by hasincla »

Wow, congrats for making it through this book! It sounds like a tough read, and it was meant to be a tough read. I think it's something that I might try, so I'll put it on my to-read list but I'm going to wait until I'm ready to start it. Thank you for your honest review.
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Post by Kayla Cook »

Splendour0606 wrote: 09 May 2020, 12:46 Great review, but I think I will pass on this one, I won't be able to stand the killings illustrated in the review. Thanks alot.
I understand completely. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, thank you for commenting!
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Kayla Cook
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Post by Kayla Cook »

hasincla wrote: 10 May 2020, 12:48 Wow, congrats for making it through this book! It sounds like a tough read, and it was meant to be a tough read. I think it's something that I might try, so I'll put it on my to-read list but I'm going to wait until I'm ready to start it. Thank you for your honest review.
Yes, it was very hard to stomach, and I agree, it was meant to be. The author was trying to make a point and did a great job of it. Thank you for your comment!
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Kayla Cook
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NetMassimo wrote: 10 May 2020, 10:55 This novella's subject is really difficult to read, so I expect many people to pass on it even if with another round of proofreading it might be excellent. Thank you for your great review!
Yes, I expect many people will, and I wouldn't blame them. I don't regret reading it, but as I mentioned in the review, it was very gruesome. I'm glad you liked the review, thank you for commenting!
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Kayla Cook
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Adanna Inya wrote: 09 May 2020, 15:34 I don't think I've read a book with a trigger warning. I'd be scared. I'm glad that the author pulled off this masterpiece effortlessly.
I know how you feel. I was worried, too, when I first picked up a book with a trigger warning. Like, "Can I handle this if it's bad enough to warrant a warning?" But then I read it and it didn't trigger me at all, whereas more than a few books without trigger warnings have. However, this book is a whole different story (pun not intended, but I'll leave it). The author definitely did a good job, but, well, it's most certainly an intense read. Thank you for leaving a comment!
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Kayla Cook
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Post by Kayla Cook »

Jajachris wrote: 09 May 2020, 13:16 Your review is very insightful and helpful. I will not recommend this for kids as the gory scenes could mess up their minds.
Absolutely. This is no kid's book. I'm happy this review was valuable to you, thank you!
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Kayla Cook
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Post by Kayla Cook »

funninessishappiness wrote: 09 May 2020, 14:27 I have never read a book with a trigger warning in it. This sounds like a really interesting book. I have never heard of one with such a scenario. Thanks for the review!
It was interesting, for sure, just graphic. Like I mentioned above, some books with trigger warnings weren't nearly as "triggering" as they were made out to be, and others, like this one, were. I think trigger warnings may be a relatively new concept in stories. I've only found them in newer books. I know I've read a lot of books that should have had them, though! Thank you for reading and commenting!
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Kayla Cook
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Post by Kayla Cook »

Kelyn wrote: 09 May 2020, 14:30 The book lost me at "gory and violent torture ." Your review was appreciatingly candid and thorough. Thanks for the warning, I will definitely be passing on this one.
I understand; it's not for every one. Very disturbing. I'm glad my review was helpful. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!
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