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Ayza, Swanshurst School

After the Fire

May or may not contain spoilers depending on your definition of spoilers!

Going into this book, I expected a story about polygamy and people who lived backwards lives, what I got instead was what some people might call a cult, where although the lives being led were quite modern, the oppression and manipulation existing in the compound was something beyond my wildest imagination. In all honesty, that scared me. It downright terrified me how things could exist that I couldn't even begin to imagine; because your imagination usually contains creatures and events that could never possibly come true, however the fact that people like Father John exist is the true representation of the unpredictability of the human race.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes and no. I enjoyed how the story was written and the storyline, but how does one enjoy abuse after abuse being subjected towards innocent people, whose only fault was searching for spirituality? You open this book and immediately you're faced with people who have been manipulated to think that everyone outside the Base is "The Servant Of The Serpent" and that the walls around the compound keep the evil at bay. When, in fact, it is the exact opposite. The evil is inside, the evil is Father John and he is grooming everyone into excepting sexism and preaching false lies, saying that God isn't forgiving. If you aren't a religious person, you don't understand how completely infuriating that is, knowing that God forgives all sins and having these people believe the exact opposite is enough to bring one to tears.

One of the things that triggered me the most was how young girls were being betrothed to the "Prophet" and were expected to marry him upon reaching the age of 18. These innocent girls who thought they would be helping a noble cause would be moved into the Big House upon marriage and be expected to allow several men to "have their way with them" and then keep quiet and pretend the offspring is Father John's. Mothers, whether they were oblivious or not, were willingly shoving their daughters into a life of unending trauma and they couldn't refuse for they would be renounced by the Legion and called "heretics". An example of this can be seen on page 336 when Honey "wails" because she is desperate not to go through with the marriage and Father John is so furious that he exclaims, "This is the daughter you have raised Astrid? This Heretic, who would deny the will of The Lord?" This former quotation is a prime example of Father John manipulating innocent people in order to satisfy his own sadistic and perhaps even paedophilic desire: using the threat of "The Lord".

In conclusion, I believe that this book should be read by everyone, but people should wait until they are old enough, because it wouldn't be morally correct to expose a young child to such themes. Nevertheless, this book should be read to learn about what horrors lie within our world and to help prevent the indoctrination of innocent lives, because otherwise events can happen that you can't even begin to fathom.

Posted on: 29th April 2018 at 04:24 pm

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