A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
July 21, 2020  |  368 pages
(Read from Sep 3, 2020 to Sep 4, 2020)
Grade: B+    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 80% Entertainment, 20% Literature
Tags:
Writing Quality:
Low High
Originality:
Low High

Addictiveness:
Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Re-readability:
Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
Comment:
This is one of those stories that's difficult to pinpoint a genre...if dystopian, historical and fantasy got together and created a genre that is equal parts of each of them, that would be what this feels like to me. Maybe, we could call it fandystorian. And, I should add that this is also really dark, bloody, sort of depressing, but ultimately ends up having a ray of hope to it...and is totally worth the read/listen.  (+3 votes)