A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.
Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.
It took me a little while to get into this book, mostly due to the writing style. I struggled a bit with the accent of the dialogue and all the run-on sentences. I understand that both of these were deliberate, but they did make it a bit harder to read.
It was around the 30% mark that I started getting interested in the story and the characters. I particularly liked the character of Lamby, as he had a certain childish innocence and playfulness about him, even though he’d been through a lot. The main character, Trey, was a little harder to like. His obsession with revenge and all his talk about this inner demon got rather tedious after awhile. After that settled down, I really enjoyed the ending, where he came to realise the futility of holding on to the awful things in his past, and instead focused on the future; I think there is a great lesson in that.
It was hard for me to decide on a rating for this book. I enjoyed how the story developed in the second half, and if it was just up to that, I would have rated it a solid 4 stars. However, I can’t ignore the fact that the writing style was a little challenging to read through. It took me quite a while to get used to it, so I didn’t really enjoy the beginning; it nearly made me not want to continue reading. Thankfully, I did push on.
If I were to read this book again, I would no doubt enjoy it more, as I would already be accustomed to Carthew’s particular style of storytelling. Overall, I think this is quite a good novel and has a nice non-traditional coming-of-age feel about it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*