Rio Youer's new book Halcyon appealed to me. And every so often I try to read outside of my usual genres. The premise of Halcyon? An island that's the answer for those who want to escape. "...but paradise isn't what it seems."
The opening prologue introduces us to Edith - a young girl who suffers from nightmares. But those nightmares seen to be more than bad dreams - could they be premonitions? After an unexpected tragedy, father Martin decides to move Edith and her sister Shirley to Halcyon - a seemingly idyllic island - where they can heal as a family.
But. Yes, there's always a but isn't there? The island is run by Mother Moon. She has for years been searching for what she calls Glam Moon - a utopia on a higher plane, a place of eternal beauty and peace. She sees Edith's affliction as a gift.......
I found Martin and his wife Laura's actions a bit off in the beginning chapters. They entrust their daughters' mental health to some somewhat sketchy 'therapists'. As a parent, I questioned these actions. But, I put those doubts aside and continued on. I found I really started to getting into the story once they arrived on Halcyon. (Who doesn't want to find an idyllic island?) But the pragmatic me still wondered at Martin's acceptance of this leader, her ideas and interactions - especially with his oldest daughter. I was seeing neon signs flashing, Don't Drink the Kool-aid! But of course, that just adds to the growing tension, doesn't it?
Good vs. Evil is the prevailing premise here. Billed as a thriller by the publisher, the island is where I found the thrills. And the kernels of good. The backstory of Mother Moon delves in the horror genre. And I found the evil here to be somewhat cliched. Two words. Animal masks.
And without revealing the details, Halcyon mirrors some recent, disturbing newspaper headlines.
Halcyon was a distinctly different read for me. It raised enough what ifs and what's next to keep me turning pages. And a little bit of me wonders if there's more in store for Edith. I think Halcyon will appeal to horror fans. Read an excerpt of Halcyon.