About a cult, about what happens after when everything goes up in flames, about faith, about so much more. I will try my best to write a review, but bare with me as I am still overflowing with emotions about this book.
The book starts with how the cult ended, how our MC, Moonbeam, got in the care of doctors and therapists. What happened during those moments of fire, bullets, and pain? How did it result to this? And what about the cult? Who was the boss, what happened to the people? Are there survivors and how damaged are they by the cult and what happened in those firey moments?
The book will switch between the After (the fire) and Before (the fire). I loved both parts equally, the after parts because I knew we would get more After parts, but also because we see how Moonbeam is doing. How she is struggling to get better, to heal, to tell her story, to stop hiding (as she has quite a few secrets she is afraid to tell). The before parts because it told us what happened in the cult. The good memories, but also tons of horrifying, terrible, I want to cry memories. At times it was just too much. The events happened in the before were so painful, the after events were so hard.
We see that there are two parts to the cult. Before the Purge, when there was another Father. When the members could still go outside, still could preach, they could watch and listen to music/shows, could read books, all in all, when they were still relatively happy and the place was filled with love. But then comes the uprising of Father John… and what happens after that. How everything just went from bad to worse to terrible. 🙁 How the people weren’t allowed to go outside, how they were taught about the badness outside, how they got less food and more punishments if things went wrong (like being put in a container in the burning heat with almost zero food or water), abuse, rape, paedophilia (hope that is the correct word, I am not up to checking google and see if it is correct) (not only that they pick the future wives while the girls are really young, but also during that last moment, and that revelation near the end), and other terribleness. There is just too much to list.
Father John is a terrible person, how he could do all those things.. I guess he really cares about money. I would talk more about him, but I think this is enough. He doesn’t deserve any more.
Moonbeam was a very wonderful character, I liked her from the start. And while she is lying at times, I can understand why. I understand so well. She is afraid, and not only that, she knows she may be in trouble for what she did during those final moments. I was quite interesting to see what she did. I had my suspicions of course. Especially about one big thing.
My heart broke for what she has experienced. From the banishment of her mom, how she was alone for so long (yes, she has her brothers/sisters/friends, but still, that is not the same as having parents around), how she was so so afraid of a lot of things. I just wanted to hug her, tell her everything will be fine, sure it is a long road to recovery, but I knew she would make it. She would survive.
I was also very delighted that she was so brave, I was definitely cheering for her. Wishing her hope and bravery to tell her story to the doctor and the agent.
It was also interesting to see how the author wrote about the faith. Moonbeam’s thoughts and feelings on it (when did she lose it, did she ever have faith?), but also to see how blindly people will follow someone, how they will do things in the name of Father John, because they truly believe he is a messenger, how they truly believe he is telling them the truth about his messages and how close he is to God. Even with everything going on.
We also see Moonbeam interact with her fellow survivors, most of them children. We see how at first the kids are pretty broken, damaged, and still under the influence of the cult, but as the story progresses we see them get better, even though they will always have scars, and may never get rid of the nightmares.
I loved how Moonbeam helped out these kids. How she was there for them, prepared to talk, a hug here and love there. I do hope that in the future they can still talk to each other, maybe send mails or letters.
I wasn’t sure about the agent at first, but he really grew on me. He turned out to be such a sweet guy, and I loved how he tried his best to help Moonbeam.
As for when the truth comes out on the whole fire part (and how it all went down), wow. Just wow. I just couldn’t stop reading, though it was pretty horrifying.
The ending? Well, prepare for more tears. I was really crying during those last moments. It was just so beautiful, I was so happy to see it end this way.
I could probably go on and on about the book, but I think I have said the most important things. I would highly recommend this book, but be warned, at times it is really heavy and it will make you cry.