After The Fire by Will Hill Review

 After The Fire by Will Hill Review liquid grainAfter the Fire by Will Hill is a truly enthralling Young Adult novel; base din a cult and so life-like I had to Google and see if it was based on a true story! 

But first, if you haven't read After the Fire - stop reading!  It is a great book to go into cold - I certainly did, I just liked the cover and started it!

Moonbeam, the narrator of After the Fire, was brought up in a cult.  Quite a stereotypically American, cuckoo-religious-lives-on-a-compound-with-no-so-subtle-threats-of-violence-culty-cult.  

The structure and context of the cult itself quite expected with a cast of mostly male men, supporting and enforcing the norms of the cult.  However, the events leading up to the Fire and the introduction and development of the characters (and particularly the children of the cult) was really interesting and kept me wanting more.  The scenes of the group therapy were really great - with the children all struggling to process the Fire and leaving the safe confines of the compound and their adults.  The impact of the outside world on the different children was really insightful, all the children seemed REAL unlike in other books and films.

I enjoyed the whole structure of the book - being split into Before The Fire and After The Fire, and being told through Moonbean's therapy sessions.  It was unusual and sometimes gave a disjointed pace but I liked it - it really built the anticipation of the event of the fire without rushing to it and missing all the development of characters. 

Overall, I would give the book a solid 4/5 - missing one star as I'm not sure how it would do on a re-read.  Part of the magic of the book was really Hill's selective and careful revealing of the characters and the plot. 

I listened to After The Fire on audiobook (affiliate link) and thought the narrator was a perfect Moonbeam!  If you want to try Audible, sign up here and get a freebie (affiliate link). 

I've also made a quick video of my thoughts on my YouTube channel here

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