Where Tomorrow Waits
BY DINA KA
Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.
I received a free PDF copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
In this book, the author tells a difficult story of a young girl thrown into adulthood far too young. Set in Cambodia, pre/during/post Khmer Rouge, it shows us all the horrors of war in gripping clarity.
The narrative is told in the first person, and is utterly believable. If you’re looking for an easy read, this is not the book for you. At a little over 400 pages, it is a lengthy read—yet every page gives you something to think about. We are shown rape, murder, genocide, and pain and suffering in all its many guises. We also discover courage, compassion, and the utmost bravery in the simplest of acts.
Even before the war, life for Dara was not all that it seemed, and some of these secrets haunt her all the way to a new life in a new country. Will Dara ever be able to face her inner demons? Or will they prove to be one straw too many?
Told through the eyes of a young girl, and then a teenager, it feels authentic throughout and shows the ordinary insecurities and self-doubt that we all go through as we search for our identity. These normal teenage troubles are then compounded by events far outside of Dara’s control, and at many points in the book I just wanted to give her a huge hug. Bravo to the author for making her so real—so human.
Despite going through the care and attention of an editor and proofreader, things have been missed, and the narrative would benefit from another go-round. Overuse of delaying devices such as ‘began to’ and ‘started to’ pepper the text, as does unnecessary usage of ‘own’. Spelling errors and punctuation hiccups are also frequent enough to merit a mention. All of this mars what would have been a top-star book for me.
Although a harrowing read much of the time, I found it a rewarding one with a well-rounded ending that tied all the many threads together. I give it 8 out of 10 TRB stars, which equates to 4 out of 5 stars on other rating scales. If you are drawn to historical or biographical fiction, then this is a book you will want to read.