I would like to thank the author for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Doing so does not sway my opinion in any way.
When I first started reading so many different cults and religions popped into my mind; the compound on the HBO series Big Love, Branch Davidians, strict Baptist, etc. The author was able to bring the story alive without offending any particular cult or religion because she seemed to bring to the table a mix bag of them. The brainwashing that you hear about is well played as the story progresses.
The story has a bit of shock value to it. You have an idea what the prayer circles are, but until you read this book you won't get the full jist of it. When you do, you will be angry and sickened and as the story goes on and you learn more, the angrier and disgusted you will get about them. The author sheds light on topics that are happening in the real world, past and present, and you will find yourself rallying along with Mia and Gabriel as they work to help overthrow the puppet and puppet master.
I was sucked into the story as soon as it started, the way the people described reminded my first and foremost and throughout most of the book are of the fundamentalist sec of the Mormon religion which broke away from the LDS church while the Reverend reminded me of a family members minister/pastor of their Baptist church, when I was a child. This intrigued me into reading even further and quickly the author snagged me for the haul. This curiosity mixed with the different layers of the story make for an interesting read.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a book with a religious message. This is a fictional story that has bits of mystery, thriller, killing, sex, romance, death, etc. This is a story through and through and I recommend it to anyone who likes any of what I had listed. I do suggest the reader be 15+ due to the nature of the sexual content that is not graphic, but the subject matter may be a bit heavy or confusing for those younger.
Why not a full five stars? Even though Mia wants out, I don't think she'd go along with Gabriel as fast as she did. Plus I think her attitude would have gotten her in trouble sooner than it did.