Thursday, 10 January 2019

After The Fire - Will Hill // Book Review

Sadly, this is not the first book I have read this year as I did finish it on the 30th of December but I have to talk about this book, so I hope you don't mind that I am going to be reviewing it today. Anyway, I am sure some of you will have heard of After the Fire because it was quite a popular YA read back in 2017, but I finally got around to reading it and it is safe to say that I loved it. 

I picked up After the Fire before Halloween and yes, I did only finish it right before the new year, but I didn't read it faster because it was boring, it was the opposite actually, I just really wanted to take my time to really enjoy what was going on. This book is also quite intense, so I found it best by reading a few chapters at a time because it can be mentally straining at times. 
Before I go any further, I did give this book a 5/5 rating but I will get into why afterward. 
As for what this book is about. It is written in the first person, from the perspective of Moonbeam who is a 17 year-old girl who has just been saved from the cult that she lived in. The book alternates between before and after the fire, which was the event that brought this cult to an end. In the present, Moonbeam is in a facility that is providing her with support but they are also investigating the cult that she lived with. The flashbacks, however, cover a long period of time of all of the things that happened while Moonbeam was in this cult. 
This plot is definitely very unique and it is unlike anything else that I have ever seen or read before and even the messages that it sends across are very unique but also very relevant. After reading this, I am definitely fascinated by cults and the psychology behind them because before reading After the Fire, I really didn't know much about them. This book definitely talks about a cult that was very harmful and toxic and I understand that not all cults are like that so I would bare that in mind if you read this. 
So much happens in this book and I will say now, that if you are easily triggered by rape or suicide then I would be wary of that before reading this just because suicide and a sexual assault does take place in this book. This book is so well done though because the order in which this story is told at, is what makes it so intriguing and it makes you want to carry on reading. Throughout reading this book, I had endless amounts of questions but what made it so fulfilling was that all of those questions were answered by the end.
I love Moonbeam so much as a character, she is so well developed and seeing her at the start of the book to how she turns out, in the end, is so heartwarming. The cult that Moonbeam lived in was very strict, it was violent and some people would call it immoral, I definitely would and you discover that when everyone else was loyal to their cult and to the Lord, Moonbeam was starting to lose her faith without even noticing it. Saying that though, when you read the present day scenes, you will see that Moonbeam is very skeptical to be truthful to her Doctor and the Investigator but as you progress through the book, you see that what Moonbeam was told about the 'outside' was all a lie and that they really are trustworthy. 
There are so many characters I love in this book also, particularly Nate, who I am not going to say too much about but he is one of the last people to join the cult and, from Moonbeam's perspective you definitely view him as brother-figure to Moonbeam. 
This book definitely does intend you to dislike some of the characters and I guess that is the point because it shows how this cult has indoctrinated these innocent people but it is done in a way that is so realistic and cleverly written. 
The layout of this book was tackled perfectly, the fluctuation in tenses is done so fluid and easy to follow. I love that it is in Moonbeam's perspective because you really do get emotionally attached to this story. This book was so easy to follow for me and I also love that the chapters are very short, because like I said at the start of this post, elements of this story can be really intense and so reading a chapter or two would be enough for me and it wouldn't take to long. 
Let me know if you have read this book, and whether you agree with my thoughts or not. And if you haven't read this book, then I would highly suggest you do!
Grace xx

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