Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. The jury's still out regarding this book. On one hand, it started out with a compelling story, but then the plot unraveled and tidied up so quickly, it felt a bit rushed.
Before I start - huge spoiler here. The story doesn't progress naturally. The actual plot unravels as you get further into the story in flashbacks, because for some reason the author didn't think we could handle the truth in a straight fashion.
Colin is a member of a cult named the Descendants of God. Their leader, Taylor, is a horrible, sick man who instead of helping the poor and weak, preys on them. Throughout time, he's fashioned and molded Colin to take after him.
No matter how depraved, Colin blindly does whatever Taylor tells him to do - the lashes on his back a reminder of the times when he didn't. But that all changes when Annabel joins the commune.
Unlike many of the people who found their way to Taylor amid drug abuse, prostitution and the like, Annabel and her mother came to Taylor with the thought of doing good for the community. They thought to contribute by doing charity work, never knowing the danger they had walked into.
The next day after arriving into the commune, Annabel (a young teenager) is separated from her mother, who has mysteriously been taken ill with food poisoning. It was the last time Annabelle sees her alive.
Three weeks pass, and her only companion is Colin. Through this time, they bond and when Taylor asks Colin to take Annabel for himself, Colin realizes he can't bring himself to do anything to the innocent Annabel.
Colin and Annabel escape the compound, finding refuge with a lawyer named Conner, who takes them in as his children. Colin and Annabel act as if they are brother and sister, though they both harbor feelings for one another.
But that doesn't stop Colin from keeping up appearances - and this is where the story unravels for me - and he sleeps with half the town's women. The part that really grossed me out was when Annabel catches him in the act with someone else and she stays to see them. What???
Annabel also dates and invites the town loser and druggie, Jacob, to her 18th party, which drives Colin to a rage. Things spiral from there.
From reading the book, it seems as if Colin and Annabel are in hiding from Taylor, and almost fear being found. But then one day, Colin can't take being close to Annabel and he leaves. Annabel is desperate to search for him and conveniently finds Taylor's hideaway address (since Taylor's been hiding from the police) in Conner's office.
What?? Why was this so easy to find? And why didn't they call the police on Taylor? Anywho, Annabel goes off to the address, hoping to find Colin, but runs into Taylor.
In the meantime, Conner finds out where Annabel left to and locates Colin - who's been MIA for it seems like forever. Luckily, Colin happens to drop in at just the right moment.
The story then goes into fast forward let's-wrap-this-up-already mode and I'm left wondering, "Should I go back and re-read this? Did I miss something?"
Ugh - not bothering to. This just wasn't what I was expecting. Another book with an amazing cover that just didn't do it for me. :(
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