Halcyon by Rio Youers

The Lovegrove family is desperate to find answers. On the surface, they are a typical American family: Laura is an English teacher at the local public high school. Martin is an architect working on the plans for a new shopping mall. Sheila is your average teenager, more interested in her social media accounts than listening to her parents. Ten-year-old Edith is a sweet girl who is afflicted with unnerving night terrors. But when one of her episodes corresponds with a deadly IED attack in upstate New York, the family discovers that the visions might originate somewhere deeper than her subconscious. The answer to that question leads the family in many different directions looking for help. Ultimately, they choose to drop out, to simplify, to move to a supposed nirvana: Halcyon.

Halycyon is an island oasis in the middle of Lake Ontario. Absent of all the ills of modern life. A place where people can go after they have been injured by the tragedies of Americanism. The leader of the colony Valerie Kemp or Mother Moon (as she is called) is a woman who has been through her own pain, but there are secrets that she keeps deeply hidden away from her followers. Those secrets will reveal an ultimate purpose that has nothing to do with peace nor love.

Until I truly accepted and understood Youers’s set up, I was reluctant to like this book. I really enjoyed all of the characters, even the ones I disliked!  Their backstories are well developed and are linked perfectly to their current motivations. The plot is addictive and connects directly to several front-page themes.  But it took me about two-thirds of the way through the book to take that leap and accept the supernatural… (I really don’t know why it took so long, but probably because I read mostly fantasy (wizards and dragons) or thrillers (spies and crime) and not many books in this genre.) After I embraced the fantastic, the pages flew. And the ending was simply incredible. I will warn you that there is a good amount of graphic violence and sexuality in this one.

Youers’s Halcyon is gut-punch of a thriller, one that had me thinking about our American rat-race, our own visions and dreams, and some people’s perverted paradises. My advice: Don’t be like me. Let yourself go and enjoy this book right from the start.

5 out of 5 stars

Releases on July 10th.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Rio Youers for an advanced copy for review.

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