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After the Fire

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  6,761 ratings  ·  1,176 reviews
The things I've seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.

But there are lies
Hardcover, 2nd edition, 464 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published June 1st 2017)
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Hannah When Moonbeam said this to Honey, she meant the first S in SSI- which stands for Supervised Social Interaction. Moonbeam was telling Honey that she kn…moreWhen Moonbeam said this to Honey, she meant the first S in SSI- which stands for Supervised Social Interaction. Moonbeam was telling Honey that she knew there were lots of things Honey needed to know, but Moonbeam couldn't tell her right then because they were being supervised.(less)
Kerry I think so, I'm 27 and mainly into thrillers (used to like YA back in the day but I find it too cringe now) and I really enjoyed it. It's interesting,…moreI think so, I'm 27 and mainly into thrillers (used to like YA back in the day but I find it too cringe now) and I really enjoyed it. It's interesting, yet easy going with good pacing. I wouldn't considering it YA to be honest.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,761 ratings  ·  1,176 reviews

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Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, ya-books, 2018
🏚 An intensely powerful story of survival after life in a cult. 🔥

The story is woven into Before and After the events of the fire that ultimately lead to the death and rescue of various Holy Church of the Lord's Legion cult members. Events are slowly revealed by Moonbeam. She shares what she is able to speak aloud daily in therapy sessions so her story comes out a bit disjointed but the process is authentic and works well within the story.

Moonbeam is a survivor. During her years in the Lord's L
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
After The fire is told in alternating timelines from "before the fire" and " after the fire". Moonbeam was a member of the Lord's Legion, which can best be described as a cult. Her parents joined when she was young and living inside the "fence" is all she has ever known. Before the fire, she was taught not trust outsiders and to only trust Father John who receives the word of God and is preparing the "cult" members for the final battle. After the fire, Moonbeam is in a facility where she is meet ...more
Sumit RK
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites

The Only Way Out Of Darkness Is To Destroy It.

First & foremost, If you have not read After the Fire yet, I advise you jump straight to it, without reading a single spoiler or review (incl this one) or even the synopsis, because this is one unmissable & unique experience. Having read many domestic thrillers, murder mysteries and detective stories, After the Fire truly stands out thanks to it’s unique story, some incredible characters and above all some brilliant writing.

Without giving awa
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
This was a book I’d lost on my Net Galley collection. So I thought I would take the opportunity to read this between books I planned this month.

I don’t know how I came to overlook ok this book because it’s intense.
It refers in sequence to “before” the fire and “after” the fire and when Moonbeam was fenced in.

This is all about a cult. Moonbeam was programmed to act accordingly.

I had to remind myself she was only 17 years old. What she’s been through no one should have to experience.

My best bit w
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Just fantastic!! I was hooked on this thriller from the very beginning!

This is a realistic and modern story of a US cult. The children and adults there have been brainwashed into fearing anyone outside their compound. Some of the children had never even seen Outsiders. It's fast paced with the timeline switching from "Before" to "After" frequently, but always in the same voice: our main character Moonbeam. She's had to endure way more than any teenager (or person) should ever have to. Her power
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Family, belief, control, isolation, survival.

I went into this pretty much blind - as usual I hadn't read the blurb. What I knew of it came courtesy of #SundayYA and from the little I did know, I was eager to get reading. Because everyone who had read After The Fire had only good things to say about it.

I loved the way the story weaved between Before and After, how it was slowly revealed. It wasn't in order, there was a lot of switching back and forth, but it was at no point confusing. Ra
Claude's Bookzone
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Update with CW: (view spoiler)

Well that made for a challenging but gripping read.

When reading about cults the two elements that strike me as the most interesting are the levels of control that leaders have over their communities, and the blind faith and devotion practiced by their followers. This book was a window into how control is exerted and devotion obtained. The threats
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free coy of After The Fire by Will Hill from NetGalley for my honest review.

I don't normally read YA books but I had read so many good reviews that I decided I wanted to request it. I am very glad I read it. A fantastic read!

This is a story that goes from past to present in regards to Moonbeam and how she deals with the aftermath of a fire that uprooted her entire life. She wakes up in a secured facility but is scared and doesn't know if she is safe.

Moonbeam is forced to be a part
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

“So many lives destroyed, and for what? So one man could be king of a patch of desert full of men and women who desperately wanted to believe in something.”

I’m running out of days of the year so let’s knock another review out real quick. Basically, After the Fire is a fictionalization of what is an absolutely unforgettable moment in history to people my age . . . . .

The story takes place literally “after the fire” w
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an absolute triumph. It's tough, moving, brace, honest. Moonbeam is an incredible main character and she is surrounded by repulsive characters and incredibly grave characters. I loved every second of this book. It's tense and intense. Totally worth reading. What a journey. ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wow, this was great!!!

Review to come!
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to imagine one person being able to completely control the thoughts and actions of a crowd, but it happens, the hive mentality can provide a safe haven for some. Is that a failing of society? Of parenting? Of mentoring? How does an immoral vulture choose his victims?

Will Hill’s AFTER THE FIRE is a raw and telling look into the power of manipulation, brainwashing of the innocents and the aftermath of “freedom.” Although fictitious, this saga mimics the true story of the Branch Dividians
Lisa-Books Smiles
4.5 stars
I was immediately sold on reading this book the second I found out that it was about a cult. There is something so mysterious about a cult that really draws me in. A fascination to discover how people live in them and what it is that draws their faith. I had heard brilliant things about After the Fire and so I dived straight in after receiving the book as a birthday gift.

Will Hill certainly does not mess around with his writing and this is such a well crafted story of faith and the way in which
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I don't think it was dealt with enough depth or research. I don't think it was even revised enough times - the last chapter where we find out what the main character actually did is kind of obvious but is not integrated into the story. The only up sides to the story were the voice of the main character, which was plausible and the overall idea, which was fascinating even if the execution kind of ruined it. ...more
Ashley Drumm
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: will-hill
What an emotional read!! Told thru the eyes of a 17 year old girl surviving a cult.. Highly recommend!!! I throughly enjoyed every page turned.
Ruthy lavin
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, I couldn’t put this down - what a story!
This book is just amazing, I haven’t got this excited about a book for ages.
I’m new to Will Hill’s work but I am now a confirmed huge fan - such is the brilliance of this story.
I love the main character and the alternating style of writing In past and present tense works so well.
My heart is still aching and I’m gutted the book has ended :(
An easy peasy and very worthy 5 stars 🌟
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an excellent story about a girl that grew up in a cult. It tells her story in two timelines: before and after the fire. The fire separates her time living in the cult and her time spent in a hospital speaking with Dr. Hernandez and Agent Carlyle.

The author did a fabulous job of showing the internal struggle of our our young MC, Moonbeam. Throughout the book you are hearing her thoughts as well as what she actually says to the doctor and agent. They do not always coincide, whi
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super intense and really chilling YA. I was hooked from the first page and didn't want to put it down until I was done.

I've come to expect a lot from Will Hill's writing after loving his Department 19 series despite not particularly being a fan of vampire stories or gore he had had me hooked. This book is completely different content wise but hooked me in much the same way with the intense writing style and an intriguing storyline.

Moonbeam's story is a fascinating one. We meet her as the police
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-read-books
Fantastic!! I was hooked from the beginning! If you like books about cults,I highly recommend this one!
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Moonbeam was a member of the Lord's Legion cult until a fire destroyed the cult compound. She, and the other members, had lived totally controlled by cult leader Father John. As the fire is investigated, facts about the cult, its leader and members, and daily life in the compound are revealed.

Although this book is a little confusing at first, as Moonbeam reveals more and more about the compound and cult before and after the fire, the story becomes more clear. She is a strange and disturbing mai
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Tl;dr: Well written and sensitive account of a teenage girl who is a survivor of a government raid on the cult where she was raised. Will especially resonate with those who remember what happened in Waco, Texas (which is adult readers)

Although After the Fire is classified as a young adult novel and I do think the mc, Moonbeam, and what she goes through will be interesting to teen readers, I think that adults who renember what happened at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, will actually
Nicole M. Hewitt
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

If, like me, you’re fascinated by stories about cults, this book will be just what you’ve been searching for. It explores what happens to people after they leave a cult environment—in this case, unwillingly. I love that the book looks at all sides of the life that Moonbeam (the MC) led while she was a member. There were horrors, but she has fond memories of some aspects of her early life too. And I loved seeing the wor
Meredith Mara
Gripping. Ridiculously amazing. Loosely based on the 1993 standoff between the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas, and Federal Agents, After the Fire is an incredible read about love, hope, loss, and courage. And, bookies, the last book that left me feeling so profoundly impacted was Michelle Obama's, Becoming. The story is that of seventeen-year-old Moonbeam. Moonbeam's a survivor of the fire that tore through her isolated community. The fire that "freed" her from the religious cult in which she w ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was good. Not much different than one of the other cult-like books I read in the past, except this was a little less violent/disturbing.

Really the only thing that got me while reading was the way the main character spoke, which felt jarring given the character she was supposed to be. Not to mention the way Carlyle talked to her, with the casualness of a twenty-one year old. (imagine my surprise when I read he had a wife and daughter).

But, the characters were great, plot flawless. And it was
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

I am going to keep this vague because I think it adds to the story so I won't use the main character name.

She awakes in the hospital, she knows there was a fire, she tried to get the children out, and she had to rely on the government to help her. She isn't sure who to trust because Father John always said that they Outsiders lie, but she knows that he lied too so maybe she could tell them some of the things
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wow. What an incredibly powerful and emotional book. Moonbeam has spent most of her life with a religious cult. The book starts with a fire at the compound and a fight between its residents and the Government, whom the leader always said was out to get them. Moonbeam then spends time at a facility, where she describes her life to a psychiatrist and an FBI agent and she has group interactions with fellow survivors. The therapy wa
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
❐ Overall Rating 4¼ | Narration 4¼
❐ Cult Life
❐ Told in Present Tense and Flashbacks
❐ Single POV
❐ Realistic Fiction

For me, this felt like a very realistic portrayal of life in a commune and of life after the commune. I find books about cults fascinating...I love to see how each author tackles this subject matter. From the brainwashing to the Polygamy and everything in between.

While told from the point of view of a teenage girl around sixteen or seventeen this is still a compelling an
This was an absolutely stunning, beautiful, OMG what did I just read, book, and I would HIGHLY recommend it to everyone.

About a cult, about what happens after when everything goes up in flames, about faith, about so much more. I will try my best to write a review, but bare with me as I am still overflowing with emotions about this book.

The book starts with how the cult ended, how our MC, Moonbeam, got in the care of doctors and therapists. What happened during those moments of fire, bullets, an
Shawna P.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-favorites
As someone who was raised pretty religious, I found this book appalling! No, I am just kidding. I actually need to catch my breath and process my brain. The first part of my review is entirely true, but I have a weird fascination with cults. I have read some other books about cults, but seriously, I had freaking NIGHTMARES from this one. Father John is one of the most evil and conniving characters ever and makes Voldemort look like a pussycat.

Moonbeam is one of thew few survivors of the
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After The Fire: Book Review 1 7 Oct 30, 2019 08:36PM  

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Before quitting his job in publishing to write full time, Will Hill worked as a bartender, a bookseller and a door-to-door charity worker. He grew up in the north-east of England, is scared of spiders, and lives in east London with his girlfriend. He is a big fan of cats.

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“[...] nothing is ever only good and nothing is ever only bad. Everything is somewhere in the middle.” 6 likes
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