This was a very engrossing read.
I did take issue with a couple things in the first few pages (you can read my complaints in the status updates). But after that, things got better. This is a quick read and it goes by so quickly because it has the pacing of a novel. It's pretty informative, too. Although the author doesn't use footnotes or references, she does have a section where she goes chapter by chapter for background information. Not QUITE as good as actual citations, but then again my personal motto is "power to the people, with clearly cited references as the vehicle."
I've read one other book about North Korea, which was [b:North Korea: Another Country|38491|North Korea Another Country|Bruce Cumings|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328752649s/38491.jpg|38256]. I still have my copy and it is full full full of post-its and notes. I didn't make a single note in this book. It's not that interesting information wasn't presented--quite the contrary--but as I said before, it was more a novelistic journey.
One thing that I found kind of annoying was jumping back and forward in time and between people. One minute it's 1990 and you're with Mrs. Song and the next it's 1999 and you're with Mi-ran. It was kind of aggravating. Also a lot of reviewers are saying she didn't use 'hyperbole.' Well maybe not but she did take 'poetic license' with some things. I'd roll my eyes every now and then at some of the things she'd say. "Deep down, Mi-ran is actually xyz cliche..." Sure okay whatever lady.
So overall quality I'd probably give this book 3 stars but for how well it kept my interest it was like 5+. So I guess I'll settle on a four-star rating. It's worth the read but fell short for me sometimes.