Review: The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew

The Light That Gets Lost Natasha Carthew
The Light That Gets Lost Natasha Carthew cover

Title: The Light That Gets Lost 
Author: Natasha Carthew 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: YA 
Publication date: November 5, 2015 
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there's no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he's only small, he swears that he'll get revenge one day. Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It's packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey's been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he's he not here for saving: this is where he'll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.

ARC received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Penance tails up within. You only got yourself to answer to when you slap yourself over the head with it.

It took me a really long time to read this book. Twenty days to be exact. The book is mostly to blame. The beginning was really slow. The first chapter was interesting, but then it just took too long before anything of significance happened. For the first 30% of the book I really couldn’t care less what became of the main character.

The writing was another factor to slow me down. Its very unique, but whether it’s good or bad unique is debatable. The dialect, the abrupt dialogue, the long lyrical run-on sentences were very deliberate. They brought a certain atmosphere to the story. And even though I definitely appreciated the effort, it just felt really stiff in the beginning - to the point where it actually started to bother me. It took me too long to get used to it. Maybe it has something to do with English not being my native tongue, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one who feels this way. I did get used to it eventually and I learned to even like it, but by then I was well over the halfway mark. It felt like too little too late.

The Light That Gets Lost has a male protagonist, Trey, and is written in third person POV. It’s hard to tell whether I liked him. I definitely didn’t in the beginning, but he matured a lot through the course of this story and I liked the guy he became at the end a lot more. As if he was years older instead of merely weeks. At some point Trey started realizing that he was chasing ghosts and wasting his life on the idea of revenge. He stood up to fight his inner demons and started hoping for a better future. It made him an entirely different person, one who started to appreciate the value of life and love and friendship.

To see it was to know one way or the other, another step in his pursuit to find out the truth. In his heart he carried a sackful of sorrow an across his shoulders he saddled the burden of guilt. What it was to be alive when those he loved were not or almost not.

It took pretty long for us to really get to know the other characters. They were introduced rather soon, but for a while they were just faces in a crowd. Except for Lamby perhaps, no one really stood out. Once we learned who they really were, I started caring about them. It turned out I liked Kay a lot. She’s a girl Trey gets to know when he’s assigned to ‘farming’ in Camp Kernow. She was though and clearly bore the scars of a brutal past. Kay possessed the wisdom that usually comes with growing up too fast. She was wise beyond her years. I always admire that. Lamby was just as great, though in an entirely different manner. He’s the first guy Trey meets when he gets to camp and although he tries everything in his powers not to get attached to the kid, he eventually starts caring about him. Lamby was really young in spirits and therefore very optimistic, which I appreciated. With that came also a certain naivety and childish eagerness that was contagious. Yet Lamby could surprise everyone with his eye for detail and sudden cleverness. He knew a lot more than people would have wanted him to. He’s the sort of guy everyone underestimates by definition, but that has actually a whole lot to offer
The plot was interesting, although it lacked credibility here and there. But it was creative at least and I certainly like the idea of Camp Kernow and the philosophy behind Trey’s motives. I’ve never read anything as such before. Some scenes weren’t as detailed as I would have liked and (I know this probably sounds really contradictory since I’ve basically been complaining non-stop about the slowness) some parts that were fundamental to the storyline were awfully rushed.

Trey had friends and family in a mix pot and something immediate in his life that wasn’t back-pedalling revenge but some kind of forward fight. No loaded gun but a heart packed with purpose.

This is a coming of age tale and it’s surely not badly executed. It didn’t completely live up to its potential in my opinion, but it’s an intriguing read nonetheless. There are a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas in it. Some remarkable quotes as well. It’s worth the read!

He put his hand into his pocket with the lighter gone and he held on to the empty space and all the possibilities that in time might settle there.

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