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Gated by Amy Christine Parker
Summary on Goodreads.
Why do people join “communities” (cults)? I would say that the psychological reasons vary but in general, it is because they are looking for a sense of belonging and to escape from some troublesome reality. Hum, yes, I have actually read a couple of non-fiction books about this.
In Gated, Lyla’s parents join Pioneer’s community because they want to escape their damaged lives, so Lyla grows up learning to worship Pioneer.
Pioneer… is he your usual cult leader? He is controlling and even cruel at times, all in the name of the love he has for his flock. We never learn for sure if what he felt was really love or a plain combination of paranoia and schizophrenia. I wish Parker had elaborated on that.
Anyways, the story starts three months before the end of the world... because visions have revealed to Pioneer when this is going to happen. He prepares the community to take shelter in a Silo they build; they will go inside when the end is near and will stay there for five years.
Meanwhile, Lyla has just a little healthy amount of doubt about going into this Silo; however, her doubts are not strong enough to question Pioneer’s visions and love. But just in case, and to make sure his flock understands the importance and urgency of the Armageddon, Pioneer gives them a good scare of what would happen if the end came and they were not ready.
Through the story, we see how, when one of the lambs questions the shepherd, they are “brought back” into line.
If you have never read anything about cults, Gated would be a good start. Once I passed the annoying part, I couldn't stop reading it!
Annoying part: Lyla can’t “kill” the practice targets used for them to learn to shoot. This was at the beginning of the book, and I felt that Parker made a big deal out of it. Well, at the end there is a connection between Layla and her inability to shoot to kill but, as I read this part in the beginning, I felt it was dragging too much.
Once you pass the beginning you will be immersed in a world of innocence and manipulation. Throughout the book, I was, “come on! How can you believe the world is going to end in three months?” I had to remind myself that Lyla wasn’t exposed to the outside world and all she knew was what she was taught, shown and told.
The romance is so sweet! No insta love, thank God.
Why is this book cataloged under dystopia in GR? I don’t think this is a dystopia at all! On the contrary, the story is very contemporary and realistic.
To sum, Gated was a lovely read that I couldn't put down.
Amy Christine Parker
"A tense psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for breath as you race to the very last page." Gretchen McNeil, author of TEN