Friday, 12 February 2010

Review: Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace


Publisher: Andersen Press
Format: Paperback
Released: January 28th, 2010
Grade rating: A


Amazon summary:

Zimbabwe, 1980s. The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has come to power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and the start of a promising new era. For Robert Jacklin, it's all new: new continent, new country, new school. And very quickly he learns that for some of his classmates, the sound of guns is still loud, and their battles rage on ...white boys who want their old country back, not this new black African government. Boys like Ivan. Clever, cunning Ivan. For him, there is still one last battle to fight, and he's taking it right to the very top.

Review:

Out of Shadows is one of the best debut novels I've ever read. It's fantastically written, and has left me close to how I felt when I read The Book Thief for the first time. It's powerful and important, and at times horribly shocking. I sat there in stunned silence after reading one particular page, and had to take a minute to fully comprehend what had happened. That's strong writing, if ever I saw it.

Out of Shadows begins in 1983, a few years after the end of the Rhodesian Bush War (or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation). Robert Mugabe is now Prime Minister, and Zimbabwe is no longer ruled by white people. I hardly knew anything about this historical event before reading this book, and so once again I was given a history lesson. It's very interesting, and is the first time I've come across this setting in a YA book.

Robert Jacklin is a very likeable character for most of the book, and I'm so glad it's written in the first person. He started off as an unassuming 13-year-old, and grew into a strong, decent man right before my eyes. He has more tough decisions to make and bad choices to live with than anyone that age should, but each shapes his life and who he becomes. His friends are a less desirable bunch, and though I see why Robert was so eager to be part of their group, things would have been vastly different if he'd stayed well away.

At times chilling and dark, yet strangely hopeful, Out of Shadows is one of those books that I know I'll revisit in the future. I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it, and am finding it hard to get it out of my head. I can't recommend it highly enough, and I hope it eventually gets the recognition and praise it deserves.

12 comments:

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Thank you for the wonderful review. It's so great to hear that the book has stayed with you - there's no higher praise, eh? Fantastic.

julie said...

Great review! You made me want to read the book!

Shweta said...

What an awesome review.. I am adding it to my wishlist.

Melissa said...

Brilliant review. I think that the words staying with you is the best you could possibly say for any book :)

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

Out of Shadows is one of the best debut novels I've ever read. It's fantastically written, and has left me close to how I felt when I read The Book Thief for the first time.

That is some serious high praise. Unfortunately it seems like over here I don't get this novel until March (ToT) but it's on my to-read list. =D

Lea said...

Amazing review! I haven't heard of this one until now, but it sounds incredible. :)

Ladybug said...

I think I need to read this book, excellent review! Added to my wishlist on Goodreads :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, though I don't really think it's one for me.

Anonymous said...

Was recommended this book as the author is a friend of a friend - truly great writing and totally compelling. In fact I stayed up till 3am finishing it last night...

Anonymous said...

Sounds promising!

Bernard Atkinson said...

Pretty good post, this is one of the best articles that I have ever seen !
business website

Edward Dowdell said...

Thanks for such a wonderful information I am looking forward to read your informative post.
----------------------------------
Pay Dissertation