Target Audience: Young Adults/Adults
I'm likely to ramble by reviewing this because this book is simply amazing in so many different ways, albeit heartbreaking, tear-jerking and utterly gripping as well.
I found this book different to so many others i have read, in several ways. One of which was that the author revealed major things that happen before they occur by flicking across different points in time. This, in so many other novels, would probably ruin the plot, but in this it works, adding to the tension and drama as you know that ultimately Katherine will have a her world torn apart.
Another aspect that i found interesting was when the perspective changed and the main character was telling the story as if she was no longer part of herself, stressing how painful the event that occured was for her, that she had to distance herself. I noticed the tone change instantly, and it was one of the chapters that had me in tears.
The characters themselves were utterly compelling to follow, especially Katherine as we learn more about her past and her relationship with her sister and parents, both before and after her sisters death. I found it truly heartbreaking reading the recount of her sisters brutal death, and as i have younger sisters of my own, i found it even more horrifying to read what happened to Rachel. By the end of the novel i was awed at her resiliance, she endures heartbreak after heartbreak and in the end still takes a chance on love, and that i think is a very beautiful and hopeful message.
With regards to Alice, despite the fact she appears nice at the beginning i still got the impression she was up to something, but never imagined the conclusion that came about. The major plot twist surrounding her part just never even occured to me until it was revealed and i was stunned.
However, despite how evil she is, as a reader i am forced to admit a lot of it backfired. If Alice hadn't meddled, Katherine would never have met Phillipa, Mick or Robbie and she might never have been able to finally get through to her mother and repair their distant relationship. So, although Alice does destroy so much and is ultimately 'Evil' her actions do end up causing some good.
Having said that though, she did re-define evil for me and i was left gobsmacked at the levels to which she stooped on some occasions, i had no idea people could be so callous and cruel with such ease.
Although, it is important to bear in mind, Alice too was suffering and we get a sense of that, and even her victims realise this and end up pitying her rather than hating her in the end, and it makes you wonder, how many evil people could have been changed and saved from themselves if someone had simply tried to get through to them before they become a lost cause?
One things for sure, this novel will prompt you to consider some deep questions about the nature of good and evil, especially as Alice never seems to consider her actions as evil, more justified than anything else. I do feel compelled to warn readers, this book does contain some extremelly upsetting and disturbing events that will effect different people on different levels.
I cried my eyes out, i was shocked, horrified and yet oddly touched by some of the happier and beautiful aspects of the novel.
This isn't overall depressing and there is definately an expression of moving on and hope towards the end and at various points throughout. And to me, i got a sense of an overall message that life does go on, that we can choose to either give up or continue despite what happens to us, and we all have choices to make, but it is up to us what we make of them.
A truly eye-opening and touching novel from a very talented author.