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Ethan Harker is the son of The Prophet, the stern, demanding leader of a small Southwestern polygamous community. Ethan has been groomed to one day take his place as the leader of this isolated cult.
But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the “evil” people in the outside world.
Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into
This is Ethan’s story. What you need to know about Ethan is that for most of his life he has been this incredibly obedient guy. Ethan is part of a religious community that lives practically separated from the rest of the world. In the book we are told that Ethan is the son of The Prophet, which means that one day Ethan will take his father’s place and become The Prophet.
I found the religious aspect of the book well worked. I have to confess that it was upsetting, though. I mean this in the sense that it was difficult to read about all the things that went on in that community. It was difficult to read about a man who used his people’s believes to manipulate them. It was very difficult to read about very submissive women, and children being abused (Note: none of this happens on page, it was still difficult to read and not to get angry).
I had thought that the religious aspect was going to take a big part in Ethan’s decisions, turns out that it wasn’t quite like that. One day, Ethan is out in town to buy some things and that’s how he spots Kyan. Kyan is the main reason why I picked up this book. You see, Kyan is an African American character, and I honestly think that we are lacking of diversity in this genre (well, lately I’ve seen many books with diverse characters, and that really makes me smile). I adored Kyan. I think he was my favorite in this book.
So, after Ethan suffered a major trauma within the community he decides to leave the place and become a sinner. Being out there he meets lots of pretty awesome people who are willing to help him and make him understand how the out side world works. The secondary characters are pretty good, they are strong and play an important role in the story. It was endearing to see Ethan discover the world. It was also interesting to see how he reacted when he learned that most of the things he’d been taught in the community were lies. It was refreshing to see that instead of flipping out and try to convince the others of the “truths” he had been taught, he embraced what he was told, and lived by it.
The romance aspect develops quite slow. Even though later on we are told that what Ethan and Kyan had for each other was a sort of love at first sight kind of thing, the author manages a slow burn, giving the MCs time to get to know each other and act on their feelings. Kyan knows he’s gay, and he’s out. Ethan has just discovered and come to terms with the fact that he likes boys. Once he is out of the community he comes to terms with his sexuality pretty quickly. On one side I loved this. I loved the fact that he just embraced who he really was and what he wanted, but on the other side it seemed to fairy taleish. With all the ideas he grew up with I honestly expected him to put a bit more of a fight and stuggle more.
On a side note: of the secondary characters is Bernie, a Mexican-American character that kept saying “vato” and “ese”. I’m not particularly fond of those words, but I don’t mind them here, what I did notice is that they were extremely overused. Aside from that, I think the Spanish aspect of the book was worked well.
All in all, the book is okay, but I struggled a lot to finish it. The fact that some of the topics discussed here were frustrating and a bit painful to read, combined with the fact that at times the book seemed to move too slow made me struggle a lot to finish. However, once the story picked up, the story started to flow better.