ARC Review: The Kingdom of the Gods by In-Wan Youn, Eun-Hee Kim & Kyung-Il Yang

The Kingdom of the GodsThe Kingdom of the Gods by In-Wan Youn
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Discover the comic that inspired the Netflix Original zombie series Kingdom!

Years of war and famine and have plunged Joseon into chaos. Young Prince Yi Moon, after losing all his bodyguards to an assassination attempt, has no choice but to turn to the mountain bandit Jae-ha for help. But as the unlikely pair race to find safety in a world gone mad, it becomes horrifyingly clear that humans aren’t the only thing they must fear!

In a bonus story, a secluded island becomes a private battlefield as the notorious Japanese criminal Juu and the infamous Korean felon Han face off against each other. But they aren’t the only ones on the island…

Warnings: body horror and gore; graphic violence; cannibalism

Note: not YA

The Kingdom of the Gods has two horror stories in a historical setting – one with zombies invasion in Joseon, and the other with a cannibal and a serial killer stuck on a deserted island. The first one is about a young prince, who escapes from the palace and is on the run from assassins, and asks a bandit to deliver him to a city where the physicians train. Said bandit is a former general or something, and through flashbacks we see the erosion of his loyalty from serving a cowardly king; he doesn’t put much stock in the aristocracy and agrees for 60 gold coins. The prince and he, in their journey there, have to pass through a village where death is in the air, and the living who are left have turned to cannibalism to survive. At night, though, the zombies rise, and they also have to fight off the assassins tracking them. Then they encounter a physician who saves them, and mends the bandit; she reluctantly agrees to take them to the city, where an even bigger secret holds it.

The second story is about a cannibal from Japan and a doctor with a penchant for dissecting bodies, from Korea, both being abandoned on a prison island where both countries dump their most fearsome prisoners. The cannibal arrives thinking he has a whole island of prisoners to fight off, but apparently the doctor has taken care of everyone else. While they can’t understand each other due to language barriers, they do understand the violence in the other, and they are then locked in a battle for killing the other off, until a year later when a pirate docks on the island, carrying a precious living cargo. These two then have to team up to defeat the pirate who has dabbled in occult practices making him and his cronies difficult to kill.

Okay, so both the stories have the problem with not having a satisfactory enough ending – both are left open-ended, and we don’t have much information about the ‘start’ of the first story to begin with, so the stories have to read like ‘oh so this is happening I guess’. The artwork has a lot of gore, and violence, obviously, but the second one goes a bit over-the-top with the depiction of it, practically gratuitous in the way it portrays the fight scenes between them.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Viz Media LLC, via Edelweiss.

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

Releases on May 19, 2020

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Kingdom of the Gods by In-Wan Youn, Eun-Hee Kim & Kyung-Il Yang

  1. I was immediately put off when you said it’s not YA 😂 I don’t know how you were able to make yourself read through this book but it sounds super grueling (but I’m super fascinated by how you were able to express all your mixed thoughts into this one review!)

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