Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: HarperCollins Australia

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.

And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it's clear Minnow knows something. But she's not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of; if she is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Powerful and compelling. this remarkable and brave debut novel reveals the terrible dangers of blind faith. And the importance of having faith in yourself.
Review by Nara

Well, that was certainly one unique book. Unique premise, unique protagonist and a mystery that has you continually second guessing yourself as you try to work out: what happened to Minnow?

I have to admit, a lot of this book just made me angry. There were several sections where the way the Prophet spoke just had me shaking my head, and I honestly literally couldn't read one or two sections where it was just too much and made me too angry. The things these people believe and the things they do are just ridiculously extreme. I guess it's kind of a good thing I felt so angry, because it's clearly what the author wants- she's not portraying reasonable people. She's showing us what happens when you take your beliefs to a level that isn't healthy.

At the same time though, the only strong emotion I felt while reading this book was anger. I didn't feel any sort of other emotion, even with all the brutal things that were happening to the characters- I sort of had this detachment where I wasn't able to truly empathise with the characters. That's probably the only reason this book doesn't get a higher rating from me, because the writing is pretty good, the characters are interesting and the mystery is compelling.

While the mystery had you flipping the pages of this book as fast as possible, there was definitely also an aspect of the plot which focused on Minnow's growth and her struggle to adjust to a life without the Kevinian cult. It certainly raises a lot of questions about what defines your beliefs, and what sorts of things it takes to shake them. It's a bit odd, but Minnow being in juvenile detention is almost beneficial for her, especially with her making a new friend in a fellow inmate, Angel, who supports her in a strange camaraderie.

To be honest, I feel like it's best if you go into this book somewhat blind. Which is why I won't say too much more in this review. There's certainly a reason why people have been rating this book so highly, and I suggest you give it a read so you can find out for yourself what that reason is.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5