Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Book Review: 'CHILD SOLDIERS' by Indika Guruge
‘Till death we fight, I repeated to myself. That’s how we Tigers thought.’
Sri Lanka author Indika Guruge earned his Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management at Royal College and was an Honors graduate of the National University Singapore. The handsome young man now works in real estate and property development. He is a director of The Guruge Group of Companies, a prominent outfit of property development and amusement parks in Sri Lanka, winning awards for his talent and services. His published novels to date are KARMA NEMESIS, ORPHAN GIRL, HOUSE MAID, FOREVER YOUNG, RASHIMI’S STORY, and now CHILD SOLDIERS.
Indika steps into the world of world of history and romances and in doing so he gives evidence of a writer who hopefully will continue to explore this genre of writing further. His reader-friendly style of writing is evident from the opening chapter as we meet Riza – ‘I stood under a mango tree with my AK-47 assault rifle in my hand, scanning the darkness and growing more tired as I watched the night sky. I was on 2AM sentry duty, and there had been nothing unusual to indicate what was to come. Everything seemed so peaceful. Then I saw a shooting star cross the sky. ‘Please lord let this war be over son an all the Tamil people live in peace,’ I wished upon the shooting star, ‘Mother, Mike I hope you are both nothing but safe. Father hope you’re in heaven looking down on me.’ It had been months since I’d seen my mother and brother. If I survived the war, I promised myself I would go back to them and make sure they were well protected.’
The well-developed and paced plot is as follows – ‘During the 26-year civil war between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, a young, immature girl is brainwashed by the Tamil Tigers to join them as a child soldier and embark on a perilous journey to seek revenge. Riza, a young upper-middle class girl from Jaffna, Sri Lanka born during the bloody and brutal 26 year Sri Lankan civil war has her whole world turned upside down when her close family member is killed in the civil war. She didn’t want anything to do with the civil war, but now she was forced to join a side, she had to, even though she was still only a child. The thirst for revenge was too great for her courageous spirit to simply ignore it. Even if it meant saying goodbye to her family she had come to love more than she ever believed possible. But things wouldn’t go so easy for young Riza, as she delves deeper into the conflict she finds out the dark and hidden secrets of the terrorist forces she joined in the civil war in order to avenge her family member. Riza will truly find out the meaning of a full-scale bloody civil war, and will learn the true meaning of sacrifice and loyalty as she uncovers the ugly side of the people she joined…Will she survive the brutal war, avenge her fallen family member and return to her family, or will the horrors of war get the best of young Riza?’
Another superb novel – for both the intended Young Adult audience and for adults. Indika Guruge is an important author, worthy of our attention.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.