Monday, July 29, 2013
ARC Mini-Review: Torn by David Massey
Author: David Massey
Rating: 3. 5 Stars
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
I've been struggling to write a review for Torn for quite some time now. I'm not exactly sure what I can say about this book, to be honest. It is a stirring, strong, and heartfelt story, but I've come to realize that it doesn't completely make a lasting impact on you. Its short length works perfectly for its subject matter - after all, none of us want to read an excruciatingly long story about war, no matter what Leo Tolstoy may believe. And debut author David Massey packs a punch in those pages, just maybe not enough of one.
Torn follows Elinor, a medic who is stationed in Afghanistan. While the first few chapters lag, detailing her daily routine and initial difficulties fitting in, the plot quickly turns to a group of child soldiers, specifically the ghost of a girl Elinor keeps seeing. In terms of its historical significance and accuracy, Torn is spot-on. It perfectly conveys the danger of war, the horror of seeing young Afghani children with weapons, and it even touches upon the political sphere surrounding the issue. As a history buff, I ate all this up. Elinor forms a bond with Husa, one of the children is found and taken political prisoner, and their growing relationship is sweet and touching to see unfold.
While I found the romantic element of this novel a little unnecessary - it doesn't require a romance to keep the pace or plot - I wound up really liking it. I do think it's a quick love story, one that doesn't take up much of the story at all, but it remained realistic enough with the backdrop of war and the dialogue kept me flipping the pages for more. Where I think this story falters is in its ultimate portrayal of all the characters. I thought the ending was rushed and the punch I was looking for, or even just the tug to be saying goodbye to these characters, never truly came. I did enjoy this story a lot - and I think Massey is incredibly talented for writing such a realistic female narration - but I ultimately think I hoped for a read that would leave more of an impact on me, especially as the subject matter is so serious. For those who shy away from issue books, though, this is likely to be a contemporary novel that will resonate. As someone who seems to be in the pursuit of getting my heart kicked by books, this fell just a little short of what I was looking for. Massey is a debut author to look out for, though, and I will certainly be snatching up anything else he writes - and soon.