Review: After the Fire (By Will Hill)

Review: After the Fire (By Will Hill)

After the Fire is a fictional novel written by Will Hill, and is centred on a young girl called Moonbeam who happened to be a part of a cult called ‘The Lords Legion’, but that’s not all. As the title says, Moonbeam has been witness to a huge fire at the cult’s base which has killed most of the people she called Brothers and Sisters. Now she is in the care of a Government section called the ATF, whereby we learn about her life in The Lords Legion and what really happened as she is interviewed by a Doctor and a FBI agent.

Here is where Moonbeam will begin her trip back to before the fire…

ATF

Plot

This story starts off pretty sharply, with the fire currently blazing away and our main character in panic and pain. At first I was confused as to what was going on, and I liked that I felt this way because it meant that I was in store for some pretty riveting and potentially shocking information. Little did I know how long the story would take until we actually reach the explanation as to what led to the events that start off the story. Despite its length though, I enjoyed every page and even gasped at a few parts because of the disgust or sadness that I was experiencing. Every chapter had me feeling an emotion, but the last 200 pages had me at my most shocked because of the amount of twists that appeared. Disbelief ran through me and anger was something I felt too, so I must say that this story was an emotional journey that I wasn’t expecting.

Additionally, I found the non-chronological sequence of the story a better fit for it as it allowed for me to connect better with the main character as she told the story in parts whereby she felt strong enough to let the Doctor and FBI agent know, but it also allowed for an easier emotional response to events because of how intense they got as you progressed through the book. Essentially, I thought it was a good way to get through to the reader and allow a better build up of emotions because of how worse and unbelievable events became as Moonbeam spilled all.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Moonbeam is the central character within this story as it is her side of events and her experiences that tell us everything about The Lords Legion and where she fitted into everything. She’s a character that is clearly in shock after the fire (I mean who wouldn’t be?) and we are led to belief that she is to blame for the fire due to what she says inside her head. I liked this element of voices in her head because it added an extra something to her character that made her feel a bit more real to me, and gave me a bit of a better understanding towards Moonbeam as she’s a character who’s still in the middle of forgetting The Lords Legion and its’ beliefs or thinking it could be all true.

Even though she was a bit of a muddled character at first, I grew to like her and feel empathy towards her as the story progressed. The life she lived and things she experienced were terrifying, and I really wanted her to have a happy ending, but as to whether or not she did is for you to find out.

The Doctor and FBI agent that interviewed Moonbeam were likeable characters, and I found them to be really nice and understanding. They weren’t emotionless, but I did find the Doctor’s use of jargon to be a bit too professional as I thought Moonbeam wouldn’t be able to understand half of what he was talking about. Even so, Moonbeam came out of her shell as the story went on, and I found her ease with both men welcoming as it meant she was being brave for the sake of getting everything off her chest and telling them everything, even if she didn’t fully trust them yet.

Lastly, the one character that stood out and was to blame for everyone’s misery…Father John. The leader of The Lords Legion and alleged messenger of the Lord Himself. I can’t express my hatred for this man in words, but I will say this. He was an evil and power-hungry man who was the only one who benefitted from the cult (as per usual in cults).

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

In all honesty, the first few pages had me fuelled with curiosity, but after that it was a little slow. I stopped reading this book for about a week or two before I got back to reading it, and by then I became a bit more hooked as I progressed with the story and learned more and became intrigued again. Basically, it doesn’t become truly gripping until the last 200 pages when everything is just causing emotions to run through the reader like crazy.

Grip Rating: 1½ out of 2 Stars

In all, I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it to anyone who finds cult based stories interesting. I am definitely a person who is intrigued by the power cults can hold over people, and I truly sympathise with those who have been through traumatic events caused by involvement in cults or anything else similar. This novel is an eye opener as it shows what kind of damage is inflicted on those who survive events like this, and I thank Will Hill for providing a novel that really gets the reader thinking and feeling.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 1½ = 9½ out of 10 Stars

gf

 

For more information about After the Fire and more reviews, please visit www.goodreads.com

Have you read this book? If so, leave a comment!

 

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Review: The Girls (By Emma Cline)

Review: The Girls (By Emma Cline)

The Girls is a novel written by Emma Cline, and is based around the Manson Family. The Manson Family were a 1960’s cult where members lived together (Quasi-Commune) and ended up committed murders that eventually led to their downfall.

I’ll be honest here and say that I didn’t know that this book was based on a real life cult until I read the reviews. I started this book without the above knowledge, and this revelation changed my feelings a little bit for the story, so let’s see what I thought!

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Plot

The Girls revolves around Evie, a bored 14-year-old Californian girl who becomes intrigued by the sight of a group of girls who dress in dirty clothes and have messy hair but do as they please. Evie later comes to know these girls better, but only because she bumps into one of them who Evie has a fascination for. Suzanne is her name, and for some reason Evie is just mesmerised by her.

I found that the introduction to Evie and her living day-to-day was quite ordinary (with some weird little tidbits) but there was missing something. There was no excitement in her life so it was easy to see why she was interested in this group of girls who seemed out-of-place, and why she was in awe of Suzanne. With dark hair and a messy appearance, Suzie was like an anomaly in Evie’s life, and Evie wanted to know more.

Additionally, Evie was a young teen therefore it was understandable to see why she wanted a change in her life with an older girl who was a part of something different to what Evie was used to. As she became a part of the cult, I began to enjoy the book a little bit more because I could see the eventual downfall that is common with all cults. There is always something dark, and this is seen throughout her experiences that are too mature for such a young teen. This and much more are what made the story compelling but also a little disturbing. Imagining a young teen and an older man made me vomit a little in my mouth (not literally) and I thought that despite the nastiness, they were a nice touch because of the cult theme.

Plot Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Evie is our main character, if not already made obvious, and I have to be honest here…she annoyed me a little bit. She was like a puppy dog with Suzanne, and acted quite needy when around her. The attention seeking was not blatant, but it was clearly there. I tried to imagine what goes on in the mind of a bored and lonely American teen girl, and I found that curiosity would probably get the best of her. I can’t relate to Evie myself, but I can say that Evie yearned for company, and the allure of a mature and unique girl made Evie feel something (possibly even down in her loins) and I looked forward to see what Evie would step into.

In the present (1990’s in the book), we get to see the effects of the cult lifestyle on Evie, despite the subtlety. She easily spots behaviour she once displayed in a young girl, and uses her knowledge to assume what kind of life they’re living and why. I admired an older Evie more than her younger self, but I still felt sympathy for a young Evie because of the situations she got caught up in where she didn’t have a real choice.

As for the mysterious Suzanne, I didn’t like her from the start. She was a cold, confident and unsympathetic girl, but I understood why Evie found her fascinating. She wasn’t like anyone else, and I felt that there was a hidden malice underneath all the dirty clothes. Despite this, she didn’t offer anything else to the story. I knew her character and what kind of actions she would commit, and I was a little disappointed because nothing about her was surprising. In actuality, nothing about Evie or Suzanne was surprising at all. Both characters were easy to understand, and it was no tough guess as to what their next moves would be.

Upon reflection, I now believe no character was complicated and each had their own personality but they were all pretty simple. No pops, no buzzes or electricity. Just simplicity.

Character Rating: 2½ out of 4 Stars

Grip

I found that The Girls was an exciting read and I enjoyed every page, but I wasn’t shocked by anything. The cult theme was what kept me reading, as I wanted to see what made the present Evie the way she was. Also, I was let down when I found out that the book is based on real events, as it meant that there wasn’t much effort into making more exciting and shocking scenes. The book is basically written for you if you base it on events, so the absence of anything riveting or utterly flabbergasting was just sad.

Grip Rating: 1 out of 2 Stars

In all, I found that this book was a good read and as I continued to read on and try to and understand everything, I realised I shouldn’t question it and just merely enjoy what was happening. The Girls isn’t surprising in any way, but it’s a nice read and worth a go at least once.

Overall Rating: 3 + 2½ + 1 = 6½ out of 10 Stars

not bad

 

For more The Girls reviews and information, please click the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26893819-the-girls

Monthly Book Buys – JULY

Monthly Book Buys – JULY

It’s July! The sun’s out, bees are pollinating and introverts like me are sitting inside and reading books! So let’s see what I got for the lovely month of July.

For this month (July ’17), I purchased the following books:

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If you’re interested in learning about these books, then click the relevant links below:

Conclave (By Robert Harris) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29397486-conclave?ac=1&from_search=true

The Handmaid’s Tale (By Margaret Atwood) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38447.The_Handmaid_s_Tale?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Reviews will be released within the year, so watch out!

Monthly Book Buys – JUNE

Monthly Book Buys – JUNE

Hi Everyone! I’d like to introduce a new segment of my blog, called Monthly Book Buys. These monthly posts include new books that had caught my fancy whilst out shopping, and therefore decided to buy, read and then review.

For this month (June ’17), I purchased the following books:

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From top to bottom: The Girls, After the Fire, The Crimson Petal and The White & The Essex Serpent
If you’re interested in learning about these books, then click the relevant links below:

The Girls (By Emma Cline) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26893819-the-girls?ac=1&from_search=true

After the Fire (By Will Hill) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33357614-after-the-fire?ac=1&from_search=true

The Crimson Petal and The White (By Michel Faber) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40200.The_Crimson_Petal_and_the_White?ac=1&from_search=true

The Essex Serpent (By Sarah Perry) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32075861-the-essex-serpent?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Reviews will be released within the year, so keep an eye out!