Title: The Incendiaries
Author: R.O. Kwon
Content warnings: loss, grief, obsession, rape
Blurb (Goodreads): Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group–a secretive extremist cult–founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe’s Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of extremist terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.
3 out of 5 topazes
The Incendiaries is an angstier, grown-up version of Paper Towns, except with an actual criminal for the main protagonist. Even so, this book averages out to 3 stars because while the characters and plot left much to be desired, the themes and their execution made me reflect in a way that I never had before.Continue reading “The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon”