When I heard about this book, and saw what it was about, I just knew I would read it. I have been interested in reading about cults, especially from the inside, or at least for the perspective of a character that is in one, or just got out one.
The character from this book, named Zylynn, has been in a cult since she was born. So you can imagine that when, at age 12 almost 13, she is suddenly put outside of it, and dumped in the hands of her father, she is totally terrified, and fears that she will be in the darkness forever. That she won’t have a chance at light, love, and God. That alone broke my heart. And as the book continues and we find out more and more about Zylynn, about the cult, about what happened there, my heart broke further. Poor Zylynn, poor people in there. Manipulated, and much much more. 🙁
The book is written between the now and the then. We see Zylynn struggle with her new life, trying to escape so she can be at the ritual that will determine her future with the cult. She doesn’t dare to speak, for fear for letting in the darkness. She stores food, she is wary of anyone not from her cult, she is even afraid of the food, thinking it will just be removed before she knows it, or that there is not enough in the end (seriously, that just pained me so much, to see such a small child be wary of food, wondering when it will leave, scrounging and keeping it hidden).
And then there is the then. We learn about the cult, about days of hunger, about suspicious stuff happening, about the doctrine that is being stomped into the minds of the children, of the adults.
We see rituals happen, we see happiness, and sadness.
It took me a bit to get used to the format, it was clearly marked when we were going into the past, but it still was a bit jarring. I was just getting warmed up to the now, and then we would be brought to the past.
As the book continues you can see a change in Zylynn, not a big one, she is still highly keen on escaping/running away, but you can see that she is more accepting of her circumstances, that she is becoming more happy. My heart broke for her though when she found out several things, and also near the end. Gosh, I cried. 🙁
In the past you can also see a change. It becomes more and more clear that this cult is wrong, bad, not right. Sure, you could also see that from the get-go, but I feel that as the book progresses you see more wrongness seeping out.
I loved the father, and I loved his wife (stepmother for Zylynn). They were so supportive, they tried so hard, they fought for Zylynn, and I was just cheering for them. They truly are amazing people. Their kids (and thus halfsiblings for Zylynn) were sweet and I loved how they accepted Zylynn, sure they were wary, but they did try to involve her with things. Especially the little girl.
I also loved that other girl, a friend of Zylynn, she was really sweet and I loved her attitude. How even in the cult she never lost hope, and never stopped trying to do her own thing.
The ending was sad, one filled with twists and turns (especially for Zylynn), but also one with hope for a good future. And I cried during several parts (not only sad tears, but also happy tears).
This book will break your heart, this book will bring you to tears. This book is amazing, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.