Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The War in the Wall series #1
Lotus Books, July 2015
Obtained via:  publisher
Young Adult Dystopian/Thriller

A. Lotus’ INSIDE THE WALL is a young adult dystopian novella (and the first part of her three books in the War in the Wall series) that is really quite disturbing, shocking and sadly – very possible.

Letha is a young girl who finds herself alone in a city gone mad.  The city has been overthrown, the parents killed and the children brainwashed, trained and made into soldiers.  Now, people are either Rats (the resistance group), Neutrals or Tsunami (the ruling dictator’s group of killer soldiers).  When Letha is charged with killing the leader of the Rats, her best friend from before the war, in order to prove her loyalty, she and her team of children attempt to escape the walled city.

A. Lotus’ INSIDE THE WALL is a very dark and disturbing story where children become killers as a result of a war and out of necessity.  They have been told that anyone that isn’t like them, a Tsunami, is the enemy and must be killed.  Letha finds herself struggling to do the right thing and fighting to maintain her humanity.  Her character is well developed and her struggle is not all that difficult to imagine.  Everyone she had known in her prior life is either dead or been forced to choose a side, leaving her constantly fighting for her life at every turn.  She is forced to rely on a group of young, skilled killers who either succeed at whatever killing spree they are sent on or put to death for failure.  The minor characters, the other members of her team, are also fairly well developed characters and will presumably play a large part in future books.  The only real “bright light” in the story are the glimpses of humanity the children show from time to time, although those moments are few and far between.  Yet, it is these moments that make this book so very thought provoking.

There were, however, things about this book that just didn’t work for this reader.  Firstly, there was no real happiness in this book, or hope for it, even at the end of the story.  The entire story is bleak, depressing and disturbing.  Children killing children as a normal course of everyday life is not something anyone likes to envision.  Also, the story background is thin.  How the war came about, what they were fighting over and why the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be aware of what is going on in this city are never explained or explored.  Most disturbing for this reader was the knowledge that even if the children manage to escape the city, they are never likely to be “normal” in any way.  Their formative years have been spent being indoctrinated into being killing machines with little or no kindness or humanity left.  How will they every “get over” killing so many of their classmates and neighbors?  These children are truly frightening.  Is it even possible for them to have a “happily ever after”?  It is for these reasons that INSIDE THE WALL resonates so deeply with this reader and easily deserves this four-star review.  A. Lotus’ INSIDE THE WALL is simply so disturbing that it is truly unforgettable.

Reviewed by T. Barringer

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book."


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