I am amazed how young this author is. How could a debut novel by a twenty-something be this powerful? Telling the story of war from a child soldier’s perspective is difficult, but not groundbreaking. What he brings to the table is the jarring, eerie language. The simplified vocabulary, onomatopoeia, stilted grammar, and repeated words peel back the “language layer” of the narrative to reveal the depth of possibilities underneath. At first I thought the author chose to write a story from the point of view of a child, or a non-native English speaker, or an accented voice. It becomes apparent very quickly that that is not the case. Instead, the author writes “he fired the gun” as “I am seeing he fire fire the gun into bush.” This violent staccato cadence adds a sense of unease to an already fiery atmosphere that sweeps the reader into the raw reality of a third-world battle scene. It feels almost as if he is writing sensations of the reptilian brain straight to the page with no broody, explanatory processing typical of a war novel.