The town of Greenville, Utah, is dominated by the Septosect religious cult and its leader Harrison who has ambitions for increasing his religious control over the area. Living amidst the threat of a fatal virus, which could take a whole horde of people at a time, the members of the cult look to the Septosect’s ideals as a way of life, hoping that a divine entity will spare them from their doomsday. They are trapped by Harrison’s reminder that leaving the town would mean divine condemnation.
Deception about the virus, fake news and religious fervour keep the community isolated, but the death of a young girl leads to suspicions over the motives of Harrison. Living amidst the virus makes life feel desperate for Greenville’s community members, who feel that each passing month is precious but futile. The cult members must choose to believe if the seven principles of the Septosect will lead them to the truth, or to their deaths.
I am so entirely grateful for Team LitPR (@literallypr) for inviting me on to this tour and for sending me a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.
I am not usually one for reading short stories but I was eager to give this one a try with it being so topical. The theme of a virus is so apt at the moment that I couldn’t pass the opportunity to read this novella by. It also helps that I am fascinated by cults (but in no way want to join one!).
For a novella I felt that this story had so much depth to it. There were so many layers to this plot that it almost felt as though I had been reading a book at least over 200 pages, which I loved! I was so engrossed and lost in the story line which is unusual for me when reading short stories as I never usually feel like I can truly delve into the plot before it ends.
The characters that Anna created had real depth and although not all of them were likeable, they all played such an important role. I loved the different points of view that the story was told from and I think this really helped to flesh out the plot. Seeing the cult from all sides was very engaging. The different headings for the chapters which then matched the theme of the chapter was a very clever move from Anna and one which did not go unnoticed!
I read this novel in one sitting and filled my evening so well. My only small issue is that I love an ending with no lose ends. This is a personal complaint as I know so many people love to end a story themselves or try to work out what happened. I would have preferred an ending that was wrapped up with a bow. However, I am also not sure that such an ending would have suited this novella and therefore I don’t know what I would have expected in an ending, but selfishly I would have liked more clarity.
Anna is a very accomplished writer already and I cannot commend her enough for writing this and doing her A Levels at the same time! I know how tough they are so to have also been published in this time is no small feat. Well done Anna!!
If you are looking for a novella to get you out a slump this one is for you! It is an amazingly well-rounded read that will keep you on your toes, and I know you will read it in one sitting too. I can’t wait to see more from Anna and will definitely be picking up her work in the future.