I’m still struggling with this book, to be honest. It’s definitely 5 stars, don’t get me wrong. It’s just so hard because it was such an emotional journey. I knew the outcome before I read it (from guessing) so I was prepared for everything this book threw at me, yet I still found myself clinging to hope that it would be different.
The book starts off with a bang where Annika, the protagonist and her family are entering the labor camp. It doesn’t take long for them to be separated. And then, after very little time, Annika finds herself the only living family member. It hit me all at once and I found myself wrapped up in the emotion of it all, hardly able to believe how fast everything was moving.
And then I found out why.
The book then takes us on a journey. A three month journey. Where Annika and nine other people wait for death. They know when it’s supposed to happen, but with the harsh conditions there, for some death comes sooner than others. And each time it happened, I was compelled to read more and more until I saw what happened in the end.
I was surprised that I liked the secondary characters, for the most part, as much as I did. I sort of felt drawn into this book and I could feel the tension and the fear and the anger while I was reading. These characters all had their own stories, their own lives before they were sent to the camp. And it was hard at times to know their fate while bonding with them.
The one character who managed to stay a stranger for a large part of the book was Sea Eyes, Annika’s love interest. She was a very strange girl and I did wonder about her several times. But the more I found out about her, the more I started softening to her. She’d been through hell, literally. And now she was forced to live out her last three months in even worse hell. She survived so much only to realize it was all coming to an end.
I’ll admit, one of the reasons I wanted to read this is because Rose Christo wrote it. I love that woman and her books always seem to make me feel something and I fall in love with her characters and her stories. So even though this was f/f, I knew I wanted to read it. And I’m so glad I did. The writing is just as amazing as her other books and I did fall in love with her characters like before.
This isn’t a romance. Not really. The romance is sprinkled in at times, but it never really takes full focus. What this story is about could be different for everyone. There are many ways you could interpret this story and I think that’s a good thing. It means it will have a different impact on people.
I don’t want to give away the ending because I think most will probably know it without me saying anything. It’s a long journey to get there, but when you do it all feels very surreal but the ending is definitely beautiful, too. It’s just a shame it couldn’t have been different.
Would I recommend this? Yes. I think it’s a beautiful, poignant story with a lot of heart and some wonderful characters. It’s not a fun or easy story. It’s an emotional story. It’s a sad story. It’s real. So very real. And I think, for me, that’s what made the biggest impact of all.
Very easy 5 stars.My review can also be found on Greedy Bug Book Reviews.