Boy oh boy, this review has been a long time coming. I first wrote about When Shadows Fall a couple of months ago now and I have to say, my love hasn’t faded at all. I think this is a truly beautiful book and an important one too.
When Shadows Fall tells the story of Kai, Orla and Zak, three teenagers who grew up together. They spent their childhood exploring the patch of wilderness tucked away between their homes. They shared laughter, love and dreams for the future. They thought they had it all figured out until tragedy strikes in Kai’s home. Their friendship struggles to adjust to the harsh realities of growing up, loss and prejudice.
Without giving too much away, watching Kai’s happiness fracture was tough. Sita Brahmachari perfectly captures the cycle of struggle that so many young people. It was heartbreaking to see so little going right for him. I was desperate for him to catch a break as he was such a loveable character, even when he wasn’t making the best decisions.
I think that is where the magic of Brahmachari lies. She tells the stories of a struggling young adult without the need to make it a sensational drama that can sometimes occur. Instead, she writes with empathy and respect about a character who is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants when everything around him sees to be going wrong. It was such a wonderful insight about how people can stray from the path and how people can work together to point them back in the right direction, if they so wished.
Finally, I couldn’t write this review without mentioning the beautiful illustrations that accompany the text of When Shadows Fall. They were woven into the story with such skill that I was in absolute awe. They were stunning and incredibly impactful.
It was lovely to see a collaboration between writer and artist into all the ways a story can be told. Again, without trying to give too much away, this is really book about how we tell our own stories and who we do – and don’t – tell those stories too, especially when we are young. I can’t think of a more important thing to write or read about!