by Amy Christine Parker
Publication date: August 6th 2013
Source: eARC from publisher
Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?
In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:
Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.
Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound’s underground fortress–the Silo.
Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she’d rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.
Lyla’s family is emotionally wrecked after her sister, Karen, is kidnapped from right in front of their house at a young age. Then 911 happened and their faith in humanity was eradicated, except for the last hope they have in a man called Pioneer, who just happens to appear in their lives when they need someone the most. He convinces them and nearly twenty other families that he is a prophet, that the Brethren told him through visions that they are the chosen ones and he is there to protect them and lead them to salvation. Pioneer moves them all to a secluded location and begins to build a community where they keep the chosen ones in and the evil out – or is it the other way around?
Gated turned out to be even better than I imagined when I originally requested this title from NetGalley. I’ve never read a work of fiction about cults before, but I’ve always found the concept fascinating. How does one person get a large group of people to believe that they are chosen by some higher power and that he is their leader? Parker really blew me away with this one. I can’t believe this is a debut novel! While the pace isn’t lightening fast in the beginning, it is still very fluid and immensely captivating from page one. I was methodically lured into this pre-apocalyptic world, and it felt so real. I mean, something like this could actually happen, which makes it that much more engaging. Around the middle of the book I started biting my nails and from then on I was on the edge of my seat. The second half of this book is a wild ride to the depths of hell and back. I was so connected to the way their lifestyle had become that even the thought of Lyla doing something forbidden during her rare supply run had me squirming in my seat!
The characters are brilliantly written. The thoughts and feelings these characters are created with are very pragmatical. Lyla starts out as a fairly timid girl who has simply wanted to please her parents ever since her sister vanished. She is willing to do anything, including travel across the country and be brainwashed by a complete stranger, to provide the reassurance her parents need to keep on living. She comes out the other side of this mess a different person, though, and her character arc is quite impressive. Pioneer, well he just keeps you guessing the whole time. Is he a good person who actually believes in what he spouts to the group or is he evil incarnate? There are many secondary characters in this debut novel, including Will, the guy she has been slated to marry, and her best friend, Marie, who seems to like stirring the pot, and all are written with the same consideration. While there is some romance neatly tucked into the story, it isn’t at the forefront. The plot is more about the life of this cult community and the secrets kept locked within the gates than anything else.
I highly recommend Gated to fans of contemporary fiction with a twist. This one has a bit of everything – mystery, intense action, real life issues, and a bit of romance.
~About the Author~
AMY CHRISTINE PARKER earned her degree in elementary education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and then proceeded to try out many different jobs, including collectible doll maker, fondue waitress, and inner-city schoolteacher. It wasn’t until she became a mom and began making up bedtime stories for her children that she finally realized what she was meant to do. Now Amy writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat.
Amy’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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