Happy Publication Day to Tosca Lee’s new thriller The Line Between! I really want to do today’s Top 5 Tuesday post “top 5 bad ass women” but since it’s publication day, the review has to take the lead! However, maybe I’ll post twice, or tomorrow’s T5W topic is a freebie so maybe I’ll combine them both because I never pass up an opportunity to talk about awesome women!
Wynter Roth has lived in the doomsday cult known as “New Earth” for the last 15 years. Brought to the settlement by her mother, along with her older sister Jaclyn when they were fleeing their alcoholic and abusive father. New Earth is led by the charming, enigmatic, handsome and all-knowing, all-caring leader Magnus Theisen. Wynter is raised within the confines of the compound and gives up all her worldly wants, and possessions upon her family being accepted into the waiting arms of her new “family”. While Jaclyn seems to flourish within the strict rules and confines set by the leaders of New Earth, Wynter struggles and fails to meet their expectations growing up.
I had a purpose once. Believed the lie that I was special if only because I had managed to claim a slot in heaven. A reservation that was by no means guaranteed but had to be reclaimed daily by faith and toil if only to keep it from the hands of another.
As time elapses, and Wynter opens her eyes more and more to the world around her she begins to see this life she’s been thrust into a little bit differently. She sees the cracks in the testaments that Magnus has written, the cracks and flaws within Magnus himself. However, this is the only life Wynter has ever known, she has been brought up to believe that the world outside their walls is doomed to crumble, and if she is not within the safety of her new home – she will perish with a world of sinners. When Wynter is cast out in shame from the only community she ever called a home, she is thrust into a cruel world that has begun to tear apart at it’s seems.
Faith had never been about being perfect – good thing for me – but about being more perfect than the world it devoured. The spiritual equivalent of outrunning the person behind you when getting chased by a bear.
Coinciding with Wynter’s revelations about this “family” and her subsequent banishment a new disease is ripping it’s way across America, leaving nothing but devastation in it’s wake. A new rapid onset dementia is taking the United States by storm and it’s spreading like the flu. No one is safe and as more and more people fall prey to the disease, society itself begins to crumble. Months after Wynter has been banished, her elder sister Jaclyn shows up on her doorstep with samples that could save not just Wynter but the entire world and Wynter has been tasked with getting them to Colorado. The question is – can a girl banished from a doomsday cult, with no real world experience manage to cross the country with hotly sought after specimens and arrive in one piece?
But I am no longer one of the Select.
This book, was NOTHING like I expected it to be. The synopsis definitely drew me in initially, but I was skeptical to say the least when I began this story. However, Lee really proved her skill and wove an intricate story that doesn’t just tell one fascinating story, but two, in tandem with one another. This is told in a somewhat typical flash-back format, with the reader both learning about before Wynter’s banishment from the Enclave as well as a current timeline, after her banishment. I couldn’t decide at any point throughout reading this which I liked more. They each had their own elements that drove me forward with a need to see how this story would progress.
I am one in 7.5 billion trying to figure out what’s real.
I loved Wynter as a narrator and main protagonist. I thought she was well developed, smart and accessible. Every character that Lee wanted to be likable, was likable, and the only character that you were truly supposed to abhor was the only unlikable one in the bunch. The detail that went into the cult side of things was truly masterful. I really enjoyed that Lee was able to vilify the cult, it’s leader and it’s message in a way that didn’t vilify religion or the victims of the cult. Past that, the disease aspect added such an interesting layer. One of the things that strikes me in cooking, is when you pair two ingredients that you wouldn’t think would go together, but their flavors meld and create something beautiful. That’s exactly how I feel about The Line Between – I mean, yes, doomsday cults are about the end of the world but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It was unique and refreshing and surprisingly fun despite having enough tension and suspense to wind up any reader.
And right now all I know for sure is that I’m a jobless twenty-two-year-old vegetarian with exactly three friends and no job skills I can put on paper.
My only hang ups here is that I felt there were just a couple of, not plot holes per say, but implausibilities in regards to character development. You’ve got Wynter – who has been in a doomsday cult for 15 years, has never driven a car and is hurdling down the highway at breakneck speed, while other people are going crazy and trying to escape the pandemic as well? Hmm… These were few and far between and fairly minor for the most part but for some reason it still irked me. However, in the end I really enjoyed this novel and it really did take me by complete surprise. It’s unique and fresh and despite being about the end of the world – it’s not all doom and gloom. The synopsis mentions a romance, which initially turned me off, but in case that matters to you – it’s minor and I wouldn’t really call it a “romance”, it did not affect my enjoyment one way or the other. I read this one with the Traveling Sisters and we all seem to be enjoying it so far! Thank you to Netgalley and Howard Books for a copy of this ARC.
Long Story Short:
Suggested For: Thriller / Suspense fans (not really any mystery going on here so much), fans of dystopian / end of the world fiction, those interested in stories about ex-cult members
Music Mood: Don’t Find Another Love by Tegan and Sara
Well there you have it folks! Have you read The Line Between by Tosca Lee, if so, what did you think? What’s a unique combination of tropes you’ve seen in recent reads? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!