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The Beautiful Dead

A Tale of K-Pop, Ghosts, and Nine-Tailed Fox Women
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

A lonely Korean pop star learns her high school classmate died five years ago. So, why are they still texting?

Yubin knows she's different than the other girls in the pop group SIITY. Yes, they all got sucked into the same machine, giving up schooling and signing ridiculously long contracts with no guarantee of success, but that's how Korean stars are made. Yubin is supposed to be thankful for that, but she isn't. She doesn't even like the girls she performs with.

She's more connected to her former schoolmate Jieun, even though all they ever do is text. Over the last two months, Jieun has become her confidant and best friend, connecting Yubin to the real world in a way she desperately needs. Now that SIITY is going to appear on the reality show Incredible Race: Asia, Yubin will need that connection more than ever, which is why she's devastated to discover Jieun has been dead five years and is actually haunting her.

If that weren't enough, Yubin's not the only SIITY member with issues. Rena's father is emotionally abusive. Somi has a learning disability, and after a near death experience, Tae-eun becomes a nine-tailed fox woman. The only way they'll survive the show, each other, and the supernatural currents buffeting them is to work together and win the hearts of their fans. Because if they don't, they have nothing to go back to even if they survive what's trying to kill them.

©2017 Jun Prince (P)2017 Jun Prince

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  • Deedra
  • United States
  • 30-11-18

The Beautiful Dead

Korean pop stars sometimes are friends,sometimes aren't.They don't know as much about each other as one would think.As it turns out,some have overbearing dads,shapshifting grandmas,entertain ghosts or want to go to college.More of a YA tale,this is a really good book with a lot of twists and turns. Amy Landon was the perfect narrator. I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A refreshing take on paranormal fantasy

Now here’s the void in my reading life that I didn’t realise I had! K-pop paranormal drama.

Prince is an amazing writer, she gave each character their own distinctive voices and personalities which, though I didn’t really like them all, made them a pleasure to listen to/read.
Yubin, one of the main character, is an empath and presumably one of the characters we should like the most but I didn’t like her mentality at all – she openly admits to herself that she doesn’t socialise with her bandmates or anyone else because they’re not worth her time and she’s superior to them. Yeeeesh, even if she does get better over time I’m not a huge fan of her attitude.

Her bandmates all have their own issues going on, both supernatural and real-world. I really liked the fact that Somi, one of the bandmates, has ADHD and only has partial hearing which are both presented as character traits rather than exploited or used as a cheap plot device.

It’s funny that I could really empathise with all of the characters apart from the empath!

In terms of violence and action, this book starts off with mild supernatural content and then works its way up to a wonderfully violent conclusion, with some mild gore, which I really enjoyed. These young women are finally starting to bond when they find out the have the weird and wonderful in common. You get to meet shapeshifters, magic, poltergeists and psychic powers which are presented in a way you may not have read before.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story and Amy Landon did a brilliant job of narrating, she does a variety of different character voices with Korean accents and does so convincingly and without overdoing it (a pet hate of mine). Her reading voice is both interesting and relaxing which I enjoyed. This is an 11.5 hour audiobook and I listened to it in long chunks without any loss of attention!

Fingers crossed there’ll be another book out with these characters but I’ll be waiting for the audio to get the full effect.

**Thank you to the author for a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest and unbiased review**

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rabid Reader
  • 04-01-18

Unusual and entertaining

I really enjoyed this entertaining and unusual audiobook. The unique storyline easily draws you in and takes you into a world of pop idols, ghosts, empaths, vampires and nine tail foxes. I knew nothing of the Korean k-pop culture before listening to this book and I found that fascinating in itself, as well as it having a great storyline. The story is told from various individual POVs, showing the thoughts, fears, insecurities and emotions of each character with a few unexpected twists mixed in. I loved that all his idols were not model perfect and that he showed some of the nastier side of show business too. The narrator did an excellent job. She brought out the unique personalities and gave the characters individual voices. Her clear delineation of characters helped me greatly, as I did struggle a little with the various names at first, but that speaks more to my lack of knowledge of Asian names than it does the writing or the narration. This is an unusual and very enjoyable story and I will look forward to other books by this author in the future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Suji K.
  • 04-01-18

Dark, Fun, and Paranormal

If you could sum up The Beautiful Dead in three words, what would they be?

Dark (by K-Pop standards), Fun, Paranormal

What other book might you compare The Beautiful Dead to and why?

Easier to say what it's not like.. It may take place in Korea, but this story isn't like a Korean drama. It's a lot darker, exploring the ugly side K-Pop industry (exploitation - sexual and otherwise), that I haven't seen in any K-Dramas - I love this about this book. I do like K-Pop and Dramas, but in books I prefer stories that are a bit edgier and/or sinister.

The supernatural elements remind me of the World of Darkness if anyone reading is familiar with it because the world touches on several different creature types (Psychics, Ghosts, Shapeshifters - as protagonists, Ghosts, Vampires, bad humans - as antagonists).

Have you listened to any of Amy Landon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Amy does an awesome job with the the characters. Each sounds unique, and she infuses a lot of emotion into the darker storyline (Tae-Eun), and humor into the light ones (Somi, fox grandma).

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

That's not a fair question because I only cry once every couple of years. I laughed out loud several times, and I did feel sad for some of the other characters.

Any additional comments?

It starts off a little slow (first 45 minutes or so), but after that learning about each singer's personality is really enjoyable. The pacing speeds up as the story progresses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MScottFiona
  • 03-01-18

A Suspenseful K-Pop Supernatural Novel

Would you listen to The Beautiful Dead again? Why?

I definitely would. It was a great story to listen to and I found myself re-listening to some of the chapters. The characters were so interesting and well developed. I enjoyed listening to Amy Landon read this novel. She was a great fit for the characters.

What did you like best about this story?

The unique main characters. The girls in the group SIITY are all forced to deal with many different struggles that many listeners will be able to identify with. They all face relatable challenges and each of the girls has an interesting and intriguing back story. Prince does a terrific job in developing each character so the reader feels connected and drawn in to each of their stories.

Which character – as performed by Amy Landon – was your favorite?

Somi was my favorite. She is the character most unlikely to be a pop star. She has a funny sense of humor and manages her disability in an admirable way. She's got a great deal of personality and wit.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed many times at the sarcasm and clever dialogue. But I liked the suspense and action sequences a lot. It kept me interested all the way through. I also had a reaction to the cool supernatural characters! Many WOW moments throughout the novel. Very creative. Strange, clever and unusual creatures are among the many well crafted components of the spirit world Prince presents.

Any additional comments?

This story possesses the elements of tragedy, humor, fantasy, conflict, and love all woven together in a masterful way. I hope this is the beginning of a series of books by Prince.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tory Wilson
  • 09-06-19

Really enjoyable listen.

This is the first book I've listened to by this author as well as this narrator and I didn't really know what I was getting into. The book took a little while to get into due to my listening scheduled but it takes at least a few chapters to get into the book and a few more before you start to really distinguish between the characters and their points of view despite their names being listed at the beginning of each chapter. Once you've started to see the differences in the characters you also start to pick up on the narrators subtleties in all of the characters voices and realize just what a fantastic job both she and the author did with the character creation. The story is largely a paranormal slice of life (if that wasn't a thing it is now.) with exciting scenes and some action to keep the story interesting. There aren't really any pacing issues but there some short time skips however they are used in a comfortable way because you know not every day in someone's life will be interesting even if they are idols. The story is told primarily from a first person point of view and I didn't really feel any points that were disjointed or would remove me from the story. All of the characters are interesting and most have pretty fleshed out back stories but the one I think was the most well done and was who had the chapters I enjoyed the most was Moon Somi. Overall I really enjoyed this and would give it a 4.4/5 The story was enjoyable and unexpected and the narrator has a fantastic voice. I really hope the author resumes this series at some point and that more people pick it up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David cohen
  • 29-03-19

Impulse buy that was worth it

This story was off my regular beaten path but other recent books that I normally wouldn't have read in the past have turned out to be good.
I really liked the character inter action with each other and the steady buildup to the end. It wasnt unrealistic to imagine the way the story unfolds. It has a good conclusion to the end (not a cliffhanger) but does leave with a foreshadow that makes me want the next book asap.
The story covers some adult themes that are handled pretty tastefully (unfortunately real to life) but it also shows throughout the book how through growing friendships and understanding it can become a bond that can strengthen both the individual and the friendships.
I'm considering putting this on my allowed list for my youngest daughter (teen). I think it makes it clear that no matter who you are you aren't alone. you just need to confide in someone and not hold onto painfully secrets. I hope this gets what I'm trying to say across, I'm not the review type.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren
  • 21-06-18

I loved every part of this

The narration was great, the story excellent and the characters relatable. I would suggest this for anyone who loves kpop, drama, stories about female friendship and the paranormal. I laughed so often and found myself really caring about these girls by the end of the story. I can't wait to read/listen to more by this author and about these characters!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ronald Shaw
  • 09-02-18

Girl Power?! Girls with Powers? Girl Powers?!

This book is a sweet onion. It has many layers, and just when you think it's going to get stinky on you, something unexpected and / or amazing happens. This book is complex and draws a lot upon cultural relevance. So I would suggest having Google, your favorite source of Korean drama, anime, or Asian supernatural lore handy.

The story follows the current existences of 5 girls, and peeks into their pasts. The relationships between them are far from what they seem on the surface as none of them shares everything about themselves. The narrator also differentiates well as the point of view jumps from girl to girl. This can get really crazy when several of them are near each other.

The author does a great job with explanations, so even if you know nothing about Asian culture, you won't be lost or confused. However the school life, the idol life, and the entertainment industry in Korea is vastly different than in other countries, like America. The best way that I can personally describe it is Ramen. Anyone who has seen boxes of the little packs knows what Ramen is in general... Noodles with seasoning. However anyone who has sat down at a true Ramen stall or restaurant, where the Ramen chef puts pride and skill into making sure every bowl is up to their personal standards, knows what Ramen is Supposed to be like! That is what this book is, good for everybody, better for those who have had exposure to the culture. Following that line of thinking, I can't wait to slurp up the next book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
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  • dtamayob
  • 07-02-18

A dark and eccentrically magical world of K-Pop

The Beautiful Dead: A Tale of K-Pop, Ghosts, and Nine-Tailed Fox Women is a unique novel that exposes the chaotic and dark world of Korean K-Pop and reality TV, while interweaving the unnatural world of Korean ghosts and supernatural creatures. While it may seem an eccentic mix, it totally works to allow us, the readers, to view the star's lives both from the girls' perspectives, and from the wider perspective of the creatures of the ether.

We meet the four members of the girl K-pop group SIITY -- Yubin, Tae-eun, Rena and Somi -- each of whom has her own set of struggles stemming from the regimented cultivation of their pop stardom. A jealous ghost, Jieun, imposes herself into their crowded and lonely lives, and at times helps them survive exploitation, manipulation, insecurities, and, above all, loneliness. Some scenes are dark and unnerving, others are playful and lighthearted, and all of them tug at your heartstrings.

"They were all in it together. Together, they could all savor success. They all labored under the same exhaustion. It was therefore a shame she felt so alone."

Each girl's challenges are totally relatable -- they are so easy to visualize, since the writing is creative and colorful -- and we ache to see them survive this off-kilter life each has chosen (or been bullied) to live.

As for the Audible version of this book, you're in for a pleasant surprise! Amy Landon does a superb job with the Korean names, words, exclamations and accents. As unfamiliar as I was with the Korean culture, especially with K-Pop, I was relieved to hear her navigate it so skillfully for me.

I do not know if this is a standalone novel, or if it might be the beginning of a series, but I would love to read more about these wonderfully flawed girls and delve deeper into Korean culture and mythology with them.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful