Title: Slave Again
Author: Alana Terry
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Suspense
Date Read: 11/09/2014 – 12/09/2014
Quick disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As with her 2013 novel, The Beloved Daughter, Alana Terry pulls no punches as she once again visits the topic of young women in North Korea. In Slave Again she focuses on human trafficking, and the situation faced by so many women who struggle to cross the border into China, only to end up in the sex industry.
While the book’s blurb only mentions one character, Mee-Kyong, the book really has more of an ensemble cast. Mee-Kyong has escaped from the prison camp she was born in, but she knows that once she reaches the border, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be fine from here on in. There is also the naive Sun, who believes she is going to find a job across the border to help her struggling family. There is her brother, who is trying to find her and bring her home. And there are also Juliette and Roger, American missionaries living in China and secretly assisting North Korean refugees.
The book is often violent and harrowing; even when events are not specifically described, it is easy to tell what was happening to these characters behind closed doors. Some characters die, and sometimes it will take you by surprise exactly who the author was willing to kill off.
Mee-Kyong and Sun’s stories were definitely the ones I had the most investment in. I really wanted to see them escape to some kind of freedom. Mee-Kyong’s outlook later on in the book, after she has met Roger and Juliette, is also very interesting and raises some deep questions, such as the real meaning of freedom.
I actually felt a bit uncomfortable about Roger and Juliette, not because they were Christian (I’m a Christian, so that didn’t bother me), but because they seemed to treat the refugees they took in more like pets or projects to be worked on, rather than real human beings. Maybe that was an intentional character trait given them by the author, but I wasn’t entirely sure.
That was really my only qualm, however. Alana Terry’s writing is wonderful and this book is truly an eye-opener. I gather Alana has another installment in this series already in the works, and I look forward to it as well.