06-23-2008 11:20 PM
What can we make of Andrei? Are you entirely repulsed by this character, or did you have any flickerings of sympathy for him--and if so, at what point was it?
What made him do it?
Do you think he would have eventually killed his own children if he weren't stopped?
06-25-2008 12:04 AM
It's a testament to the writing skills of Tom Rob Smith, that I was able to feel some sympathy for Andrei. The first chapter of the book portrayed him as a child, and a total victim of circumstance. The description of him being abused by his mother made me wince. The fact that there was really not that much focus on him for a good part of the book, may have helped also. There was much more focus on Leo. I don't know if I would have felt the same way if every murder had been described in grisly detail.
I work with young children, and I've seen some (luckily only a few) that are already deeply disturbed at the ages of 3 and 4 years. If they don't get help at a young age, they are more than likely on the road to being criminals - dangerous criminals. If that help isn't provided can we really say it's their fault? Adults, parents, communities, countries, have to take care of children.
That, of course, doesn't take away from the horrendous nature of Andrei's crimes. Further questions can be asked: can everyone even be helped? What is the root cause of evil? In this book evil perpetuated evil, but goodness was still able to prevail.