Halcyon is the answer for anyone who wants to escape, but paradise isn’t what it seems.
A self-sustaining community on a breathtakingly beautiful island, Halcyon is run for people who want to live without fear, crime or greed. Its leader has dedicated her life to the pursuit of Glam Moon, a place of eternal beauty and healing, and believes the pathway there can only be found at the end of pleasure.
On the heels of tragedy, Martin Lovegrove moves his family to Halcyon. A couple of months, he tells himself, to retreat from the chaos and grind. Yet he soon begins to suspect there is something beneath Halcyon’s perfect veneer. As the founder captivates his young family, Martin sets out to discover the truth of the island, however terrible it might be, where something so perfect hides unimaginable darkness beneath…
A huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour! Go check out all the other bloggers taking part as well!
I read this in October and it was very fitting for Halloween as it was incredibly dark and had some very gruesome/graphic scenes! It was full of surprises and I loved how detailed the plot was from beginning until end. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a cult before so for me it was very interesting and it had some very bizarre moments!
The start of the book immediately throws you right in with a very disturbing scene that honestly gave me the creeps! We are introduced to Martin Lovegrove and his family at the start but the first opening pages shows his ten year old daughter, Edith, experiencing a night terror. However, it’s made even more terrifying by the fact that these are psychic night terrors. She says things like, “The man with no hands is crying” which gave me goosebumps at first but then I was shocked when it was revealed that she was being quite literal when she said this.
It’s so jarring to see a book using real-world terrors that unfortunately is something we are seeing more and more often these days. I do think it made the book better by drawing on these events because it was more horrifying and impactful on the reader, especially after the tragedy Martin’s family suffers which drives them to seek out shelter at Glam Moon.
Edith is by far the most interesting character because of the night terrors. She sees disaster strike days or minutes before it actually happens but she can’t remember much, if anything, when she wakes up. I really liked how that was explored throughout the book but also that it didn’t completely take over the story. It was nicely linked to other events that happened and to the cult leader, Mother Moon.
I also liked how the author explored Edith’s character throughout and how she interpreted certain situations. At times she was incredibly insightful but then others she was unsure of things so I think the author balanced the two nicely. He showed how children actually understand a lot more than we think they do but at the same time there’s still a lot more they need to learn.
I really liked Edith’s older sister, Shirley, and the bond between them. She is left feeling completely vulnerable after everything that happens and this was something that is explored quite deeply by the author. Martin, Edith and Shirley are all hurting in their own way and they try to be their for one another but they are also fighting their own demons. Shirley goes down a dark path and it was interesting to see who would be the one to save her and pull her back.
Mother Moon, the leader of Glam Moon, was one of the more complex characters. She had so many layers to her which made it incredibly difficult to hate her. At times I was completely disgusted by her but then I couldn’t help but feeling sorry for her. The author continues to strip away her layers the deeper you get into the story and you find out that she actually has quite a distressing backstory which left me shocked to the core. She definitely has demons that she can’t shake which made her a fascinating character.
Overall, Halcyon is the perfect horror story that will leave you glancing over your shoulder in the early hours of the morning. Full of complex characters, a spooky island and a dark cult, Halcyon will both thrill you and terrify you! It constantly toyed with my emotions throughout and kudos to Rio Yours for making me want to simultaneously punch a character but also hug them. Thankfully I don’t live near any random islands otherwise I’d be eyeing them up suspiciously!