Quick note: I read this book in November of 2013 and recently borrowed the second book in this series from my library. I loved the first book and have decided to share my review of it that I wrote on Goodreads. There will be some spoilers in this review.
Katie is an Amish girl and soon she will be on Rumspringa, which is a time when Amish teenagers are allowed to experience the English and decide whether joining the Amish Church is really for them.
Katie has been waiting for Rumspringa, for her chance to experience things like movies and other things not allowed by the Amish. She’s happy that Elijah will be there to experience it with her.
But before she knows it, Katie’s dreams of experiencing the Outside are taken from her. Something has happened Outside and no one knows what, but just that it is something terrible.
The Elders decide to close the gates: no one comes in or goes out. A young man is found outside one of the fences injured and the Elders refuse to help him as he is from the Outside. And though she knows it goes against the rules, Katie helps him and brings him into the barn where he can recover.
But what has Katie risked by doing this? Is her community doomed because of her actions? And what is really out there?
I became interested in reading this last year after reading the book description. I haven’t read any of the reviews and so I didn’t know what had caused the apocalypse or the end of the world (whichever you want to call it) in the book.
But creatures in this book are vampires and they are definitely not friendly ones. They will kill and they do. And Katie is the one we see this through. She was a young Amish woman getting ready for Rumspringa before this happened. Her life drastically changes. She’s always been a bit rebellious and that’s nothing unusual, but since the gates were closed, she’s having to keep more and more secrets from her family. And at one time she had Elijah to talk to, but when he decided to join the church, that ended. He changed.
Throughout the book Katie is struggling with her Amish beliefs about things and how she feels about what is happening and the decisions of the Elders.
I really like Katie. She’s a strong character and easy to relate to, even if you’re not Amish or former Amish. She struggles as most people do, she’s trying to find herself and yet, keep her family happy and do what’s expected of her. But it’s hard for her because what Katie’s parents want for her life isn’t what she wants.
Alex, Ginger and the Hexenmeister are all great characters. Unlike the Elders and other Amish in the book, the Hexenmeister doesn’t seem to think badly of the English or that what is happening is even their fault. I liked it when he said the Amish are not anymore pure than anyone else.
Katie’s parents were good characters too. I think they tried their best to be patient with Katie and understanding, but I don’t think they really could understand their daughter. Although she was raised Amish, she wasn’t like them. They felt they had to do what was best for her, even if it meant to force it upon her. I don’t agree with it, but I think they were doing it in hopes of protecting her.
I liked Elijah at first, but he became a different person very quick. Definitely not a fan of him. And I find it funny at the end of the discovery who really let evil in their community. I won’t spoil it in my review though.
Really amazing book. Great, unique story with great characters. I can’t wait to read the second one.