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 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*
We often read fictional thrillers in the pursuit and desire for escapism for ourselves however; by the time the reader is introduced to each character and personal story, you will find yourself egging on the vulnerable to succeed in their desire to escape and seek a better life.
Money being the root of all evils, the irony is that the evil incarcerators and those incarcerated is their need to fulfil one common desire – earn money. The author captures this forcefully when using Deng Xiao Ping’s quote, `Getting Rich is Glorious’. Glorious for those who have it, and glorious for those who may get it, due to the dreadful life they would escape.
Each personal story in the book is absorbing and testimony to the author’s knowledge of the subject matter and intelligent writing. Each person, like all immigrants believe “The Land of Hope” in Europe, Japan or the USA will be the answer to their problems. Too often immigrants only realise that the life they left behind, was in many ways, better then the life they now find themselves exposed to. They can only think pleasant things in their dreams and hold onto the happiness of home in their hearts, not their day to day reality.
The book is absorbing, cleverly written, and fast-paced style throughout with an informative and educational element driven by great characters. The book is powerful in its culmination with an action packed yet, heart tugging ending. It leaves the reader considering this very real world issue and yet, the characters are so credible, you are left wondering if there is an Ah Fang, Madam Lin or even a Dragon in your locality.
One final note, at the outset of the book, the author provides a very useful guide to Chinese names, to assist the reader with a better understanding of how Chinese names compared to Western names. This proves very useful especially for those persons not familiar with the subtle differences.
A highly recommended read.
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.
Land Of Hope Book Tour with Author Junying Kirk
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
John Kirk rated it 4 Stars
Vered Ehsani rated it 3 Stars
Vince rated it 4 Stars
Ms. Kirk characters – Will stick with you for a long time
The Joker in the “Dark Knight”. Dr Hannibal Lecter in “Red Dragon, The Judge from Blood Meridian. Ms. Kirk creation, description and actions of Dr. Richard Appleton will tremor your spine.
“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.