Arrows, Bones and Stones: the shadow of a child so...

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 22
Reviewer's Location - Yucaipa, CA, United States
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Charlie escaped from the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) a week ago. His journey brought him to the home of Fire, a young witchcraft-performing mother tending to her child. Fire takes care of Charlie and helps him get his strength back. She protects him against those in her village who would do him harm.

Once Charlie realizes that Fire was previously taken by the LRA, he finds companionship with her.  However, not all in her village are willing to stay away from him, even after Fire’s vigilance in protecting him. Soon, Charlie and Fire are roped into a plan: a group of Arrow Boys wants to get to the LRA to try to attack the army, seeking vengeance on them after they killed the people that the Arrow Boys loved. Having little choice in the matter, Charlie and Fire go along with them. 

What follows is an adventure through which Charlie learns more of the atrocities that the LRA commits, particularly those pertaining to women, girls, and mothers. Charlie also remembers why Kony (leader of the LRA) got involved at all in this wretched war: pinned against Africa’s President, Museveni, Kony started off as just a simple politician, disagreeing with policies that Museveni put forth; soon, however, Kony started becoming a terror on all who went against him, taking in children and hurting any who stood in his way. Charlie remembers all of this, and he will soon learn more than he has ever thought possible, and perhaps more than he had ever wanted to know at all.


With rich scenery and expressive language, the land of Africa came to life within the pages of this tome. The scenery and setting were perfectly aligned and never felt out-of-place or in odd juxtaposition with each other. They meshed and conjoined perfectly, creating an atmosphere of heightened tenseness that stayed throughout the entire novel, with brief interludes of peaceful contemplation interspersed throughout.

I enjoyed this novel greatly, even though it was difficult to get through. More bloody and gore-filled than the previous novel, it expanded upon the first story told in the previous installation in this series. As such, it was more detailed and intense than the previous novel was and gave more information as to why Kony was such a horrendous monster and exactly what he put children through to fight a war that wasn’t even his own to begin with. 

Reading this was extremely difficult and took me several months to get through. This wasn’t because the language was too hard to understand or that the book was written poorly; quite the opposite was true. The language was simplistic enough to understand yet accurate enough to portray the rich storyline, and the book was written very well. It was the violent and horrific content that disturbed me so, and thusly made it harder to get through  Even though I enjoyed this novel, it was very difficult to read through all in one sitting, and as such I had to space out my readings of the chapters over a period of months.

This novel perfectly exemplifies the difficulty a vast array of writers have: balancing the proportions between action scenes, dialogue, and scenic views. With beautifully explained setting and scenery, realistic action sequences, and understandable dialogue, this novel hits a high note and sustains the reader’s attention very well. With linguistic prowess, the author bends words to her will to create a story that will live on for generations. This story will not die out anytime soon, and will continue on for years to come.  Personally, I am pleased to add this book to my personal library, where it shall stay for a long time coming.

Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

Explain your content rating: 

Detailed flashbacks and episodes of PTSD are clearly seen from the onset of the novel. As the novel progresses, the readers literally see inside Charlie’s mind as the boy tries to cope with the atrocities he was forced to commit – these scenes are often frightening and confusing, as well as difficult to understand due to the rapid flickering between past and present actions and dialogue. Additionally, murder, blood and gore, violence, military violence, abuse of many kinds (emotional, physical, psychological, and sexual), brainwashing techniques, torture, hangings, self-mutilation, body mutilation, self-harm, depression, anxiety, anger-issues, dysfunctional families, suicide, life-and-death situations, sexism, misogyny, rape, and child rape are all clearly present in this novel. Heavy-duty curse words are not frequent in this novel, but are still peppered throughout. This novel is definitely for a more mature audience. As such, parents/parental guardians, teachers, and/or librarians should definitely look this book over before giving it to a child/student, particularly if the child/student is more sensitive to any of the previously-mentioned materials.

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