Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much--if you don't count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man choose for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle--who already has six wives--Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 70/70
Cussing: Some, but very, very sparse.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Not much.
Sexual Content: Some brief discussion, etc. But this it is all very euphemistic.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Murder, incest, child abuse, beating, torture, polygamy, marriage of girls to old men, forced marriage, teen (and younger) pregnancy. This book is scary. Recommended only for mature audiences.
Trying to find words for this book is...difficult. It is a painful novel to read. Painful and powerful. I cried pretty much from the beginning until the end, and they were tears of hurt, tears of hate. I felt for this book, for Kyra, so profoundly. The tortured, desperate voice of the whole story, the overwhelming realism of it... It was incredible.
Kyra is such a pure, real character. Her torrential emotions and words and actions were just so dynamic, so potent for a girl so young, in such a tragic situation. Carol Lynch Williams has created a character who will crawl under your skin and capture your heart. She will disillusion you, make you see polygamy and life on a Compound for what it really is--a truly screwed-up place where love and fear flourish side by side. Williams and Kyra are a formidable pair, and from them flows a tidal wave of power, enough to put you on your knees.
Williams' writing is amazingly lyrical and fluid. It flows seamlessly from prose to poetry, adding art to the tragic words. She captures a desperate, hopeless situation in such an innocent young girl--a girl who wishes death on her beloved leader yet faces death herself for falling in love. Thirteen years old, and already she is more of a woman than most of us will ever be.
An insightful, intense, compelling story that will fill your heart with melancholy and amazement, and that you won't soon forget. Everyone should read it. You should read it.