Book Review : The Sect (Wicked Trinity #1) by Courtney Lane
WARNING : This book is not recommended for those with any triggers or sensitivities to violence, torture, dubious and/or absent consent, and deviant sexual acts. This is not a love story.
Keaton Mara ran away from a life that had become a nightmare to live on the streets. While the location she now calls home is a dangerous place, she is protected by an unlikely friendship.
The streets provided her with the education she could have never earned from the prestigious university she attended. Regrettably, the term ‘educated fool’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Due to meeting a man with whom she shares a captivating chemistry with, her judgement is clouded, resulting in a fateful decision.
The consequence of trusting the prepossessing stranger results in her being stolen away to a place unknown. Her deceptive new surroundings are just as beautiful as the people who reside there. She discovers that it’s a place where the culture of sex without limits or morals is their religion.
Keaton quickly begins to realize that the beautiful scenery serves to hide a very dark truth. The seductive and enigmatic man – who lured her there – desires to save her soul. His intentions are sinister, because saving her soul is synonymous with breaking her.
Because Keaton believes her soul was brutally stolen from her many years ago, she thinks he can’t save (or destroy) something she no longer has.
Keaton has always lived a privileged life for as long as she can remember. She gets the best education money can buy, she has parents who love her and make time for her, she has friends who cares about her. Life can’t get anymore perfect than that, right? Keaton Mara’s life was the epitome of perfect, until the day when it wasn’t.
Her once perfect life has taken a turn for the worse, and she feels suffocated by it. Her past continues to haunt her. She is trying to run away from someone who not only hurt her and break her in the process, but also someone who plans on destroying her future as well. She tries everything in her power to hide, to run, but this time, not even her parents can save her. So she decides to give it all up to hide from her past in the streets.
Out in the street, she has to learn a totally new way of living. Things that she never has to worry about, such as food and place to sleep, has become a constant struggle. While being homeless, she manages to make a friend with a homeless man named Jeff. Jeff is a veteran with his own demons to battle, and while he might not be the nicest person Keaton has ever met, he is respectful towards her in the way that most people on the streets aren’t. And slowly but surely, he becomes her only protector and friend.
One day, after failing to panhandle, Keaton pleads with Jeff to go to the homeless shelter for food instead of rummaging through the garbage dumpster. Although Jeff eventually agrees, he isn’t pleased about this decision, claiming that the homeless shelter is too dangerous.
That is where Keaton sees Noah Oliver. Tall, handsome and broad shouldered, he stands out in the room like no other. She immediately feels drawn to him. When their eyes meet and he smiles at her, she finds herself unable to look away.
“When I returned his smile, he looked a little embarrassed and tried to look elsewhere. It was pointless. Our gazes were attracted to one another like positive and negative charged magnets that couldn’t stay away from one another no matter how hard we tried to pull apart. ”
Keaton eventually finds out that Noah works for Reven, whose organization – The House of Rebirth – is said to be known for it’s kindness and rehabilitation of the homeless. Noah comes to her, saying that Reven wants her to join The House of Rebirth, and in exchange, he will offer her true freedom. While Keaton might not have any idea what The House of Rebirth is all about, she knows enough to trust her gut, and decline the offer. But before she has a chance to do anything, Keaton is drugged and taken away to an isolated compound. And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that she might have just walked out of a nightmare and right into deepest depths of hell.
This book is definitely unique. I have read quite a few “dark” books before, but I have never read any books that has a plot quite like this one. “The Sect” is written from Keaton’s POV. From her point of view, readers can see her struggles and the roller-coaster of emotions that she goes through throughout this book. While I do not dislike her character, I can’t say I like her either.
Keaton is a tough cookie and she tries to handle the situation the best way she can, but sometimes I feel like she is way too stubborn and way too absorbed in herself and her own pain to recognize what is going on around her. Her lack of understanding (or ignorance) regarding where is she, what is happening and what rules to play by is infuriating.
As much as I love a character that is hard-headed and determined to beat the odds no matter what, it sometimes feel like Keaton is being unnecessarily stubborn just to spite the people in The House of Rebirth. Although her spirit is admirable, I feel like sometimes it is also wise to choose and pick her battles instead of trying to go head-first into every single problems she face.
Another thing I have a problem with while reading this book is the inability to connect to Keaton’s character. Make no mistake, I root for her and I want the best for her, but I feel myself unable to connect to her on an emotional level. I don’t feel her fear or desire, nor do I feel her connections with other characters in the book. Reading this book through Keaton’s eyes feels more as if I am watching it through some kind of glass, seeing all of this unfold before my eyes, yet unable to connect with the character.
Noah, on the other hand, is just…mind-blowing. He is definitely something else. He is the ultimate anti-hero. I love his character. Throughout the whole book, I find myself keep trying to figure him out, and I keep failing. He is cruel and sadistic at one moment, yet kind and caring the other. Sometimes, I find him unknowingly (maybe knowingly) dropping that mask that he wears so well, and allow us to see what is beneath it. Those moments makes me feel as if he might have some redeemable qualities, but then he will just go 180 and prove me wrong. He is an enigma, a walking contradiction.
“Don’t call me princess!”
“Wasn’t that what you were? A pampered princess who couldn’t deal with the big bad world so you ran? Princess.”
“And who are you? The villain?”
“I’m something much worse than the villain,” he sneered. “Something you’ll never find a definition for.”
The story from beginning till the end is very engaging, it did drag a little bit towards the middle, but Courtney Lane make it up by picking the pace back up towards the ending. While the scene of this book does revolve around a religious-based sex cult, rest be assured that it is rather mild and it only serve as a foundation of a very well thought-out story plot. On the darkness level, this book isn’t terribly dark. However, there are some scenes in this book that is quite graphic, and make me want to hide in the corner after I read it, but those are very few in between. Even then, opinions may vary, so if you are thinking on picking this book up, definitely heed the author’s warning before starting.
Other than the last 10% of the book where the author did a massive information dump that sent my head reeling, I totally enjoyed this book. The plot is definitely one of a kind, filled with twists and turns that you will never see coming. It is a book dominated by mind fucks and twists that for the better part of the book, I was just simply confused by also enthralled and intrigued to see what happens next. “The Sect” is one of those books where it is futile to try to decipher the plot. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.
“I’m as talented with making a woman scream, cry, and beg for me while she’s squirming around in pain as I am with making her do those things through pleasure. I’ve got your number, princess. Fucking you, touching you—anything I do to your body that will make you come—will break you.”