Those Who Prey
When Emily moved away from her family to Boston for college, she thought she’d have the time of her life. But college life is nothing like her dreams. Similar to her life at home, she finds herself alone and slightly lost, surrounded by people who love to sneer at her. Then Emily finds the Kingdom. Within the Kingdom, Emily finds everything that she’d been looking for: friends, a supportive, family-like group of people, and a budding love interest. When The Kingdom gives Emily the chance to travel to Italy over the summer for a mission trip, Emily jumps at the opportunity. However, Emily soon realizes that the Kingdom isn’t as pristine as it seems. After being cut off from her family and society, being given little to eat, and living by strict restrictions, Emily becomes more and more miserable. But it’s when a member ends up dead, Emily realizes that the Kingdom is more dangerous than she ever realized and that in order to save her own life, she’s got to leave. Does Emily make it out alive? Or does the Kingdom take her down once and for all? Read the book to find out!
This book is appropriate for readers aged 17 and above. The book is primarily about a religious cult and its manipulative practices, and it’s meant to inform readers about similar groups in the modern world in order to help them identify and avoid them. Although an important topic to read about, its presentation in this book can get disturbing at times. The author does a marvelous job of weaving in dramatic irony to show the implicit manipulation that the Kingdom’s members experience, but it can get quite creepy to read about the practices and strict rules they must follow. Sensitive and younger readers may not understand the concepts outlined in this book. Additionally, a variety of adult topics (outlined below) may be jarring for those audiences as well.
This book doesn’t really have many good messages. It’s a thriller novel that focuses more on the plot than anything else. However, as said in the Author’s Note section, this book aims to inform readers about how cult operations work and how people are manipulated to join these repressive situations, something it does incredibly well.
There are instances of violence within this novel, including forceful feeding of poison to members and starvation (a form of abuse). Additionally, during the Baptism ceremony, members are held underwater until they begin to flail due to a lack of air.
Very little explicit language is used within this novel (b*tch, sh*t).
Romance begins to blossom between Emily and another character. There is a brief kissing sequence as well.
There are quite a few adult topics in this novel. Firstly, drug usage is heavily mentioned throughout. Emily’s roommates are both described as regularly using drugs, and Tamara, Emily’s sister, is described to have gone to rehab. The members of the cult go through extreme brainwashing, and as mentioned earlier, experience harsh procedures such as starvation, being cut off from society and family, and having to admit all their ‘sins’ in a grueling, anxiety-inducing confession session. Emily has sex with someone at the very end of the novel, but there is little detail about the instance. Drinking and murder are also mentioned in this book.
This book was SO freaky. I haven’t ever read something so truly bone-chilling in a while. It was my first foray into the concept of cults, and even though I was aware of what they were, getting that firsthand experience was really jaw-dropping. Jennifer Moffet is such an incredible writer, for I was able to understand every single method of manipulation that cults use. If you’re into super twisty books, then I’d highly recommend this. This book isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, but if you like being able to sit and just go, wow, after you read something, read this. Absolutely.