Published by: Random House Chilren's
Release date: 6th August 2013
I got it from: Netgalley
Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen 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.
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 kind of blew me away. It's different to anything I've ever read before. It's deep, it's chilling, it makes me question things, and it's a bit amazing. That said, I really don't know how to write about it.
It's written in the first person, present tense. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. This time it does - it really, really works. We are there with Lyla, every step of the way. We feel what she feels, because Parker gives us the little clues and details that are essential to us in order to share Lyla's thoughts.
Lyla is a girl who is on the cusp of becomming who she is meant to be. Many kids go through childhood an their teen years being that kid, the one that everyone thinks they are, just doing what's expected of them. And then there's a point, maybe not even a significant one, maybe just an ordinary day, when things start to change. That's exactly where Lyla's at. She's been Little Owl, the quiet, meek one who watches, forever. Then one day she starts to think that maybe that isn't who she really is. Because of the kind of life she has, changing and blossoming into her own person means a lot more than it would for any teen in a normal situation. Thinking for herself is a dangerous thing for Lyla.
Cody is the catalyst to Lyla's change. If she hadn't met him, talked to him, I'm not sure how things would have gone. He's an incredibly important character, but he don't actually see very much of him. He's pivotal to the story going a certain way, but we never really get to know him. Even so, he, like all of the characters, feels very real.
The community that Parker has built feels very solid and real. I'm sure she's done a lot of research into cults, and she made it easy to see how people can be drawn in. Pioneer, the leader, was a scary character. Very charismatic, with the talent for saying things in such a way that people want to hear them and will believe them. I'm sure it takes a certain kind of person, in a certain situation, to be taken in by what seems like a completely unbelievable yarn, and the way Parker presented Lyla's family, lost after the disappearance of Lyla's sister, made me able to believe that yes, weak people or people who have lost their strength for whatever reason, are easily preyed upon and persuaded. I had the feeling that Lyla's father was never completely on-board, but for the sake of his wife he went along with it.
There are lots of twists and turns, but they're subtle enough not to scream at you. Parker is a seriously talented writer. She has that rare talent for getting inside your head and making you look at things in a certain way. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.