A Paranormal Thriller
by K.J. Kwon
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 15 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2021
Since the day I declined my boss' sexual advance, all hell has broken loose.
She has abused me with impossible assignments during our work day and haunts me as a vicious spirit at night.
I am losing my mind. I am constantly seeing my boss transforming into a vicious spirit.
Desperate to set myself free, I pay her a visit with a final plan...but even my extreme measure doesn’t provide a way out..
Maybe there is a world of demons hidden just beneath the surface of everyday life.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 26 members
Coming in with only 156 pages this was a very short read. I felt like the story was weird but interesting. I defiantly needed to continue reading to know what was happening and going to happen. This book takes you on a ride that makes you dizzy.
A quick read about the boss you never want to have and just can't get away from. Love Asian-based horror, demons, and shamans, and family traditions. This was a fun read, definitely recommended.
A strange little tale that is not what I would call a thriller nor a horror. What it would do is make a good little black and white anime where the visuals would tell the tell. I think there is a moral tale to tell but is it his or his handsy boss?
Thank you NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for me to review. The Bully is a short read based in Korea. This is a descriptive book, I could put myself in the story- smells & surroundings are beautifully written. The author skipped many years so it was hard to connect with the characters. I honestly have no idea what the point of this story was so I’m not sure what the takeaway was supposed to be. Trigger warning for suicide and mental abuse.
A very strange read to begin with. Our protagonist wants to make it big in the corporate world, bags a new job, but his life takes some vicious turns. His 'boss' is a devil, throws sexual advances towards him, and after his refusal, has burdened him with more work. To top it all, she even haunts him at nights. Whatever the author was trying to achieve, the book fell flat for me. The plot has some loose ends, the writing could have been crisp, and it could have been a better read. Quite disappointed.
So I read this book fairly recently and I was sorely disappointed by the lack of development and the way the story didn't hit the mark it should have. Its a short read which may be why the characters are so poorly developed but this story really needed more time to unfold and figure out what it was because I found myself confused for a large portion. Both main characters are far too ambiguous and strange which can be great in some stories but this time it did not work in the author's favor.
A very strange book, pulls you in, chews up you up and spits you out. Very quick to read, mixture of working for a nightmare boss and some shaman action thrown in for good measure. You never really fully understand what is going on but I liked it. It could have been a bit longer and the ending could have been expanded upon.
The book fell flat for me. I didn't like any characters in it, and the story seemed muddled. I realize there was some hints of horror elements, but overall not for me.
He left a childhood in a poor village for the big city and a dream job. The office building is tall, shiny and impressive. His boss is a beautiful woman....tall, shiny and impressive. She constantly has him on edge. He's wonderful...he's stupid....she wants knows he'll do well here....he's a lost cause....he's so strong....he smells bad. She's the bully of bullies and maybe even worse. If a guy says "my boss is the devil" you think he's joking. What if it's not a joke? Great lore-based story set in Korea. Thank you #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #TheBully
Ermmmmm I'm not really sure what I have just read. I wasn't a horror or a thriller the only good thing I found about it was how short and quick it was. Left me scratching my head tbh
So beautifully written I stayed up half the night to finish it. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Bully is a short book, following a young Korean man's struggle in a workplace. He's come from a small village to a big city to make money to support his family. The only problem? His boss is evil. She treats him horrendously, and we begin to wonder if she's even of this earth. The Bully is weird. At its heart, it's a book about a nice man being taken advantage of time after time. It's infuriating. Alongside the nastiness, there is also an element of the supernatural, which for me, is slightly underdone. I liked the story, and it is really well written, but I personally feel it is a little too short. I read it in one sitting, which is both a testament to Kwon's abilities, while also being evidence of its size. I just feel that if the book was longer, Kwon could have given more. I would have liked further chapters on the supernatural things that happened. I'd definitely recommend this, and I hope the author writes more! Thanks to K.J. Kwon, NetGalley, and KJ Books for this advanced copy.
This book is too brief to do the plot justice. While an interesting premise, it was hard to get to know the characters or to become engaged in the context. It’s an interesting idea and one which perhaps could be built upon further.
One of the things that made the bully refreshing was that it was a #metoo workplace story, only where the man was being harassed and the woman was the boss on a power trip. Sometimes having a story like this with the most common gender roles in reverse can make some of the dynamics that get played out more obvious. Also, it serves as a reminder that ANY GENDER can be the victim or perpetrator of harassment. But then the component of a ghost possibly being a part of the harassment made it more fun. And seeking the help of a shaman really made this feel more like a supernatural thriller. It was also a plus that being a novella I was able to read it in one setting.
If there is one universal truth it’s that we all have to work. From off-the-grid farmers to the children of wealthy socialites, no one is exempt from some form of labor. Some people find fulfillment in their jobs, but it’s much more common for an individual to have simply made a truce with the concept of employment. The sad fact of the matter is if you want to survive, you’re going to need money. And the way to make money is to work. But what happens when the money you’re bringing in isn’t enough? What do you do when what you’re capable of achieving is constantly getting overlooked? These existential capitalist fears are at the center of K.J. Kwon’s new novella The Bully. In The Bully, a young man from a small town lands a plush gig at a highly regarded marketing firm in Seoul. At first, things look pretty rosey. His boss seems kind, and the work looks like it will be both creative and rewarding. But things start to fall apart when he decline’s his boss’s sexual advances. Soon, he’s missing deadlines and making major blunders in presentations, all carefully orchestrated by his vindictive direct report. Unfortunately for this young marketing associate, gaslighting becomes the least of his worries as he begins to be haunted by an otherworldly presence. Is his boss somehow behind it? Or are the grueling hours and endless due dates finally taking their toll? Toxic work environments can feel like a nightmare, and K.J. Kwon’s The Bully takes that traumatic situation to a supernatural level. Terms like “Kafkaesque” have been used so often to describe fiction that its meaning has all but dissolved. And yet, the term fit’s Kwon’s book to a tee. The Bully’s protagonist struggles forward in a world of constantly shifting deadlines and priorities guided by an increasingly illogical set of rules laid out by manager Dabin. She is the quintessential “psycho boss” who hides her cruelty from higher ups with soft smiles and quiet reassurances while gathering a pound of flesh from her subordinates behind closed doors. It’s not just Kwon’s villain that fits the Kafka-style archetype either. The loose, dreamlike descriptions leave the reader in a kind of setting purgatory. Is our hero still at the office? Or, has he traveled home at some point? One moment he’s sitting at his desk; the next Dabin is closing the door to her office behind him. It’s as if the character is forever simultaneously in two places at once—a feeling many in the workforce know well. While the focus of The Bully is supernatural, it’s what Kwon has to say about modern work culture that is truly terrifying. A person needs money to live, and they get that money through employment. Once that structure is set into place, a worker’s boss has complete control over their lives. As long as they care about their job, there’s nothing they can do but obey. Of course, when you’re not in a toxic situation it can be hard to understand why someone wouldn’t just leave. But it’s never that easy, is it? Lovers of the macabre are well versed in the frights that ghosts and demons can bring. But K.J. Kwon’s The Bully shows us that the 9-to-5 can be just as petrifying.
This book held no appeal for me. It may be that I am unfamiliar with South Korea and its culture but I didn't like the characters and I felt lost reading much of this. Much of the time the book felt like it muddled reality with nightmare and you weren't sure what was real and what wasn't, even if it was all real it didn't feel that way. The combination of horror, paranormal, and social issues were all thrown together and the book was too short to really figure out what was going on.
The Bully has me torn. It's my first paranormal thriller and on starting the book I was loving the story, poor boy made good and the family dynamic that he's trying to please everyone and help his family. The bulling by his boss was believable and well handled by the author. The paranormal angle I wasn't buying as it's too far fetched but as a novel, I have to say I enjoyed the read.
A mystery thriller that will leave you questioning everything you think you knew. Dark and sinister. This is a thriller at it's most thrilling. The boss in this story is the worst ever and what's even worse than that is, she can get away with it.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book. I really enjoyed this one and read it in one day. Look forward to much more by this author.
This one was definitely the more stranger of the short stories that I have read. I won't say that it was much developmentally for me nor will I say that this was the most exciting read of my life, but it was pleasant and I would recommend it for people who really just want to kill time with a quick read.
A quick read and finished in one sitting. The book follows the main character throughout his workplace and as the title suggests we also find the bully who is picking on the protagonist however this book also includes a supernatural twist which makes you wonder what is actually going on. Also something to note is that this book is set in Korea and includes a lot of the Korean culture in the supernatural aspect
The Bully immediately lured me in with its synopsis. My favorite kind of horror involves demons, so if a novel, movie, or TV show has them in it, I'm there in a flash. They are by far the scariest supernatural beings to me. This story takes us to South Korea where the main character has just found a new job in the city and thinks he's landed the job of his dreams. But his life quickly becomes a nightmare when his female boss begins making unwanted sexual advances toward him. After rejecting her, his boss sets out to destroy his life, and I wondered if there would be anything left of him to continue working. She's so successful in her quest to torture him, it leaves him wondering if she's literally from hell. I know I got whiplash from how she'd praise him one minute, then tear him down the next, psychologically tormenting him. The Bully has an intriguing idea at its core. I liked being unsure of what was real and what wasn't. The ability to write that way is something I've always envied because it takes skill to be subtle. This is a short read, and I recommend reading it in one sitting if you can because then you get the full effect of the situation escalating out-of-control and the desperation, panic, and terror of the main character. When I finished reading, I became torn on what to rate this. While the idea was a good one, I wanted more of the supernatural but not necessarily a longer book. I'm having a hard time articulating exactly what it was that led to my three-star rating. I'm trusting the gut feeling I have on this one.