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The Plotters by Un-su Kim, Sora Kim-Russell (translator), #17 review

Publication date: 20 August 2010

The important thing is not who pulls the trigger but who’s behind the person who pulls the trigger—the plotters, the masterminds working in the shadows. Raised by Old Raccoon in The Library of Dogs, Reseng has always been surrounded by plots to kill—and by books that no one ever reads. In Seoul’s corrupt underworld, he was destined to be an assassin.

Until he breaks the rules. That’s when he meets a trio of young women—a convenience store worker, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed obsessive knitter—with an extraordinary plot of their own.

Will the women save the day? Or will Reseng be next on the kill list? Who will look after his cats, Reading Lamp and Book Stand? Who planted the bomb in his toilet? How much beer can he drink before he forgets it all?

The Plotters is a cracking noir thriller combined with the soul, wit and lyricism of a highly original literary voice.

Un-su Kim is the rising star of Korean literature. With shades of Murakami, The Plotters is a complex, fascinating moral tale about the changing of the guard in a corrupt underworld—a page-turner filled with black humour and compassion for a fallen world.

I read the translated version of this book. One of my reading goals this year is to read different genres by Asian authors. Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a copy of this book to review.

The bookish Reseng is the adopted son of Old Racoon, a renowned assassin who lives in a library called The Doghouse. The story is set in fictional Seoul, Korea with assassins, plotters, gangs, corrupt government officials who control the movement of power in the country. This book is perfect for a book to movie adaptation. It features a lot of cinematic violence and drama in the form of chuckling jokes.

The Plotters is the perfect book if you want to read something with Korean flair in it and a hell lot of badass. I’m talking knife fights, bullets shooting, brawls, very elegant language and investigating a mystery along with the main character – Reseng, aka a handsome bastard or a handsome son of a bitch as he likes to call himself. Don’t take it the wrong way, he is not a narcissist or arrogant (much), he’s just really handsome.

There are scenes where I clenched my hand into a fist in order not to punch him because he is a baby. A legit baby who doesn’t know that what’s best for him is to stay the heck away from fights. Everyone sees him as a monster, but he is just a human being that is capable of feeling more emotions than all the thugs in the underworld put together. He feels a lot.

The ending was quite unexpected, it left me in question marks in a good way. I didn’t expect it at all. The author is truly a Plotter indeed. There were many good quotes in the book that I would like to share as the end of my review. Here are my favorites:

“It didn’t matter how high you rose, how invisible your body was, or how firmly you clung to greatness, because all of it could vanish with a tiny, split-second mistake.”

“Everything people say about whales is a lie. Because everything they say comes from a book. But whales don’t live in a book, they live in the ocean.”

It is part of a story told by an old man in the book that I find quite charming

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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