In The Sister, Sung-Yoon Lee, a scholar of Korean and East Asian studies, makes a persuasive case that the younger sister of North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un would prove a fiercer and more ruthless Supreme Leader if she ever succeeds her brother. Kim Yo Jong burst onto the international political arena in 2018 as the first of the "Mount Paektu Bloodline" to officially step foot on South Korean soil since 1950. Beguiling the South Koreans with her mysterious charm and "Mona Lisa smirk-smile," Yo Jong's state visit signaled her preeminent role within Jong Un's regime as his most trusted representative.
Lee, leaning on a multitude of sources close to the Kim family (many of them defectors), provides the first real look at the elusive "First Sister," and it is not very nice: as her nation's chief of propaganda, Yo Jong has delivered vile, racist, and sexist comments about other world leaders, and even threatened South Korea with a nuclear weapon strike. For the past three years, Yo Jong has served as the nation's "chief censor, spokeswoman, mocker, and threat-and-malice dispenser," with Lee asserting that she reportedly ordered executions of high-ranking North Korean government officials for "getting on her nerves." Lee delivers an authoritative summary of the Kim siblings' working relationship, and their surprising success manipulating other countries for their own gain. The Sister is a fascinating study that will alarm, mesmerize, and horrify in equal measure. --Peggy Kurkowski, book reviewer and copywriter in Denver