Ruby Jane Galbraith is empty. Her family has been torn apart and it’s all her fault.
The only thing that makes sense to her is Fox – a gentle new friend who is wise, soulful and clever, yet oddly naive about the ways of the world. He understands what she’s going through and he offers her a chance to feel peace. Fox belongs to a group called the Institute of the Sublime – and Ruby can’t stay away from him. So she is also drawn in to what she too late discovers is a terrifying secretive community that is far from the ideal world she expected.
Can Ruby find the courage to escape? Is there any way she can save Fox too? And is there ever really an escape from the far-reaching influence of the Institute of the Sublime?
A gripping YA novel about an ordinary girl who is unsuspectingly inducted into a secretive modern-day cult.
Cults conjure up images of secrecy, brainwashing and abuse. It’s this strange world The Boundless Sublime dives into with gusto, complete with an enigmatic and chilling leader in ‘Daddy’. Swift and engaging, this was a story I found it hard to drag myself away from.
In the Institute, Wilkinson has created a disturbing secret society where people are ‘reborn’ and all connections to their old life lost. There are endless rules to follow, keeping members in line, downtrodden and fearful. Wilkinson’s writing was captivating. Once I started reading The Boundless Sublime I couldn’t stop and, when I did have to put the book down, was wondering where the story would turn. Given the length, I was impressed this high tension and swift pace didn’t waver. I also loved the fact Wilkinson went beyond life at the cult towards the conclusion.
Despite my enjoyment of the writing style and fascination with Ruby’s time at the cult, I found it hard to really connect with her. Compared to her time at the Institution, the introduction to Ruby’s life before felt rushed. While I understand her grief may have lead her to felt the Institute was her only option, I found it difficult to fully believe she could have been caught up so quickly. Perhaps if there had been a little more exploration of Ruby’s previous life, that emotional understanding would have been more apparent.
While I enjoyed the twists and fast pace of the conclusion, it left me a little unsatisfied. Everything felt too easily resolved and in many ways I found that completely unbelievable. I’m sure many people who have gone through similar situations might have to live without any of the closure Ruby found. Similarly, I’m sure it would take much longer to re-adjust to normal life again, with associated emotional and psychological issues.
In The Boundless Sublime, Wilkinson has created a truly captivating cult, where terror simmers beneath the facade of health and clean living. Although I had some issues believing elements of the plot, I found this book incredibly compelling and a much darker exploration of human nature than I had imagined.
Sounds like: Sexy Sadie || The Beatles
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of the book for review.
The Boundless Sublime is out now (RRP $19.99).