Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalleyRelease Date: August 6, 2013
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Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?
In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:
Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.
Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.
Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.
This book did not end up being what I was expecting from it at all! I went into it thinking it was going to be a dystopian book and I can tell you this does not fit that category at all. This book is very realistic and because of that it is creepier than I was thinking. I really think this book is one that will make readers think about long after finishing it (I know when I closed it, I sat back and thought about everything that had happened). Honestly, there were parts of this book that made me feel claustrophobic, imagining myself in Lyla's position, I don't know if I could do the things she did.
The beginning of this book starts out slow, Amy Christine Parker really takes her time to introduce readers to her characters and to Mandrodage Meadows. I think it took me awhile to get through this book but I really felt connected to Lyla and everything she dealt with, her uncertainty with information was understandable because of how she was raised. I think that the slow beginning was a great set up for the rest of the story and really kept you from guessing what things would happen along the way.
This book takes you deep inside a cult and gives you an idea of what people go through and why some people chose to trust someone to take control of their lives like this. So much happens in the real world that makes it difficult to feel safe a lot of the time, and tucked away in a little place like Mandrodage Meadows easily calms people, there are so many things that can't get you in a place like that, but what about the stuff that is hidden from you?
I loved Lyla throughout the story, she grows a lot over the course of the book, she seems very naive but she is more the type of person that observes everything around her. I loved her strength by the end of the book and I really felt all her emotions. The characters' past lives add so much to this story, seeing what Lyla and her family had gone through makes it understandable of how they were brought to this life.
This book was amazing, yes it felt a little disjointed between the first half and the second half, but it makes the book that much more of an intense read. By the end of the book I was flipping through pages needing more and yet trying so hard not to burst into tears. This book makes you think about the real world and how people try to get away. I think this is a book that needs to be read, just for how realistic everything feels.