An incredibly melancholy, yet ultimately heartwarming tale about death… and about truly living. The “reveal”, shortly before midway, is of course entirely obvious right from the off, but a twisty tale is not the point of this lovely book; Dallas has created a moody, heartfelt and emotional journey, with something of an air of mystery in the first half. After this, the book becomes more of a full-blown fantasy for romanticists – by fantasy, think Mills and Book, not Frank Herbert.
The timeline is on occasion a touch confusing in the early parts, sometimes intertwining two or three narratives, in the same locations and with the same characters, which doesn’t help. This (very slight, I should say) confusion is compounded in some ways by the absence of chapters; although separated by days of the week, Monday seems somewhat longer than the following days, so it does feel as if large parts are not broken up for digestion and regrouping, until you are some way into the book. After the story is clear – and it is a particularly simple tale – it becomes easier to settle in, as you become more invested and interested in the story of Tegan and Kai.
The book is certainly intriguing, and I was eager to know what was coming. It is slow at times, and not a great deal happens in terms of action; Dallas’s work is all about the characters, moods and feelings – and she does a tremendous job. Although a romance fantasy of teenage love, this book is certainly not YA – the author is too good, the writing and overall quality far too sophisticated, which only comes from maturity in the craft. Sure, some of the slush and undying love gets a tad cringy, but then teenagers in love generally have that effect. This is romance melodrama, with a primary cast of two, like a stage-play double-header, and I recommend it particularly for die-hard fans of the romance genres. That said, it was interesting, intriguing and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Dallas is a superb author (although I was desperate to add a “d” to the adjective (?) every time I saw “shave ice” – surely!), and her character development and interaction is sublime; she is a class act, no doubt. She portrays Hawaii idyllically, in keeping with the overall dream-like feel to the narrative; someone who has never been will be hopeful that their experience of the island is as described here: its beauty vividly contrasted against the reality of Tegan’s normal life back on the mainland. For anybody who has ever enjoyed a holiday romance, or dreamt of a second chance at some missed-out on fantasy, this book is desire in a nutshell.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: dallas-woodburn fantasy young-adult romance melancholy death