Daniel Kalla’s previous novel, The Far Side of the Sky, was a big hit in the office here, but I never had a chance to pick it up and experience what so many people were talking about. With that in mind, as soon as Rising Sun, Falling Shadow came out I snapped it up right away. Personally, I hate reviews that just recount plot and give away certain key points, so I will stick to talking about my final impression of the novel.
When all was said and done, I put the book down and had to think. Rising Sun, Falling Shadow is not a read that you can just simply let go of as soon as the last page is turned. The Japanese invasion of China and occupation of Shanghai is not often written about in Canadian literature and the picture Kalla has drawn of that time and place, one of despair and danger, strikes a chord. The two main characters Sunny and Dr. Franz Adler are extremely well done and add that extra dimension necessary to a wartime story, especially based around the hospital, which plays a central role in the book. What makes this book really enjoyable, however, is the overlaying sense of good in a place and time where evil and treachery were commonplace. The essence and idea of heroism and drama involving ordinary people looking to do some good (and allow for a struggling populace to have some hope) is a tough thing to adequately describe, but Daniel Kalla does an excellent job.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an excellent dramatic novel with lots of action, romance and adventure. After reading Rising Sun, Falling Shadow I will definitely be picking up The Far Side of the Sky and be on the lookout for Kalla’s next book.
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