I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
‘A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossibly high standards of beauty, secret room salons catering to wealthy men, strict social hierarchies, and K-pop fan mania.’ – Goodreads.com
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it doesn’t read like a debut or a first novel at all. Not to say debut’s aren’t good or up to par with an author’s fourth or fifth novel, but they usually don’t have as strong a voice as later works.
The multiple perspectives weren’t as jarring as they can be, in fact, they served to offer more perspective on the characters as we see them from both the inside and the outside. The women weren’t basic, they weren’t predictable, they had hidden depths, and unexpected characteristics and shocking behaviours.
Wonna and Ara are the two I connected with the most, though Kyuri and Miho also had their own riveting and beautifully told stories. This is definitely a novel that would give you more with each read. I feel like with multi-perspective novels, you can really benefit from rereading and focusing in on one character’s story at a time.
From the setting to the relationships to the high emotion to the strength of these women, this novel was satisfying. The ending isn’t spoon fed to us, we have to imagine these women’s lives beyond the page, which I think was a perfect choice in this case.
I read about 50% of this novel in one sitting, once I had a chance to just sit and read for hours, I couldn’t put it down.
Looking forward to more works by Frances Cha, they can only improve from here.
The only thing I would change is the cover. It creates the illusion of this being a more historical fiction, whereas it’s quite contemporary and could have used a cover to match. That’s just personal preference, though.