Rada by Tracy M. Joyce


I was very pleased to read yet another of the books I bought at the Book Fair last year. I’m sure Joyce had more than this book for sale and yet I only bought this one. It’ll be interesting to look at her books next time to find out why I only bought this one.

This book is one of those where I find myself skipping ahead to find out what happens. So desperate to find out I’m skipping words, lines, paragraphs. And then I remind myself this book is not going anywhere, I can take six months to read it if I need and that I must read ALL the book and not just parts of it. I do wonder when I picked up the habit of reading so fast that I end up skipping bits. I often envy those slow readers who sit and absorb every word, in turn, rather than skipping bits. So, yes, one of those books that I needed to try and focus my brain so many, many times. I was desperate to find out if Rada survived the next problem, situation, fight…

Why was I so involved in Rada’s life? She’s a six-year-old. In my opinion children should be allowed to play, they shouldn’t have to enter politics or be used as a pawn. In this case she needed to step up and look after her new baby sister and her mother. I feel it’s rather unfair to make a child step up and be more than a child, but she seems to have coped fairly well. There are odd moments when I’m reminded she’s a child, but I like those as they help round out the character.

I notice I was too busy reading to make many notations. I’ve only got two. The first is a missing word, while the second is about the lilac blooms. At this point I wondered if Joyce is a fan of Terry Pratchett. In his book Nightwatch lilac is featured to enable The Watch to know who is friendly. At the point it appears in Rada some people are plotting insurrection. It could be an appropriate point to insert some lilac, even a very inappropriate point, but I won’t argue.

I enjoyed some of the detail in the writing. It helps to make it realistic. So Rada and Tav (a new guard) are meant to be hiding Rada’s baby sister. Rada puts her finger in her sister’s mouth and the babe shuts up while she sucks. It’s a typical thing that most parents do, although nowadays we use pacificers or dummies. But, Rada is fairly young and she then puts her finger in too far and the baby chokes. Rada figures it out and moves her finger back a little.

There are moments like this dotted throughout the book. Sometimes the extra details aren’t needed, but you don’t find them. Joyce seems to have a good balance of detail when it’s needed. I do expect someone to disagree with me and that’s okay.

This is rather dark. Rape is aluded to, but not seen. Battles are shown in some detail. As is torture and execution. Although, having said that, some of the details are hidden by simply taking us away from the action and listening to what Rada and someone else are discussing. We keep being reminded she’s six and that she really doesn’t need to see all the gore. I thought it was a nice way of showing us other things we need to see.

Having said all of that, I did love the book. I finished it and asked myself why I only have this one book in the series when there are clearly more set in the same world. It could have been something to do with the number of books I can carry at one time. Next time I make it to the Book Fair I’ll be taking a wheelie suitcase and I will not be embarrassed!

If you’ve been convinced to buy this book, or at least to look at it, you can click on this link. Thanks to all those who have clicked on links, you make me happy.

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