Above. Click to read a review that really explains this book's true power.
You never know when darkness is going to cross your path.
Lydia Allison Cantrell was a beautiful child from a seemingly loving family when all hell broke loose. The person who was supposed to love her and protect her from the evils of the world betrayed her in the worst way possible.
For years Lydia endured the horrors of her father’s abuse, finding her only solace in her beloved books, and a pure affection from her friend Michael. Until a day came when something, a small flame of a thing began to wake within her.
Now, as the flame grows, it threatens to consume not only her but those around her as well, both innocent and guilty. Lydia must choose vengeance or mercy, realizing that both come with a cost that might be too much to pay for a girl so young.
Immolation is an intense book. It is not for the faint of heart. The protagonists are teenagers, but this is no "young adult" novel. The language and plot themes are way too strong for young readers, though unfortunately, this book touches on topics that many young people endure on a daily basis. Bullying, self-mutilation, incest, domestic abuse, drug addiction... Immolation will certainly make the reader squirm at times, but these elements are not rolled out merely for shock value. Sam Reese paints a very real portrait of conflicted teenage angst and trauma, along with a heaping helping of horror and violence.
I visited with Sam tonight. He is a good writer and Immolation is about many things...it's a good book...but part of it deals with a very difficult topic: abuse. It's always hard to deal with a topic like this, but Sam does deal with, and he does so with a delicate, sensitive touch. At JEA, we don't accept books that glorify rape.abuse, or anything illegal. It's how we are. This book does not glorify child abuse, but uses it to serve as a catalyst for the real story. This is a cautionary tale, a horror story, a frightening look at abuse, but it is also a story that is very real. Readers have called this a "beautiful story" and the reviews are excellent. My thoughts are that it takes a special kind of writer to take on a very profound topic and a hot button topic) and keep the honesty. and then weave it into a story that captivates.
I fee this is a book for the intelligent reader, and one that will break hearts, but still engage. What? That is confusing, isn't it? Immolation is brutal in some ways. But it is also about power and coming to terms with that power, morality, and strength. A reader won't put it down. That's just a fact. And when the book is done, there will be emotions. I feel that is what makes this shine. Reese doesn't apologize for dealing with a very real heartache. He doesn't shy away. He handles it all well, tells the tale, and then gives his character power. Literally. Will some be upset? Yes. Will some be confused? Yes. Will some be shocked? You bet. But overall, everyone will remember this.
A story that leaves us emotionless is useless, to me. Give this a shot. Appreciate the honesty, and admire the power within the words. Few authors can manage this balance.
Sam Reese and Immolation is about power...but in ways unexpected.
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