“When you find yourself caught in a crazy system dreamed up by dangerous lunatics, you just do what you’re told.” ― Masaji Ishikawa, A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

Hello book royalists! Okay, so this is the second installment I have read since I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, and I am so happy and sad that I did so. Okay, I feel sad because this story is so raw and shocking, and happy because I was able to learn a lot of things! So, let’s see how it went!

This title is part of Kindle Unlimited, so if you are a member of that subscription, you can totally get it free with the audio narration, and if you are not, you can sign up here!



North Korea’s situation has always been a mystery for me and I believe that for a lot of people too. I remember reading World War Z and how all North Korea disappeared from the radar and nobody knew why or what happened with the population, and this highlighted the mystery for me. Politically and military speaking, North Korea has to be in the spotlight for its missile testing, communist philosophy, and the closure of the borders. Lately, the USA president and Kim Jong-un met, and then Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met which brings a little light of hope for those North Koreans that have suffered for so long.

We must not forget about all the people that have died trying to be free and those who have suffered from the day they were born to the day they died without knowing what is to be free.

I believed that I had had enough mystery in the topic and I found “A River in Darkness” by Masaji Ishikawa and I decided to give it a try. I devoured the book and all I wanted to do was to get back home and read all I could about that terrible story. The cruel and raw narration of Mr. Ishikawa’s memoir is an eye-opener, at least for me. I came to believe that it is indeed a franchise of hell on Earth where hunger, disgrace, poverty, human exploitation, and general blindness are the main rules of the place. Corruption is an intrinsic quality of humanity, and we can see how in the worse conditions, corruption survives and kindness perishes like the flowers in winter.

I have never been famished and have never seen someone’s life slipping through my fingers. I have never felt so desperate of giving up on life and paradoxically so desperate to cling to life for the sake of my family. I have been oblivious to all the basic commodities that I have to my access, and I find it extremely beautiful and incredibly sad how a normal ration of food for me can feed a family in North Korea for days. Mr. Ishikawa tells how he gave to the seagulls part of his rice as a desperate wish for that food to reach his dying and lost the legacy.

The phrase “count your blessings” is a message that I will share with all my readers. We might not be able to save Ishikawa’s family but we can be more conscious of what we have and how we use it. How we contribute to either the destruction of the planet or the protection of the same.

In regards to the narration, I loved how Brian Nishii either faked the Asian accent which, in my opinion, was priceless. Yes, I understand it is not an “Asian voice actor”, but his performance was great. He kept you engaged with the story and never ever made it sound monotonous.

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  1. Priyasha Avatar

    great review 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Satou Johns Avatar

      Thank you so much Priyasha!!! I am happy to see that you enjoy the review :3


  2. Kelly Brigid Avatar

    Lovely review! It’s great to hear that this story touched you so much! I’ll have to check it out! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Satou Johns Avatar

      Thank you very much for reading and checking it out! It was so rough and so good at the same time! You will read it super fast, I swear!

      Liked by 1 person

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