Stars: 1 out of 5.
DNF at 35%.
This is definitely not for me. I don’t deal well with religious drama, cults, and religious zealots, and while I was told that the book eventually moves past that, I just didn’t feel the strength to slog through that part of the story to get to the interesting bits. I put this book away and picked it up so many times, I finished 3 other books in the meantime. And I had to force myself to pick it back up every time. The only reason I stuck with it so long is because it’s an advanced copy. I usually feel obligated to at least make it through a quarter of a book I received for review before I call it quits.
Religious oppression and violence is not the only reason I couldn’t finish this book. I can’t stand the main protagonist. I also don’t understand her motivations. The choices she makes don’t makes sense. She is so pious and ready to become a saint, and judgmental of anyone she considers not pious enough, especially her mother… then she decides that she wants to find the Devil? Hmmm, why exactly? How a barely remembered story (that ended badly, by the way) would make her think that confronting the Devil would save her village? Why is she willing to commit theft and perjury for that?
There are a lot of her other choices and behaviors that made me shake me head in dismay. And they made me like her even less. For someone who sees herself as a sort of paragon of piety and virtue, she is extremely judgmental and unkind to everyone who she sees inferior to her. That’s especially glaring towards her fellow saints and her sister. I’m sorry, but I can’t possibly root for someone this unlikeable.
The worldbuilding is wobbly at best. I can’t even picture how this village lives. What kind of technology do they have? How do they feed themselves? What do they wear? How do they craft their tools? Nothing. The explanation about Extasia is also rather unsatisfying.
I’ve seen a lot of raving reviews for this book on Goodreads, but for me, it was a disappointment.
PS: I received an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.