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Seoul Survivors

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A meteor known as Lucifer's Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be. In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactl A meteor known as Lucifer's Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be. In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with. Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.

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A meteor known as Lucifer's Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be. In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactl A meteor known as Lucifer's Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be. In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with. Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.

30 review for Seoul Survivors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201... It's only January, but already I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the more "out there" books I'll read this year. As usual, Jo Fletcher Books continues to push the envelop and explore beyond the boundaries of traditional adult speculative fiction with novels like Seoul Survivor. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first read the description. With the impending destruction of earth by a meteor called Lucifer's 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201... It's only January, but already I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the more "out there" books I'll read this year. As usual, Jo Fletcher Books continues to push the envelop and explore beyond the boundaries of traditional adult speculative fiction with novels like Seoul Survivor. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first read the description. With the impending destruction of earth by a meteor called Lucifer's Hammer providing the backdrop for the story, I wouldn't have been surprised to find something along the lines of an apocalyptic science fiction thriller. What I actually got, however, was something all together different. Strange, too -- but in a good way. The book follows the lives of four characters: Sydney Travers, a former escort from Canada who hopes to start over with a modeling career in a new country; her boyfriend Johnny Sandman, a vicious, sociopathic and just all around disgusting corporate executive and a sorry excuse of a human being; Damien Meadows, so down on his luck and desperate to leave England that he reluctantly agrees to be a drug mule; and finally Lee Mee Hee, a North Korean peasant woman who is smuggled away from death and famine in the false bottom of a foreign aid truck. Their separate paths all lead them to Seoul, Korea where the brilliant Korean-American scientist Dr. Kim Da Mi is the mastermind behind a plan to redesign humanity with genetic engineering and social experiments, in spite of the killer asteroid hurtling earth's way. Beyond these basics, the book gets more complex and difficult to describe. At times it falls into seriously outrageous and bizarre territory. It also may not be for everyone, and indeed it's not for the faint of heart; there are parts that made me feel downright queasy while reading, especially some of the scenes that depicted acts of a deviant nature as well as the few instances which involved graphic descriptions of sexual violence. I didn't expect it from its cover or description, but this novel is dark and at times twisted, containing some disturbing themes. At the same time, I couldn't help but be drawn to the characters, and be enthralled by the way their individual dramas unfolded. Confoundingly, none of them are even all that likeable as people, but for some reason their lives are like a car wreck I can't seem to tear my eyes away from. Take the shallow and insecure Sydney who so easily gets manipulated, for example, or timid Mee Hee with the personality meeker than a lamb. Neither of them possess particularly admirable traits, but all the same, their fears and desires make them feel very human. Even megalomaniac Johnny whom I consider to be more monster than man has his part to play, and then of course there is the geneticist Dr. Kim and her eerie charisma worthy of a cult leader. The setting itself feels like a world in a not-too-distant future, one that feels familiar but also exotic in part due to some of the advanced technology but also because of the foreign culture. From her author's bio, Naomi Foyle spent many years in Asia and it is clear that she drew upon her experiences in Korea to paint a clear picture of the people and places of Seoul. As a reader, you can easily become completely immersed in this milieu. I also thought the crisis and spectacle of Lucifer's Hammer would feature more prominently in this novel, but aside from Damien no other character takes the meteor all that seriously, and as such it is always in the background but not discussed to a great extent. I wish there had been more; though nonetheless, the all-pervasive undertones of worldwide tension are so strong they are practically palpable. It's interesting because while I wouldn't technically classify this book as apocalyptic fiction, so few novels actually take this "countdown to doomsday" angle. To put it simply, Seoul Survivors is a book that defies all expectations. Just sitting back and letting the story be what it is can lead to some pleasant surprises amidst the dark twists and turns. The true nature of it can take a while to unravel, but the never-seen-before ideas and diverse cast of characters make this one an intriguing read. It touched me, and it also shook me to my core.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Serene :)

    Seoul Survivors is such a blow to the face. It makes you think about the future and have a reality check. All the cruel natures are made even crueler for more effect. Characters have straight forward intentions of getting what they want, whether it be money or freedom. It also wasn’t the book for me. At one look I thought it had some sort of ‘apocalypse and loads of action’ plot going on, and I was right. I would’ve rated this book higher if I could have actually cared for the characters. The Seoul Survivors is such a blow to the face. It makes you think about the future and have a reality check. All the cruel natures are made even crueler for more effect. Characters have straight forward intentions of getting what they want, whether it be money or freedom. It also wasn’t the book for me. At one look I thought it had some sort of ‘apocalypse and loads of action’ plot going on, and I was right. I would’ve rated this book higher if I could have actually cared for the characters. The way the book was written, the characters could mood switch very quickly. I never had time to get attached to a single character (besides Damien - I’ll explain who he is in the next paragraph.) The one character that I thought was most believable to be a real person was Damien, in my opinion. He wasn’t overly cruel, and his intentions for doing what he did are understandable and not completely over the top. He wasn’t always raging, only when he had an actual reason to be mad and to scream his lungs out. There was also great character development from him along the story. Another character that I would like to talk about is Johnny Sandman. Johnny has that one personality that makes you want to kill him. Multiple times. He’s constantly raging at everything. Every. Single. Thing. But in all honesty, even if he’s not exactly a believable villain, he’s a good villain nonetheless. Naomi Foyle’s writing does capture the sheer intensity of the moment, not to mention the sadistic manners of the characters. There were a few moments when I didn’t fully understand what was happening, but most of the times it was very straight forward. I also liked how the point of view switched every chapter so that I got a main idea of what was happening to the characters. It also gave you the chance to go into the mind of each character. The start of the book was very intense, drawing you in to read the book which I think is a good trick to do. I don’t believe there was anything wrong with the writing, I think the style of writing that Foyle used was fine. I would recommend this book to audiences that have a strong will, maybe for ages 15 and above. There are some warnings that I have to set. Some scenes really stuck with me. Warning of very mature scenes with very disturbing imagery. Also written in very graphic detail. There are others but I suppose those are for you to find out. I didn’t think this book was good, yet it wasn’t that bad to deserve a one star rating. It simply wasn’t the right book for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This review is from my blog: http://andthenireadabook.blogspot.com... Seoul Survivors is a full-on, non-stop near-future apocalyptic fertility-dystopian scare of a novel. Seriously, it does not let up for a moment. There are three main storylines, that connect and converge at points throughout the novel but are also fundamentally enmeshed together. Sydney has come to South Korea to persue her dreams of modelling. Damien hopes his trip will earn him enough money to escape the end of the world. Mee This review is from my blog: http://andthenireadabook.blogspot.com... Seoul Survivors is a full-on, non-stop near-future apocalyptic fertility-dystopian scare of a novel. Seriously, it does not let up for a moment. There are three main storylines, that connect and converge at points throughout the novel but are also fundamentally enmeshed together. Sydney has come to South Korea to persue her dreams of modelling. Damien hopes his trip will earn him enough money to escape the end of the world. Mee Hee just wants to live somewhere where she can be safe from constant fear and famine. All three of their lives are touched, for good or ill, by Dr Kim Da Mi, genius and possible saviour of the human race. Sydney's blonde, Canadian good looks make her a hot property in South Korea. Her rapport with photographer Jin Sok helps her establish a career and a life, neither of which she really had at home. She's in South Korea with her boyfriend Johnny Sandman, a vicious thug who is even more repellent than he seems. Sydney adores being in front of the camera; the buzz, the attention, the energy of it all makes her soar. Freedom beckons and even the Sandman can't keep her caged. Damien's life was not looking exactly peachy; in fact he'd got to the point where smuggling drugs seemed the best option. He's not exactly a master crim though - his longer term plan is to teach English to young Koreans until he has enough money to get to Canada. He's researched the coming apocalypse and figures he has the safest place picked out. It baffles him that no one else, apart form a few loonies, is taking Lucifer's Hammer seriously. Damien is convinced the meteor is on a collision course with Earth, and he wants to be prepared. Lee Mee Hee has had the toughest ride of all, literally. The death of her baby son has left her bereft and hopeless until a doctor takes an interest in her and arranges for her to be smuggled out of North Korea. She travels underneath the truck in a tiny enclosed space, the description of which left me feeling claustrophobic and needing air. There's a new life awaiting her, if she chooses it, one with peace and harmony and babies. Dr Kim has a plan to breed a new type of human, one full of compassion and understanding for their fellow man. Dr Kim has this whole rent-a-womb clone scheme going on, that sometimes seems like the greatest experiment yet but more often just screams LUNATIC. She is so reasonable, calm, beautiful and sage and also completely demented. She's a terrifying character because she so easily sucks you into her plans. She makes sociopathic Johnny look like a Yorkshire Terrier yapping at your heels. Actually, he is a complete narcissistic menace who thinks about himself in the third person. Avoid at all costs is practically stamped across his forehead. They are both brilliant characters though, worming their way through the story, manipulating people and situations. Sydney and Damien are like Hansel and Gretel being led to the house of the wicked witch. Although with Dr Kim it is never entirely clear if she is doing something Very Good or Very Bad. There are two very different atmospheres in the book. The urban scenes are loud, frenetic, full of people and colour. In Dr Kim's environment it is tranquil, serene, shimmering. I loved the contrast between the two. I also loved how it is set in a future that seems very near; there's some new technology stuff that I think is on the cusp of being real. The issues raised are ones that we're bothered about right now - meteors, cloning, disasters natural and manmade. There are some shocking bits, and towards the end there's something that was very uncomfortable to read. There's also plenty of drinking, clubbing, and shagging too. Like I said, the book is full-on. As I was reading it there was something buzzing around my mind, that it put me in mind of something else I'd read. It wasn't until I read this that it fell into place - William Gibson. It's years since I read Neuromancer, but it's the same excitement and energy I felt. Seoul Survivors manages to talk about lots of serious things within a plot full of tension and drive. Naomi Foyle can really write.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I liked this at first. The plot seemed to be setting up for something big but as the novel went on the main plot slowed down and the narrative got bogged down with Sydney's (one of the main characters) love affairs and unnecessarily detailed sex scenes. The action only really kicked in at the end and delivered a very unsatisfactory ending. Disappointing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Martin Willoughby

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven Stennett

    The overwhelming impression I got from this book was that the characters were people very hard to care about! It makes a massive difference to your reading experience!!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Wigmore

    This is a pacy tech-thriller, notable for its excellent prose, its superb use of character voice and an authentic-feeling evocation of the city of Seoul. The four viewpoint characters are very different from each other, and their varied backgrounds and ways of thinking reflect vividly in their sections of the narrative. Foyle's skill as an author shows itself especially in the way her use of voice makes the sociopathic Johnny Sandman relatable to some extent, if not exactly sympathetic. Damien h This is a pacy tech-thriller, notable for its excellent prose, its superb use of character voice and an authentic-feeling evocation of the city of Seoul. The four viewpoint characters are very different from each other, and their varied backgrounds and ways of thinking reflect vividly in their sections of the narrative. Foyle's skill as an author shows itself especially in the way her use of voice makes the sociopathic Johnny Sandman relatable to some extent, if not exactly sympathetic. Damien has a nice blend of dry cynicism and blokey good nature (and his resemblance to Hugh Grant is a bizarre and amusing way in to his role in an international conspiracy), and the young fashion model and party girl Sydney makes an appealing main character, both determined and susceptible to moments of weakness. Only Mee Hee seems a bit thin, as if Foyle struggled a bit for things for her to actually do rather than just observe, and her chapters are mostly very short. The book revolves around the relationships between these four characters and with Dr Kim, a woman with far-reaching plans to ensure the survival of the human race past a coming apocalypse. These plans, needless to say, are not necessarily all that they seem. The book is generally an exciting read, with tension kept very high towards the end. There's a fair bit of sexual content, and while most of this is joyously and skillfully erotic (no "bad sex award" candidates here) other sections go to some dark places. My only quibble with the story was its somewhat fuzzy focus, mostly in terms of the science fiction elements. I can't really discuss these without spoilers, so I'll just say I wish some had been developed more, while one perhaps served mainly as a distraction. Occasionally the SF elements faded into the background, and the story seemed to become for a while mostly about Sydney's romantic/sexual entanglements. This wasn't an issue for me because of the quality of characterisation and writing, but it might be for some. Overall, for a debut novel, this is excellent, and I'm pleased to say Foyle goes on to still-greater things in her Gaia Chronicles quartet (starting with Astra), which I highly recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mieneke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Recently I've found myself answering "It's complicated." more and more when asked how I liked a certain book and Seoul Survivors is the latest in that set. While overall I could see its potential, there were a number of elements in the book that just didn't work for me and lots of elements that raised questions. This last isn't really a problem, as I think one of the prime benefits of reading is expanding your mind and making you think about things you wouldn't encounter in daily life, so Seoul Recently I've found myself answering "It's complicated." more and more when asked how I liked a certain book and Seoul Survivors is the latest in that set. While overall I could see its potential, there were a number of elements in the book that just didn't work for me and lots of elements that raised questions. This last isn't really a problem, as I think one of the prime benefits of reading is expanding your mind and making you think about things you wouldn't encounter in daily life, so Seoul Survivors did its job in that respect. But the elements that didn't work for me, really didn't work for me. There will be some spoilers in this review and I have to add a trigger warning for rape as well. What I did appreciate about Seoul Survivors is the fact that it is set in a setting that isn't common at all, South Korea, but that Foyle chose to tell her story through the eyes of outsiders: none of our viewpoint characters are South-Korean, which circumvents the risk of cultural appropriation; what our characters observe is always filtered through a foreigner's eyes and thus probably already not interpreted the way a South-Korean would understand it. It also serves to add to the alienating nature of this future, because in the future Seoul Survivors is set in things are possible and considered as a legitimate course of profit, which would be highly illegal and mostly impossible at this point in time. Creating a better more peaceful human race through gene modification isn't possible (yet) and if it were, I can't imagine it being an ethically acceptable practice anywhere. Similarly, creating a model amusement park populated by angelic, almost identical children, created from the donated genetic material of two Caucasian people and carried to term by a group of desperate North-Korean refugees? Unthinkable, even if it is technically quite possible. But in Foyle's Seoul these things don't seem to be as unacceptable to the authorities and if they would have a problem with it, they can be convinced to look the other way via a hefty bribe. Thus the setting and set-up of Seoul Survivors worked for me, but what didn't were the characters. Because, of the four viewpoint characters, only Hee Mee was truly sympathetic. I could see where she was coming from and why she would settle for this life as a brood mare in what is most charitably described as a disturbed woman's vision to achieve a better future. Both Damien and Sydney are tough characters to connect too, troubled and not always on the right side of the law, they are often selfish in their actions and viewpoint. In addition, Sydney is a young woman discovering her sexuality in a way that seemed almost obsessive and a large part of her narrative arc seemed to be sex scenes that were quite explicit, even uncomfortably so. While I can see where and why Sydney's sexual exploration plays a big part in her story, I could have done without the explicit and numerous sex scenes. To round out our quartet of viewpoint characters, we have Johnny Sandman, Sydney's boyfriend at the beginning of the book and Dr Kim Da Mi's grudging partner-in-crime. And Johnny Sandman is a complete and utter sociopath. On the one hand, I was amused at the anger management course he constantly refers to when he needs to keep himself under control, but on the other hand he mostly deeply disturbed me on every level. Kim Da Mi, while not a viewpoint character is one of the main characters in the book and she's a mix of kindly aunt and ruthless evil genius that left me quite chilled. Beyond the character issues, there were a number of elements that were really problematic for me. First of all, why does Dr Kim need a Caucasian couple to create the embryos for her so-called Peonies, the children that will populate her VirtuWorld amusement park? Are South-Korean people really more attracted to Western physiques? Do they really think a blond- blue-eyed woman more beautiful than a woman with Korean or even more generally-speaking Asian-features? What does that say about the cultural colonisation by the West of Korea and other Asian countries? Perhaps this is exactly the point Foyle wanted to make here, but if so, it is a sad and terrible fact that Western culture and values is smothering those of the rest of the world. Secondly, and this was really the most problematic element of all for me, there is the incredibly explicit description of Sydney being raped with a foreign object right near the end of the book. It felt like an unnecessary scene as it didn't seem vital to the story. Arguably rape never is, but in this case, it really didn't add anything but even more trauma for Sydney. It felt like it was only a way to make her rapist seem even more depraved, but he was already so low on the scale, that he could have done without. In a way, I'm really sad that I don't like Seoul Survivors more than I do, because I enjoyed Foyle's use of language and description, the premise of the story, the almost frantic pace of life in Seoul, especially with the threat of the meteor looming in the background. But I find I can't get past the unlikeable characters and Sydney's rape. Still, even if this story didn't work for me, Foyle's writing did and I'm looking forward to her next book, Astra, which is the start of a new series and sounds quite interesting. This book was provided for review by the publisher.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Owens

    Which protagonist in 'Seoul Survivors' do you want to root for? Maybe Sydney, the dumb self-obsessed hooker turned model? No thanks. What about Johnny the abusive and violent necrophiliac pimp? Nuh-uh. Maybe Mee Hee the North Korean grieving mother with the wiles and curiosity of a sheep? Please God no. Ok, what about Damien the English stoner drug mule with a dead sister fixation? Nope. Nope. Nope. This book is filled with unpleasant people doing unpleasant things and when you get really unlucky Which protagonist in 'Seoul Survivors' do you want to root for? Maybe Sydney, the dumb self-obsessed hooker turned model? No thanks. What about Johnny the abusive and violent necrophiliac pimp? Nuh-uh. Maybe Mee Hee the North Korean grieving mother with the wiles and curiosity of a sheep? Please God no. Ok, what about Damien the English stoner drug mule with a dead sister fixation? Nope. Nope. Nope. This book is filled with unpleasant people doing unpleasant things and when you get really unlucky, meeting and having really badly written unpleasant sex. The writing is interminable and filled with dead-ends and fluff that don't move the story forward at all. Halfway through I started siding with the asteroid...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Archiegitdog

    This book took sometime to read as DUST was released half way through which is what I have been waiting for. It was still easy to pick up from where I had left it and I thought the characters were excellent as I can actually remember their names! The story was a bit hit and miss but still pleased I got the book. Would definitely recommend to anyone who is dithering about it. Now where is my "honey"?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    While the POV characters were extremely well drawn and engaging, there was something lacking in the underlying rationale of the plot: I found it hard to accept that Sydney was the only viable candidate for the VirtuWorld project, and this fact is key to the storyline.

  12. 5 out of 5

    bess

    I really liked bits if it, but then it just got a bit silly. Nonetheless, a good (and engaging) read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dan Jones

    In a sea of dystopian, post-apocalyptic SF and speculative fiction, Seoul Survivors bucks the trend by being a pre-apocalyptic novel. SS focuses on the different reactions people have to the news that a massive meteor, dubbed Lucifer's Hammer, is going to hit Earth imminently. We follow a gaggle of morally ambiguous characters, primarily based in Seoul but with some brief excursions into Beijing and rural North Korea. Their backstories are left intentionally hazy; just as they lie to each other In a sea of dystopian, post-apocalyptic SF and speculative fiction, Seoul Survivors bucks the trend by being a pre-apocalyptic novel. SS focuses on the different reactions people have to the news that a massive meteor, dubbed Lucifer's Hammer, is going to hit Earth imminently. We follow a gaggle of morally ambiguous characters, primarily based in Seoul but with some brief excursions into Beijing and rural North Korea. Their backstories are left intentionally hazy; just as they lie to each other about their intentions, they also seem to lie and keep secrets from themselves. In a world whose time is short, people seem more reluctant than ever to reveal the truth to themselves; better to coast by on a sea of idealism, convincing ourselves of having lived a worthwhile life before everything is sucked away. But few characters, in this bleak and dark imagining of a future that's so near you can almost touch it, emerge with a great deal of credit. The geneticist Kim Da Mi is attempting to ensure humanity's survival after the meteor using a blend of surrogatism, genetics and robotics that is morally repugnant, yet challenges the reader to consider what price is worth paying to elevate humanity to new levels of understanding, or science. Foyle leaves this question tantalisingly unanswered, but it personally left me with a sour taste. Damian, the drugs mule who simply wants to get of Korean dodge is the one character - the only Brit, mind - who injects a bit of good old fashioned British scepticism into the mix. Everyone else seems happy to be swept along by their own fallacies, rage and selfishness, and It's very raunchy, and sex plays an important part of the novel. Some of the sex is erotic, some is depraved, and some is very violent. With the end of the world imminent, I wonder if this is hypersexualisation is Foyle's way of hinting at the loosening of sexual morals and, in the fahsion of Sodom and Gomorrah, bring humanity low through excess. Contrasting with the highly sexually charged Sydney, the depraved and quite deliciously revolting Johnny Sandman, and the womanising Jae Ho, Kim Da Mi is a kind of androgyne, desexualised and playing the role of both tyrannical father and mother nature to her new surrogate children. It's telling that the brave new world envisioned by Da Mi is in her own image, desexualised and conformist. Korea makes for an interesting setting, and draws of much of Foyle's own experiences there, and paints a country that at times seems to struggle with reconciling its own ancient Confucian culture with increasing amounts of Western consumerism and individualism. It's a brisk, energetic read and leaves the reader with many important and, at times, depressing questions, but which nonetheless seem increasingly relevant.

  14. 5 out of 5

    J.J.

    It started out with an interesting premise but was let down by a number of things. I didn't much care for the characters, the ending was unsatisfying and it almost became a by-the-numbers thriller towards the end. There are better books to spend your time on.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Baker

    It's always a good feeling when I choose a novel of an author I've never heard of and it turns out to be such an amazing read. This book caught my attention because I was stationed with the army in South Korea for two years. I spent lots of time traveling the country and Seoul was a city that I frequented quite often. So I first saw the book in Barnes &Noble, and the spelling of "Seoul" caught my eye and I was immediately intrigued. Reading this novel was so much fun because numerous cities It's always a good feeling when I choose a novel of an author I've never heard of and it turns out to be such an amazing read. This book caught my attention because I was stationed with the army in South Korea for two years. I spent lots of time traveling the country and Seoul was a city that I frequented quite often. So I first saw the book in Barnes &Noble, and the spelling of "Seoul" caught my eye and I was immediately intrigued. Reading this novel was so much fun because numerous cities were named throughout the book and I had been to nearly all of them. Many memories were evoked for me while reading this and I thought that was really cool. In addition to that the story was very captivating and Foyle has a brilliant no holds barred, completely unapologetic style of writing that is raw and gritty and flat out real. I am definitely a fan of Foyle's now and recommend this book to any and all book enthusiasts.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Ledeboer

    If you like gritty, dark, and violent sci-fi, futuristic thrillers, Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle is just the book for you. Foyle works cloning, meteoric disaster, narcotic drug usage, depraved sex, and robotic cyborg creatures into her plot and that’s just to name a few of the topics covered. Seoul Survivors revolves around five main characters, Syndey – the model, Damien – the drug smuggler, Johnny – the assassin turned wheeler/dealer, Mee Hee – the grieving mother, and Dr. Kim – the evil brai If you like gritty, dark, and violent sci-fi, futuristic thrillers, Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle is just the book for you. Foyle works cloning, meteoric disaster, narcotic drug usage, depraved sex, and robotic cyborg creatures into her plot and that’s just to name a few of the topics covered. Seoul Survivors revolves around five main characters, Syndey – the model, Damien – the drug smuggler, Johnny – the assassin turned wheeler/dealer, Mee Hee – the grieving mother, and Dr. Kim – the evil brains of the operation. Their paths often touch or slam together as they are manipulated and seduced by their own personal carrots dangled at the end of their respective sticks. Syndey is mesmerized by visions of a rainbow world of peace, love, and perfect babies – the Peonies, that Dr. Kim is selling. Damien is looking for the big payoff so he can escape the effects of the impending doom of the meteor, Lucifer’s Hammer; he only needs to donate sperm for Dr. Kim’s Peonies. Johnny relishes in violence, power, and abuse as he claws his way to the top while working for Dr. Kim. Mee Hee mourning the loss of her newborn baby and threatened by her husband aches for the baby, safety, and security that Dr. Kim promises to provide her. And finally we have Dr. Kim, perhaps the most ambiguous of all Foyle’s characters. Is she really a benevolent nutty professor or is she really a Dr. Evil, bent on creating a perfect cloned society at all and any costs in order to survive the devastation of Lucifer’s Hammer? Foyle keeps Dr. Kim complex throughout the book and even by the end of the book it is still debatable and perhaps quite subjective how the reader will feel about her. Although the main characters are complex and well thought out, I would have liked to know a little more about some of them; the treatment of their backgrounds was unequal and left me wanting more. The world these characters grind away in is rich with references to Korean places, food, mindsets, and sound. I could almost taste and smell the kimchee. I could almost feel the swish of Mee Hee’s eyelashes as she lowered them in shy modesty during a conversation. I felt the sweat from Syndey and Johnny after a hearty bout of sex. Foyle worked the futuristic, techno gadgets so seamlessly into the fabric of the story that I began to wonder if they actually already existed now. The majority of the book is suspenseful and there is a sense of foreboding and breath holding throughout. I kept waiting for “it” to happen. The pacing may be the major issue I had with the writing in Seoul Survivors. Everything was building up, and building up, and building up, and building up – ok, you get the idea. Then crash, boom, “it” came and was over in just a few pages. There was just a bit too much “build up” for such a quick, climatic ending. (Was this a parallel to the act of sex in general?) So basically – not enough action throughout, then just a few short moments of a careening car, violent sex act, and murder. Then it’s over. There is a short, sweet, and simple epilogue that leaves us with a pleasantly feel-good vibe, which I actually liked because it was in such stark contrast to the unsettling and disturbing events leading up to it throughout the book. All in all, I enjoyed this fresh and exciting book – from the bleak,dark places it took us to the highest, trippiest – Peoniest – places.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Carney

    Not a bad book, to be fair. Not a good one either, I didn't feel, but definitely not the worst I've read. Set in the not-too distant future (it's never explicitly stated when, but Hugh Grant is an 'old, washed-up actor'), in the last days of an Earth headed for catastrophe, this book could have been great. The blurb gives the impression that for once it's going to be the Koreans rather than the Americans who save the world, which was what made me pick this up in the first place, but of course the Not a bad book, to be fair. Not a good one either, I didn't feel, but definitely not the worst I've read. Set in the not-too distant future (it's never explicitly stated when, but Hugh Grant is an 'old, washed-up actor'), in the last days of an Earth headed for catastrophe, this book could have been great. The blurb gives the impression that for once it's going to be the Koreans rather than the Americans who save the world, which was what made me pick this up in the first place, but of course the blurb is misleading. What you actually get is a vaguely creepy, sci-fi-ish, doomsday-ish yarn, with unlikeable characters and a weak ending. There are some good things about it - the author obviously has some familiarity with Seoul and with Korean culture, and paints some interesting scenes and characters - but most of these are forgotten as the plot gathers pace. I think my basic problem was that I found Sydney, the main protagonist, too irritatingly dumb to sympathise with. She makes stupid choice after stupid choice, yet the other characters keep telling us how smart she is. I'd much rather the author had actually shown these smarts in the character's actions than just tell us they exist - instead she focused on banging on about how beautiful and sexy and perfect Sydney is, and how she has all these men (even the gay ones) falling all over her. There's plenty of violence in this book, though there's something almost old-school Mob about it, and thus it feels about as real as a Quentin Tarantino movie. In short, despite the author's efforts to be different (and please, when did graphic rape scenes become shorthand for authors trying to be edgy? Because it's rapidly becoming a cliche and losing impact.), this is actually disappointingly formulaic. A good, solid 'okay', but not anything that makes me want to rush out and read the rest of this author's work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eggplant

    Well written, but poorly paced with a negligible plot. Do I really need to read through multiple chapters of people fucking before we actually get to the central conflict? The characters were unlikeable and sometimes unnecessary. Did we really need the whole PoV of the North Korean defector? It would definitely have been an interesting perspective, if it had been done well. As it was, it was just another seven or so extra chapters were nothing happened. Those could have been condensed to one or Well written, but poorly paced with a negligible plot. Do I really need to read through multiple chapters of people fucking before we actually get to the central conflict? The characters were unlikeable and sometimes unnecessary. Did we really need the whole PoV of the North Korean defector? It would definitely have been an interesting perspective, if it had been done well. As it was, it was just another seven or so extra chapters were nothing happened. Those could have been condensed to one or two chapters, easy. The ending wasn't satisfying; maybe if more time had been spent describing the impending apocalypse from the point of view from, I don't know, someone who was actually suffering through it, I would have given a shit about the death toll. As it was, I was treated to the end of the world shoved into two or three paragraphs of fluff about marriage and children. I really do believe the author can write; there were times where I was especially struck or moved by a phrase. But for the most part, the book was a snooze fest I had to force myself to continue.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie Whittington

    "Seoul Survivors" is the sort of book where it undermines your expectations at every turn. I could loosely categorise this as science-fiction, like other reviewers have done, but I would say that it is in part a crime thriller, and a disaster novel too. It's incredibly gritty, and when I first picked it up, I found the beginning too abrupt and jarring. However, as I read on, and the characters were developed and motives discovered, I began to find I couldn't stop reading. I love a good end-of-th "Seoul Survivors" is the sort of book where it undermines your expectations at every turn. I could loosely categorise this as science-fiction, like other reviewers have done, but I would say that it is in part a crime thriller, and a disaster novel too. It's incredibly gritty, and when I first picked it up, I found the beginning too abrupt and jarring. However, as I read on, and the characters were developed and motives discovered, I began to find I couldn't stop reading. I love a good end-of-the-world story line, and this novel contained a reasonably new approach that I've not seen before. Instead of trying to guess the ending at the half-way point, I found myself having to remind myself that it was fiction and that it could go either way. That's always a good sign! No spoilers, read it yourself!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    The story drags on for ever and ever around the desperate characters. There was far too much detail and loose ends which didn't seem to make a lot of relevance. I got a glimpse of South Korean culture which is typical for any up and coming third world economy. You got greedy vicious foreigners partnering even more self serving and greedier locals to guess what, make bundles of money. I wanted a get an inside onto the South Korean culture but got very little. So if you are going to pick this book The story drags on for ever and ever around the desperate characters. There was far too much detail and loose ends which didn't seem to make a lot of relevance. I got a glimpse of South Korean culture which is typical for any up and coming third world economy. You got greedy vicious foreigners partnering even more self serving and greedier locals to guess what, make bundles of money. I wanted a get an inside onto the South Korean culture but got very little. So if you are going to pick this book for the same reason, please give it a miss.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sean Randall

    This is a vivid, sexually-charged stinger of a novel. Korea was new to me, but the atmosphere is electrifying, the powerful characters engaging and the totality of the work is quite majestic and very boldly written. Everyone has a bit of an agenda, and it's quite a thing to see the powerful characters using everyone else so ruthlessly. The penultimate chapter was a hitter, and there's plenty of material to make it worthy of a reread, too. I'd like to see the fallout of this one explored in future This is a vivid, sexually-charged stinger of a novel. Korea was new to me, but the atmosphere is electrifying, the powerful characters engaging and the totality of the work is quite majestic and very boldly written. Everyone has a bit of an agenda, and it's quite a thing to see the powerful characters using everyone else so ruthlessly. The penultimate chapter was a hitter, and there's plenty of material to make it worthy of a reread, too. I'd like to see the fallout of this one explored in future books for sure.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Goodfield

    Absolutely superb book....it is sci fi but it is only slightly different to todays world and seems really possible. Its the story of a girl who has esdcaped to the streets of Canada to live in Seoul with her abusive boyfriend who she then ditches and breaks out on her own. She meets a woman trying to create a Utopia based on cloned people and at first it seems to good to be true for Sydnee but she meets Brit boy who tries to enlighten her to the awful nature of the plans.Superbly written

  23. 4 out of 5

    Coz

    Loved it

  24. 5 out of 5

    Liv

    Tricky writing style to enjoy and the characters were hard to like.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    http://jolindsaywalton.blogspot.co.uk...

  26. 5 out of 5

    goliath888

    Strong start but sort of fizzles out in the end.

  27. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Burns

    I received a copy of this book from Quercus via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

  29. 4 out of 5

    Barry Goodsell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nessy

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