Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.
Okay, ouch. That chapter end very reminiscent of a Stephen King novel and not such a happy visual. He definitely would have been better off being arrested for attempted break and enter.
Backing up a bit and looking at this chapter in order, not a lot happens and yet this kind of seems to be setting the scene for what is to follow.
Yoonbum is struck with the bat that we saw poised above him at the end of the last chapter and somehow in this moment, as he is crawling and scrambling to get away this is his thought:
It turned out the Sangwoo I knew wasn’t here.
It was kind of fascinating. Later he gets to the “I don’t want to die” mentality but in this initial phase he is thinking entirely about the target of his stalking and that sudden realisation that no matter how carefully he has watched and how much he knows about this man, Sangwoo, he doesn’t know who he actually is. During chapter 1 I had a mild moment of concern that they would try to justify stalking someone as a form of affection but they clearly didn’t in chapter 1 in the end and chapter 2 essentially slams the door on the possibility that this story is going to attempt to romanticise stalking someone.
That said, there are so many other areas for concern here is terms of where this relationship is heading and it will be interesting to see how these themes are developed and presented.
Anyway, after a whole bunch of knocks and things, Yoonbum actually manages to declare that he was in love with Sangwoo and he more or less apologises for bothering him. For a moment it seems like Sangwoo might accept that and they start heading up out of the basement and then Sangwoo knocks Yoonbum down the stairs knocking him out cold and injuring one of his legs. Definitely seems like Sangwoo likes playing mind games with people and watching Yoonbum go from desperate to having the fleeting moment of optimism before that hope is crushed underfoot is pretty brutal even as you remember he got himself into the mess he finds himeslf in.
Actually, despite all the violence and the dark themes being woven here, probably the only part of this that really raised flags for me and made me wonder where this was going, was the way Sangwoo treats the corpse of the woman (the one who was tied up last chapter). While it is very telling of Sangwoo’s character we already kind of had enough evidence of his character and this just seemed like an excuse to make the reader shudder. And that’s probably where the line is for me in terms of what I enjoy here and what makes me question why I’m reading it. The other acts of violence, agression, and the ground work being laid for Sangwoo to seriously mess with Yoonbum emotionally all feel necessary for the narrative that is being told, but the treatment of the corpse kind of felt like it was unnecessary and needlessly gratuitous.
Overall though, this has been a compelling introduction and even though it seems the road for the next part of the story is pretty locked in place, it’s kind of like a horror movie where you just have to watch it anyway and find out just how bad things can get. And then of course there’s the question of will anything change to make it better?
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