I'm not really sure what to write. I always feel guilty recommending dystopian literature to other readers: "Read this dark, disturbing book because it's great and it'll make you feel awful!"
But it is a great dystopian story, like a blend of "Lord of the Flies" and something more supernatural. It took me a long time to believe the Holy Man wasn't spouting nonsense just to give himself a position of power or, at the very least, to rationalise the end-of-the-world events. In fact, I only starting believing at around the time Carla and Tully realised something sinister and odd was going on. It's quite a powerful technique to have the reader held at the same point as the characters rather than over-relying on dramatic irony. Many of the YA futuristic novels I consume give the reader too much insight and a significant portion of the tale is simply a case of waiting for the characters to catch up.
I can't say I enjoyed this novel as it isn't pleasant. The themes and the ideas are grim... and we're thrust into the darkness pretty quickly. Any moments of joy are because you find yourself celebrating the violent demise of characters you dislike, which then makes you doubt your moral code, leaving a foul taste in your mouth. There isn't any hope or light... but there shouldn't be, either, as it would be out of place.
No. I didn't *enjoy* the book but it was immensely satisfying and brilliantly written. I couldn't put it down as I needed to know, to see, to continue. Moreover, I have already purchased the sequels - guess I won't be doing much work this week!
Now I've finished it, I need a long walk in the sunshine, a pretty cocktail and a Disney movie to cheer up my brain.