In the tradition of The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a tale of sleepless nights and present day haunting, giving voice to the horrors of the Holocaust and the nature of persecution.
I've started to have dreams while I'm awake. I remember music I've never heard. . . . I've got all this extra stuff in my head, but I'm forgetting things in my own life. I feel like I'm being taken over.
One fallen angel walks the earth to bring mankind to its destruction, turning love into hate, forgiveness into blame, and hope into despair. Through the fires of hell he will come to torment one girl's dreams. Every time Cassie Farrier tries to sleep, she is plagued by visions of a death: A little girl called Zillah. A victim of the holocaust. In desperation Cassie is sent for treatment in an old manor house. There she meets other children just like her. Including Seth, who looks so familiar. Her dream becomes a nightmare—and then reality.
This stunning debut from a talented young author contains controversial and thoughtful themes that teenagers can relate to, including bullying and victimization in a contemporary and historical context. With its mix of mythology, fantasy, and real-life terror, this is a book unlike any other.
First things first is the plot. And to be honest I wasn’t really impressed. It was imaginative and original with a storyline that sounded so promising but while I can’t say it was farfetched (excluding the angel parts (that’s not a spoiler by the way because just look at the title...)) it didn’t fit together properly, in my opinion and that killed it for me. The brainwashing of young minds was disturbing but I was always trying to connect it to the title and synopsis, until I actually figured out what was going on and what would happen next at which point I had lost a lot of my original interest.
The idea of reincarnation was I think what kept me reading (and the hope something dramatic would happen because of it). The idea of past lives filled with atrocities including murder; catching up to the present is enthralling. Especially the way they can twist the person into half versions of themselves and half the evils of their past so they lead lives that they otherwise wouldn’t have. You were always wondering how much the past had taken over each person so there was a dark atmosphere following the events in this novel.
The characters on the other hand were really great most of the time. They all had a lot of hidden depth including the main protagonist Cassie. She is barely functioning and tired, but not just because of her lack of sleep. The nightmares are taking their toll on her body and spirit and when she uses books as her way of escape you can relate to her in a way I haven’t found I could in the last few book protagonists I’ve read about. Even with this though there could have been better relationships developed, between her and the other characters, and more emotion other than the usual tiredness.
Pearce’s writing was very basic and that’s why it didn’t make me feel as emotionally involved as I like to be in a book and its characters. Even with a great idea behind it, it lacked the execution that leads to a thrilling story. I understand other people love it (just look at the amount of positive reviews) but in my head I was always saying “it would be better if...”
“My heart stops beating as it breaks.”
“What’s the point in gaining the world if we lose our souls?”
“The colours around me seemed to brighten, and the breeze lifted the singed ends of my hair. I turned my face into the wind and smiled.”