E penguara: Requiem për Linda B. - Ismail Kadaré Citlalli and her family have come to South Korea to join their mother after their oldest sister, Marisol, disappeared after slowly weakening over a long period.In Seoul they face many difficulties acclimatising and fitting in with the culture around them – and they have not achieved the safety they sought. Raina, Citlalli’s sister starts to fall prey to the same symptoms as MarisolDesperate not to lose another sister, and frustrated by medicine’s inability to cure her, Citlalli pursues more and more mystical avenues to find an answer – and finds far more than she imagined. Ghosts and spirits, creatures of legend – and vampires, slow, life draining vampires and their enemies, the werewolves.She’s in over her head and she needs to learn quickly – but Citlalli is determined that the vampire queen will not take another of her sisters, no matter what she must do to stop her.When this story started I found it incredible disjointed and confusing. The chronology moves back and forth – we see Citlalli in the past coming to South Korea interspaced, lots of flashback that has happened to her and her family interspaced with the present. They’re not clearly labelled, we don’t always know if we’re in the past or the present and I found it extremely confusing and really not to my taste. It was a real pain for me and there was a moment when I nearly put the book down because it was too much work to follow it.This part of the book also coincides with a very long preamble to the story. There’s foreshadowing to the supernatural, but it is just foreshadowing and it feels like an extremely long run up to the actual meat of the story. It’s frustrating and, again, made it a hard book to get into and tempted me to stop.But once you get past that original barrier, the book opens up considerably. Not only does it improve, but it improves sufficiently that it is more than worth battling past that beginning shakiness, because it opens up into a truly original and excellent story that is definitely worth a read.The story itself draws heavily on Korean mythology and elements of east-Asian mythology and beliefs. I can’t venture to say how accurate it was or how well it got it or how much different traditions were mixed up – or even what were western inserts – because I’m not nearly well versed enough to make that judgement. I will say that there was a sense of considerable research- places were named, streets were named, areas were referred to, there was a lot of use of the Korean language (and the little I knew seemed accurate, same goes to the relatively small elements of mythology I recognised) but all of this comes from a place of profound ignorance on my part. I can’t say if it was authentic, only that there was a definite amount of research going on.Read More