- ‘Kids lay listlessly everywhere, lying on the beds, huddled in corners. They did not speak and did not play. Suddenly Danny realized why this place could never be mistaken for a normal school. There was no noise here. The usual sounds of children, of laughter, of shouting, of play, were absent. There were just empty eyes, blinking back like creatures in a zoo.’ (pg 231)
Then a conversation between Danny and Maria…
- ‘”Are they all RUF?” he asked. “Not all of them. There’ve been child soldiers on all sides,” Maria replied. “But you don’t really mean that, do you? What you mean is, are they all killers? I don’t have the answer to that , Danny. Possibly, maybe, even probably. But there’s one thing they all have in common.” “What’s that?” She laughed. “They’re still just children, Danny. All of them. That’s always the first thing people forget.” Danny looked at the kids again. Suddenly the small figures seemed less threatening, less malevolent. Just damaged, and not beyond repair. (pg 231/232)
I think this is one of the biggest impacts of this story on me. The story of the children forced into a life of war, of killing. Their innocence stripped from them at an early age, never to be gotten back again. This novel left me wondering about them, wondering if they ever do get their lives back. Are they ever able to live normally again after all the horrors they commit and those that they live through? It’s also interesting to note that a war leads people to do things they may never have done in their normal lives, things that would and do horrify them. Does it make them a bad person-did it make Danny a bad person? These are the things that this fast-paced thriller reveals to us along with a surprise ending that wasn’t expected.