The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.
Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.
This book was interesting from the start and I found myself curious, but not as in love with the characters as I wanted to be. I was enamored with the surroundings and with this kinda being a cult-sounding thing. Six kids are confined to a small, ramshackle house in the woods. These kids are strange, with strange names and they live the by the rule of God, told to them by their father. All of that sounds so strange and weird, but since I love weird, I wanted to give this one a shot.
Normally, I stay away from books that have a religious component, but I usually make an exception with books like this. Probably because books like this one sound so much like they could be considered cult-ish, and I am so fascinated with cults and I always have been.
Gosh, the atmosphere was so intriguing and I credit Wass big time for helping me feel like I was in the woods with these five kids. The writing was great, and I just loved how descriptive it was. Very few books can make me feel afraid, panicked or terrified like this one did. Wass was able to scare the hell out of me. Loved that!
With a book like this, I was most interested in the characters. Castley’s naivete would have ordinarily driven me insane, but given how she had grown up, I had to make some allowances, and I did like her in spite of her naivete. I enjoyed watching her realize that there was a whole world out there aside from her shack in the woods with her dad and siblings. I was really happy to see her character develop as the book unfolded. I do wish I had gotten more development for Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Jerusulem, Delvive though. I was so curious about them and I don’t feel like enough time was spent on them.
I do wish we had gotten more from their father. I wanted so much more from him. I wanted more about his reasons for doing what he did in the end. I wanted more backstory on him. So the character development for their father was definitely lacking and that really disappointed me because I felt like Wass could have delved deeper into the father’s motives.
The plot was well thought out and the pace was super fast, but in a book like this, it has to be. So I wasn’t bothered by how fast the book was. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the plot was executed. I found no glaring plotholes or anything like that.
I wish I could give this book more stars, but the lack of character development for the five siblings and the father is really bothering me. Also, I wanted just a bit more from the ending. I felt a bit let down from the ending we actually got. I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy it, but I did enjoy parts of it, just not as much as I wanted to.