Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Review - The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson

Ruby is struggling with the burden of grief - her little brother has died, and she believes that the accident that killed him was her fault.

Her father is in prison for the actual act, and her mother has sunk into a deep depression.

Ruby can't see any way out of her own personal tunnel of despair until she meets Fox. Fox is a member of the Institute of the Boundless Sublime, and it's not long before Ruby finds herself following him and becoming caught up in the Institute herself.

The Institute is, of course, a cult. It's run by a man who, disturbingly, is called "Daddy" by everyone at the Institute. He's a kind of ... Charles Manson figure, I guess? Charismatic and manipulative.

Ruby buys into the rhetoric for a while, and starts to believe the L Ron Hubbard level of BS that's being shot at her daily.

However, when Fox and another woman disappear, Ruby starts to wonder if the Institute is really as benign as it seems.

I read The Boundless Sublime in one sitting pretty much. I just started, and then kept going until I'd finished it. There are issues with some of the pacing - particularly towards the end of the book - but my heart just about broke for Ruby. She's grieving and struggling with regret and blame and trying to keep it all together for her mother's sake, so when she meets Fox, she's vulnerable enough to fall into the cult.

Ruby's the most vivid character in the book, and although Fox is sweet, I found there to be something ephemeral about him - something unreal? Possibly because he was raised almost entirely inside the cult itself, I'm not sure.

Definitely a good read.

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