18 March 2015

The Beloved by Allison Rattle

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: March 5, 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback - review copy
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 286

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I am Alice Angel. I am sixteen years old. I am not mad. But I am a bad person.

It is 1848, and Alice is trapped in an unloving home with a vicious mother. She longs for escape, and then a chance encounter with an enigmatic stranger gives her the blessed opportunity.

Henry Prince - or The Beloved to his followers - promises Alice a life of love, devotion and freedom. A respite from Victorian conformity and cruelty. He is Alice's savior... Until he becomes her jailer.

Suddenly Alice must decide what freedom really means to her - and what price she is willing to pay for it

I don't really have a reason for reading this book; I don't enjoy historical fiction and I don't find the summary intriguing - but I must have requested it for a reason. I think it had something to do with the word lunatic asylum - but The Beloved has absolutely nothing to do with a lunatic asylum.

I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the main character Alice. At times I found her strong and  admirable but then the tables turned and I found her annoying. She sees her mother for who she really is; why not use that to her advantage instead of aggravating her? I wanted a stronger main character and I really thought Alice might be one but then she becomes weak again - every time she begins to seem strong she falls back - and I was tired of that dance in the end.
I feel quite bad saying that I didn't really like any of the characters when it comes down to it.. I hated the mother, the father was weak, the brother blind and ignorant and Alice stupid.
Henry Prince, the leader of the sect, is too manipulating and I was creeped out by him.

I have never understood why people join sects - I hoped this book would enlighten me; and it did a bit, but why people stay in sects is a whole other question. Alice joins the sect to et away from her mother and because she is drawn to Henry - why she doesn't see the warning signs until it's too late is beyond me.

I usually enjoy books that have a Victorian setting but this didn't do it for me. I liked the descriptions and I could picture most of it; but it wasn't that exciting.

The Beloved reminded me of Vivian versus the Apocalypse on many levels; the difference is that I liked Vivian versus the Apocalypse and I didn't actually like this one. Both have some form of religion that will set you free, both are actually a sect and the main characters escape. Vivian versus the Apocalypse was quite funny and I enjoyed reading is - The Beloved wasn't funny or enjoyable. I actually found it quite dull and I put it down loads of times.

To summarize; I found The Beloved quite dull, I didn't like the characters or the setting and I practically only finished it because it's so short.

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