Because my mind is shattered too!
About the book
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.I’ll do my best to translate my shattered thoughts about this book into some intelligent words…
So I’ll do my best to translate my shattered thoughts about this book into some intelligent words…
This book started so awesome! And then… ugh!
I think the best way to explain it is like this…
Take a very valuable porcelain vase. That valuable vase is the plot: religious fanaticism.
Then, with the brushes of very good writing, paint this bizarre, byzantine religious scene:
An utterly deranged fanatic father exercising total control over his six children. Make the characters very unique, starting with the names of the six kids: Baby Jerusalem, Castley, Mortimer, Hannan, Caspar, and Delvive. Make them totally haunted, terrified and desperate. Add a mom in a wheelchair [because something happened to her, which is one of the many mysteries] that doesn’t even speak. She doesn’t see or talk to them.
Then paint this striking imagery of their father’s visions around this family: Below them the eternal flames of hell that the father assures them will consume them if they don’t follow his fanatic rules [which include incest!]. Above them a celestial stairway to a completely unattainable heaven.
Then add villagers [friends at school] around them pointing and laughing and them, calling them weirdos.
I know it sounds disturbing, but imagine it all as a VERY exquisite work of art. Because it is. All of it. The writing, the premise, the story, the characters…
Now take this exquisite vase and drop it so it shatters in gazillion pieces.
Then try to glue them together. It will never look the same right? You can always see the edges of the pieces and gaps because some very small pieces are missing.
That’s how I felt reading this book!
So brilliant! So unique! So beautifully written! But so disjointed!
This book could have easily been a five-star, had it flowed smoother.
It wrapped me in so much awesomeness! So much darkness, and weariness, and creepiness, and despair.
I felt like a constant screeching of metal on metal in my head! In a good way!
The characters were great too. I especially loved the six children. Their lives were so murky but they were so beautiful, like delicate violets sprouting in the mud.
Then… around 70% into it became so frustrating! It was sooo weird the way the scenes flowed that my mind ended up shattered too!
Scenes would have a plot device that will keep you guessing, or even terrified. Then it would reach a climax, and puff! End! Just like that! Leaving the issue unresolved! And then a new mini drama would start in the next scene and they would have NOTHING to do whatsoever with each other.
For example… there is one scene when you are SURE that finally the father will be caught doing something terrible to one of his kids. There is people in the place where he wants to take this child but he doesn’t know it. But the child DOES know there will be people there. So the entire scene is about the child hoping that finally their father will be stopped. So all this anticipation is built for paragraphs! You are holding your breath, clasping your hands, waiting for WHATEVER IT IS that is gonna happen. Would the father get away with murder? Would someone finally stop him? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN???
Well… I don’t want to spoil it for you but you will never find out because the scene ends and then the next one starts like nothing happened and you are like…. huh???? Wasn’t he going to punish the child? I guess he didn’t huh? Not a word or thought from the child either, not even something like “Phew! Thank god my dad is like Dory and forgot what we were doing in the previous scene”
Nope! The child is like Dory too!!
OMG! UGH. UGH. UGH. SO FRUSTRATING!!!
I do recommend this book though. The first 70% is so worth it and makes up for all the weirdness at the end. Here are the Goodreads updates..
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