The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.
Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.
Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.
What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?
I’m in the very rare position of giving five stars to a non fantasy book, but honestly this book gives me no choice. I guess it’s contemporary? But calling it that and comparing it to the light and fluffy (though still gorgeous and excellent) books of that genre does After the Fire a huge dis-service.
This is a complicated book. There are a few twists and turns, but honestly it’s not really about that. It’s about exactly what the blurb says- life in and outside of a fanatical cult compound as told through the eyes of a teenage girl. And it’s stellar. I can’t even decently explain why – I don’t feel it’s life changing or earth shattering, but something inside me just really felt for these characters, especially Moonbeam and especially towards the end. Her strength of mind and the terror she feels comes across so strongly, I just wanted to reach into the book and give her a hug.
I would honestly recommend this book to anyone who likes strong characterisation. I would only urge caution in the fact that there is violence against a lot of characters including women and children, and discussions along the lines of rape, so be aware of that going in. I think it’s worth it because that would quite likely be a part of this sort of life and therefore deserves to be included. I think it’s handled well. I think that the characters and their views aren’t perfect and that’s part of what I loved about the book.