So I really should be outside making the most of the current few days of British summer that we rarely have here in Newcastle, but I just spent all of yesterday reading it and now want to review!
The concept of this book would have made it five stars if the writing had of been to a higher standard (not saying it was particularly bad) and also had it not been for the amount of typos, grammatical errors and the rushed ending.
Firstly, I'm one of those people who gets easily put off a book by its grammatical errors, because it comes across to me as unprofessional and it tends to draw me out of the book making it less engaging for me. Based on this fact alone, I would normally rate a book 2.5*/3* however I really did love the ideas, characters and message conveyed by this story.
I have to thank the girls in one of the group discussion that I'd set for TSoT because I had no intentions of reading this because the cover and blurb didn't interest me, however, the girls were adamant about me reading it so I gave it a try. When I read someone else's review of this where they briefly explained some of the books concept and plot, that's when I was really taken.
I'll tell you what I liked:
Mmmm-Mmmmmm Damn! He reminds me of Gale from the Hunger Games and I bloody love me some Gale type characters ;)
2) Sophie. I hated her at the start and that's what I admired about how the author wrote this book. Instead of having the all too common endearing, angelic and innocent thinking character with a light conscience, Sophie was a bitch. Not just a bitch, she was far worse. I loved her journey, her character development and her redemption.
3) The other heart warming characters, especially Karina; she reminded me of a lovely lady I once knew :)
4) The depictions of the scenes in Uganda. They were subtle but visually effective and not overly described to becoming mundane.
5) The book somewhat bring awareness of the real life situation of Joseph Kony and the LRA in Uganda, and allows the reader to sympathize with the poor Ugandans.
Now the things that kept me from giving 5 stars:
1) The typos (already explained)
2)The ending. The epilogue and ending in general was just a bit too peachy for my taste and far too rushed, availing little conclusion.
3) I wish the book had of been longer! I feel like it should be because firstly, Sophie's past life took up a relatively large fraction of the book; I think it was 20% of the story.
Secondly, I feel like there should have been a few more chapters in the book that were about Sophie working in the orphanage, changing her ideas and being accepted by Ian and the other characters because to me, that was a bit too sudden and undeveloped. The growing of the relationships are what I think need expanding because they were too abrupt. Example: One second, Ian loathes Sophie (or at least acts like it), then out of the blue, he's completely enamored by her and can't stop fussing around her.
Also, another example of this that I feel I need to add, are the time gaps in the story that which I think should have been filled because they had the potential to cover what I said in my previous point about the dynamics of character relationships. I disagree with the author's choice in having significantly large and important time periods and possible events out of the book. I mean like after Sophie's first couple of days in the orphanage she knew no one and hated the position she was in, then suddenly, a couple of relatively important weeks later, she's all happy-dappy and hugging the life out of Mercy like they're best friends. We don't even get to know about Mercy so what da hell was the all about? (I don't actually talk like 'da'). At that point I was a little frustrated, feeling like I've missed out on a lot and I couldn't stop myself from saying "What? WHAT?! What Da?!".
Overall, I did completely LOVE reading this and couldn't put it down, so I'd definitely recommend it. It was such a nice change to read some nice Y/A prose as a change to my usual stuff but I can't help but feeling like I should still currently be reading it because such a good concept for a book deserves a lot more creative development and for the journey/adventure to just be longer really.