The publication of ”Journey to the West” Trilogy has attracted a number of wonderful reviews from Amazon, GoodReads, Smashwords, as well as on book review sites. Below are selected reviews of Land of Hope and Trials of Life, with relevant links to their original sites.
Click The Same Moon to begin this modern tale of a woman’s heartwarming and heartbreaking journey, from the East to the West.
Land of Hope (Journey to the West #3)
When Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad) hires Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese interpreter, they join forces to fight injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Pearl is the voice of broken dreams, translating raw, deranged, and colorful tales of those who cannot speak for themselves. As Pearl gets more and more tangled in the lives of strangers, Jack becomes a welcome diversion, complicated by the fact that both are married. Their trans-continental roller-coaster ride derails when Pearl tumbles into the sinister world of her clients, a world full of secrets, lies, and unspeakable violence – only this time, it’s directed at her.
Reviews from Amazon UK & USA
I have just finished reading this book.The pace of Junying’s novel is so fast and captivating.Being an interpreter and an immigrant myself,I was amazed by the author’s insight into the human spirit.
Absorbing, Informative and Heart Wrenching, 5 Stars By Mrs. J. Lobb “Janella” (UK)
Kirk uses Pearl’s job as a catalyst to explore the lives of different individuals who have moved from China to the UK for a plethora of different reasons. As each of these cross Pearl’s professional path we are given a preview into their own world in China where we find what prompted them to move to the UK, the conditions they moved in, their hopes and dreams, and the lives they now share here.
The descriptive imagery is very vivid in this book. At times we are plunged into the restrictions of Chinese society, prostitution, and the harsh realities of human trafficking. Some of the stories are heartbreakingly painful, others cruel and sinister as we get to know the individual characters and follow their journey, however Pearl’s background and social conscience leads her to empathise and attempt to help them throughout. This coupled with her own professional and personal struggles, not mention love interests, makes for a very interesting read.
I find it hard to box this book into a particular genre. It does run alongside police investigations but, although it is a fairly fast moving tale with a nice suspenseful twist at the end, it doesn’t feel like your archetypal thriller. It is more a tale of Chinese culture and society and the differences individuals faced between their thoughts of the west and their actual experiences living here.
I’d certainly recommend this character driven novel. Kirk has a very easy writing style that manages to paint the picture in the reader’s mind without being overly descriptive. It’s absorbing, informative and heart wrenching in places. I have the first in the series on my reading list and look forward to see how Pearl’s character begins her story.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the `Journey to the West’ trilogy and this finale has been a fantastic conclusion. My only sadness is that I have come to the end! With expert character development and intricate interweaving plot lines, Kirk’s description of a rollercoaster ride from humble beginnings in a closed China to the west, excitement and adventure has kept me enthralled at every turn. Although I have tried to ration myself, I have devoured this final instalment far too quickly and sincerely hope that Kirk delivers us another treat shortly.
Dynamic 5 Stars By Sandra Lynne Padgett
This is the story of a Chinese woman pursuing her continuing education by emigrating to England and working for a PhD there. She eventually gets her degree and takes a job as a police interpreter. This job takes her to all kinds of places and situations, many of them quite stressful and heartbreaking at the same time. She is married and the stress of her job comes between her and her husband. Various other story lines involve body trafficking, sexual exploitation, money laundering. Many people emigrate from China hoping for a better life. China has been a poor country for so long, people go elsewhere such as England to make money to send back to help support their families still in China. The characters are well drawn with good dynamics between the main characters. The story is tightly plotted and keeps your attention throughout. Every piece of the story is there for a reason. I have thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to any and all.
Having not read the first two books, I went into this with a fresh head and without any idea about the recurring characters featured, such as Pearl and Andrew. Needless to say I was a virgin to this trilogy!
Land of Hope delves into a cruel, sinister and very much darkened world of human trafficking and prostitution. Dr Pearl Church meets a variety of characters from her native China along the way, in her interpreting role, and finds out things about their lives that would make anybody’s skin crawl… it certainly did with me!Junying’s masterful use of the English language sucks you into the lives of these unfortunate people, giving you a raw insight into the world of international crime as well as the hardships that they face. To them their only hope is to do whatever they can to escape the cruel and tough life they have left behind and seek out new lives in the `Land of Hope’ that is the United Kingdom.I went into this book with knowledge that there was a dark and gritty back drop but I was still shocked at what I discovered as I went from one page to another. Regardless of such gloom, I never had an issue with reading about such things or neither did I feel that it was too much. A genre such as this is something I have never read before and to find myself immersed in this world with such ease is, in my opinion, the sign of a top quality writer – Junying can pull anyone into this world and guarantee a worthwhile experience.
The book mixes all these harsh reality checks with a passionate love affair that is more than enough to please any reader. Pearl and Inspector Jack Gordon venture into realms of forbidden pleasure when their paths cross when her talents of interpretation are required. The speed at which these two characters become entwined conjured up three apt words in my mind – `Spontaneous Sexual Combustion’. The instantaneous heat between them was such a hook for me to be caught up on.
The entire book took me on one journey to the next with deep and insightful views into the pasts and backgrounds of every character, all of whom interlace to make a dark, yet satisfying tapestry that is no doubt the crowning achievement of the trilogy. It all spirals towards an ending that is undeniably bittersweet, but to find out why you will have to venture forth and read the book for yourselves. *Hint hint*
Although The Land of Hope is the third book in the author’s trilogy, Journey to the West, this book has no trouble standing alone. I will be going back to read Same Moon and Trials of Life.
Pearl, the main character and narrator has moved on after leaving, forcefully her successful career and has landed as an interpreter for law enforcement as well as other agencies while struggling with the heartache of being separated from the love of her life Andrew.
Page after page Junying reveals each of her characters layers, one at a time artfully drawing us in until we are emotionally, intertwined and invested in this story and its characters. Right before our eyes Pearl becomes a real, breathing human being with flaws, passion and the age- old, soul born struggle of good verses evil. You may find yourself disagreeing with some of her choices, yet you will cheer her on and wonder what is coming next. You will swear you can hear Pearls as well as the other characters hearts beating louder with each turning of the page.
This story is one of fiction yet it is deeply rooted in truth. The struggles of illegal immigrants is real, gritty and beyond shocking. Human beings that leave everything they own and loved ones to cross borders into other lands, not just America but all over the world and can easily find themselves victims of the world’s most dark, notorious criminals. They can be sexually exploited, financially devastated and/or sold into slavery. Junying does not just `touch on’ the politically charged topic she dives right into what I personally believe is our worlds most current, egregious and under reported crimes against humanity of all time, the epidemic of human trafficking.
Parts of this book were painful and quite difficult for me to read through because of my own past but I applaud and congratulate Junying for finding the words that will shine a very bright light on a very dark reality.
This book will emotionally affect you, it will bring every ounce of compassion and empathy you hold in your soul to the surface and leave you deep in thought.
This is a story that needs to be told and it reveals to us the torment suffered by vulnerable illegal immigrants who are ensnared into slavery by human traffickers; the author gives us a powerful insight into this dark trade. Although this book tells some poignant tales it is also an emotional love story; an interesting vibrant read.
Land Of Hope Book Tour with Author Junying Kirk
More Reviews from GoodReads
Land of Hope is the third of a trilogy of thrilling books. I say “thrilling” even though I didn’t read the first two yet, but if they are of any resembling caliber as this; thrilling is the appropriate word. If traveling the world via literary works interests you, this will not disappoint you as it exposes you to east (China) meets west backdrops. There’s even a romance woven into the fast paced thriller. The most appealing facet of this book is how its fictional storyline depicts the dark reality of a very serious global problem today: human trafficking. The number of people, mostly young girls, being abducted and sexually exploited and/or forced into labor is unbelievable. Junying Kirk not only provides a well written and entertaining story, but she helps to increase the awareness of one of today’s darkest realities. When fiction can impact reality in positive ways, it needs to be shared with as many people possible. I hope this will be the case with this book.
Katy Sozaeva rated it 4 Stars
Reading Level: Adult (some erotic scenes)
Book Available October, 2012 in ebook from multiple distributors
Recommended for: Those interested in thrillers, especially with topics based on real-world issues, like human trafficking and slavery
Read: 8/20 – 8/29/12 and 9/21 – 24/12Disclosure: I edited this book for this author; I do not receive any financial remuneration based upo…more
Mariam Kobras rated it 5 Stars
It’s a crime story that feels as British and comfortable as a Midsomer Murder episode. It’s an international thriller that reminds of a Bourne movie, and it’s a beautiful, and very atmospheric insight into life in China, both in the past and the present.
While Kirk makes the crime story move forward at a good pace, her writing really shines and sparkles when she delves into the Chinese culture.
It’s astounding how her style, her…more
Eri Nelson rated it 5 Stars
JJ Collins rated it 5 Stars
Andy Wood rated it 5 Stars
Madeline Sloane rated it 4 Stars
Author Junying Kirk has the expertise and the experience to understand and explain the quandary of the Chinese immigrant living illegally in the U.K. Her characters are gripping; their lives are fascinating; their fates are poignant, and Kirk is bold enough to look behind the veil of official assurances and false smiles, and reveal the cultural divide: “Better the devil you know th…more
Trials of Life (Journey to the West #2)
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith rated it 5 Stars
Bluejay44 rated it 4 Stars
Katy Sozaeva rated it 4 Stars
Eden Baylee rated it 5 Stars
Vered Ehsani rated it 3 Stars
John Kirk rated it 4 Stars
Vince rated it 4 Stars
Ms. Kirk characters – Will stick with you for a long time
“Trials of Life” is the second book in the Journey to the West series. The series main character Pearl, married, content and living in the UK. Pearl’s happiness is quickly erased when she finds out about the death of Dr. Richard Appleton and this revelation brings back painful memories of her difficult journey. This when the book makes an imprint and were Ms.Kirk injects the vile Dr. Appleton into the reader’s conscious.
The book is well written and subjectiveMs. Kirk is a character creative monster and that is something you can’t teach. Five stars
The reason why my overall rating is four stars – I wanted more from Pearl.
Enjoyed it very much.
Great Sequel to The Same Moon 4 Stars
*If you enjoy the first book you will be in for a treat with the second book (Trials of life). The second novel is brilliant on its own but is best appreciated after reading the first one (just like the Hobbit and Lord of the rings). Trials of life is beautifully written, I absolutely love the writing style (won’t spoil you on how it is written). At times my eyes well up at such intense emotions seeping through the page, I was gripped from the first page and cannot put the kindle down all weekend. Once again Junying has proved that one does not have to have a printed book to be considered a good writer, a very good one indeed. I can’t wait for the next novel to come out.