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After the Fire

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  1,773 Ratings  ·  438 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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Liam Not really. The main character has a crush on another character but accepts that it's never going anywhere. The cult leader has a number of wives but…moreNot really. The main character has a crush on another character but accepts that it's never going anywhere. The cult leader has a number of wives but it's never presented in a romantic way. (less)
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(Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
🏚 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

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 givi
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
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
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.
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
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 🌟
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
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
Rosanna Threakall
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5* !
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
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
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.
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
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
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review by Usborne Publishing UK.

Another version of this review can be found here.

Inspired by a real-life American cult, After the Fire is a story of survival of a girl who has lost everything she was brought up to believe in as her world. Read on to see just why you must pick this gripping novel up as soon as possible!

"Bad and good, False and true: they're the opposite ends of a whole spectrum of behaviour, not the only two things a person can be. Becau
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This book! A mess of emotions and confusion and pain, I swear, but if you're up for the journey and some highkey messed up people, then it's all yours.

I've been seeing this running theme between books I've been reading recently. A surge of previously less well-used narrations, that is. After the Fire is told in a past-present alternating way, with the past scenes revealed in a not necessarily effortless way. At times, I did find myself focusing more on the structure of the gradual revelations th
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I need time to think about this!! This was all I wrote immediately after reading the book.

To start with I will say I was already a HUGE Will Hill fan. I received a proof of Dept 19 whilst working at waterstones and hounded the publishers every year to receive either a proof or advanced finished copy of the next book because I was so damn invested in the characters in the series.
Therefore I knew I already loved his writing and was very intrigued by this book.
The opening passages are intense and
Kate Vocke
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, arc
Give me a book about cults, real or fictional any day and I will devour it faster than you can say "Scientology!"

After the Fire is fascinating. I always wonder about those poor people in these situations, so brainwashed and suckered into believing these lunatics - what would happen if they ever "got out?" THIS tells that story - and it's even more chilling and disturbing, as it's largely a group of young kids, struggling to make sense of these strangers, these new objects and surroundings, and n
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


Since I basically never read synopses (or even titles apparently), I went into After the Fire not knowing it was more a psychological expose on cults and the aftermath than a thriller. This is in no way a bad thing, just worth a mention in case you are like me and pay attention to nothing. But yeah, I have wanted to read this book for ages, since before it even came out in the UK. And
Trigger warnings: death, gun violence, psychological manipulation, slut shaming, mentions of child abuse, suicide, misogyny, murder, fire.

I've read a few YA books involving cults over the past year or so, and I honestly don't know when that became a weirdly specific sub-genre of YA, but whatever. This, as the author says in his afterword, is inspired by the events at Waco in 1993.

The story begins with the FBI showing up and the members of the cult fighting back, leading to a lot of deaths. Our
E L E A N O R (bookishcourtier)

Okay, so with the last book I am going to be reading on this list, I have changed my mind - THIS is now the book that I think should win the Carnegie Award 2018. And, unlike Encounters, this one has made it onto the shortlist. So, I have high hopes. I just had such a great time reading this which I can't say for many of the books on this longlist. It was a really riveting story and I think it had a lot to say for itself. It was also really different from what
Stefani Sloma
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was SO good. I could not put it down. After the Fire was intense, suspenseful, horrifying, tough...and honestly? Really mesmerizing. I've always been super interested in cults and how their leaders convince people to follow them, so this was a great read for me.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After the Fire weaves a heartbreaking story of one teens life before and after being rescued from the Holy Church of the Lord’s Legion, a Texas cult lead by Father John. Moonbeam is only seventeen years old, but for most of her life she has lived in the Lord’s Legion and has been taught to never trust Outsiders as they only want to hurt, torture or kill you. The Government is to be feared and the only people one can trust is your fellow brothers and sisters. Father John, The Prophet, expects loy ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
My review can also be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress...

Three words to describe this book – survival, perseverance and control.

You cannot help but very many different emotions while reading this book. It sucks you in from the very first page, and holds your interest throughout as you turn the page to read what will happen next. A very compelling and powerful story of survival, perseverance, control and the fight for freedom. Cleverly written through to the very power
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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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“Love changes how you see everything. It blinds you, but in a good way.” 1 likes
“[...] nothing is ever only good and nothing is ever only bad. Everything is somewhere in the middle.” 0 likes
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