This book was so,,,,,underwhelming????? That's the only way that I can think of putting it, I don't know if it was just me but I was expecting something completely different from what actually happened. I don't even know what exactly I was expecting it just wasn't, that.
In terms of writing, there wasn't anything terrible about the writing itself or the style. It wasn't purple prose or anything, it was suitably descriptive it's just the content itself. I'm not gonna lie it was pretty boring until the last maybe 100 pages of the book and by that point, I was already skimming but I got the general gist of what happened.
I think my biggest problem with this was that the suspense dragged on for too goddamn long. It should not have dragged on until deadass the middle of the book before we found out what the fuck Dai was talking about with his angst and stuff. THAT'S TOO LONG FOR A BOOK THAT IS PAINFULLY SLOW AND BORING.
Stuff simultaneously happens throughout the book with also absolutely nothing happening at all,,,,,if that makes any sense. I know that there were some things that went on but they lacked lustre and didn't really stand out from the other parts of the story. Everything was pretty much treated in the same tone as everything else so even if something was important it wouldn't stand out in your memory when you thought back on it.
The romance was stupid it has no solid foundation, it wasn't really based on anything necessary for a relationship? Everything happened literally just because Mei Yee was pretty which just further goes to show how far pretty privilege will get you in this world.
And the thing is, there was a story being told one hundred percent but I don't feel as if I read a proper story. I see the beginning, the climax, and denouement and all that good stuff, but it doesn't actually feel like I read a novel, it reads like someone's really boring diary.
I know Hak Nam was based on Kowloon Walled City and as I'm sure the history of Kowloon Walled City is interesting, I feel like the content of this story would've been better if it had just been a collection of stories from people who had actually lived in Kowloon City instead of the fictional story that the author actually created.
And I think probably the biggest thing that affected my reading of this book was that I'm just not really in a heavy mood to be dealing with the content that was in this book, especially considering the current political and social climate and how content such as prostitution and rape are being handled in modern times. I just feel so drained from reading news article after news article every day of another woman stepping forward with how she was raped that I just don't have any left to deal with it in a book.
So all in all, it's not a terrible book, I'm just not in the reading mood for it at the moment (and even if I was in the mood for it, I don't think my opinion would change all that much, it's just not my type of book).