As a former Mormon and someone who has a particular fascination with cults, this book really struck a chord with me. There are a lot of books being released lately that deal with women being reduced to second-class citizens whose only function is to make babies. And I would be lying if I said it wasn't timely and needed. But so many of those stories treat it as only a possibility, a reality reserved for a post-apocalyptic world. What I really love about this one is that it grounds the concept back into something real. People forget that there ARE cults operating today, that there ARE religious groups who treat women as subservient and incapable of governing themselves. I myself was literally told that the greatest thing I could possibly accomplish in my life was to be a mother. Which is not to say being a mom is not amazing but if I have the capability to cure cancer that seems like a slightly bigger deal. But I digress.
For female people like me who have seen and tasted the reality where our gender affects what we are allowed to do, books like this are so important. It helps us know that not everyone has forgotten this is still a problem. It helps us know that someone else out there is aware that sexism is still alive and well in its most insidious forms. And even if it is hiding in the desert under the guises of religious freedom, that doesn't make it any less insidious.
As far as the writing itself, I was pleased. It didn't try too hard to sound archaic or old fashioned, but it also didn't sound too hip and current for the story. It lent itself perfectly to telling this story of a desert religious commune cut off from the outside world. I also particularly like that the author uses real Bible quotes. It increases the realness and drives home how easily these passages can be taken out of context by people looking to serve their own interests.
I think my only complaint is that so far the characters seem a tad generic, though I'm sure that as we learn more about their backgrounds, particularly Aaron's as an "outsider", it will add more development.
Overall this book seems to be an awesome, realistic portrayal of the systemic oppression that takes place in fanatical religions across the world, and I am happy this story is being told.