This is one of those stories that, once you’ve begun reading, you find difficult to put down for very long. I found myself coming back to it again and again to “just read a little bit more” and before long, I didn’t bother putting it down at all.
The reader is introduced to Wynter Roth as she is about to be “delivered to Satan for the destruction of her flesh.” In other words, she’s being exiled from the cult community she’s lived in since she was six years old. Tosca Lee may as well have provided a lone drummer beating the solemn “POM. POM. POM.” that accompanies the condemned on their walk to the scaffold, so emotionally weighted was the scene. Without knowing anything about this community or why Wynter was being excommunicated, I was hooked.
From there, the story alternated between going back in time to fill in key parts of Wynter’s history, eventually unveiling why she was cast out of the New Earth community, and moving the story forward in the present as Wynter tries to adjust to life outside New Earth, where a new, virulent, and deadly strain of the flu is pushing people to madness. The insight into Wynter’s time in the cult was both chilling and intriguing. I shuddered at the subtle way truth was twisted to keep these people enslaved to their way of life, and the more I knew of cult leader Magnus, the more my skin crawled. But I loved the anticipation that built as the scales fell off Wynter’s eyes even as she became more tightly ensnared in Magnus’s plans.
As the book progressed, the focus narrowed until it was squarely on Wynter’s efforts to get the samples to Colorado and then her determination to rescue her young niece, Truly, from the New Earth community. The momentum never let up, and it was quite a ride to the finish, but I couldn’t help feeling that some of the biggest challenges Wynter faced resolved a little too quickly and easily, particularly right at the end.
That said, there’s a follow-up due to release later this year, so perhaps things aren’t as resolved as they seem? I’m looking forward to finding out!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
- Library Binding: 500 pages
- Publisher: Christian Series Level I (24) (1 March 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 164358121X
- ISBN-13: 978-1643581217
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.8 x 22.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 621 g
- Customer Reviews: 118 customer ratings