The Handmaid’s Tale meets Wilder Girls in this unique, voice-driven novel from Kelly McWilliams.
Agnes loves her home of Red Creek–its quiet, sunny mornings, its dusty roads, and its God. There, she cares tirelessly for her younger siblings and follows the town’s strict laws. What she doesn’t know is that Red Creek is a cult, controlled by a madman who calls himself a prophet.
Then Agnes meets Danny, an Outsider boy, and begins to question what is and isn’t a sin. Her younger brother, Ezekiel, will die without the insulin she barters for once a month, even though medicine is considered outlawed. Is she a sinner for saving him? Is her sister, Beth, a sinner for dreaming of the world beyond Red Creek?
As the Prophet grows more dangerous, Agnes realizes she must escape with Ezekiel and leave everyone else, including Beth, behind. But it isn’t safe Outside, either: A viral pandemic is burning through the population at a terrifying rate. As Agnes ventures forth, a mysterious connection grows between her and the Virus. But in a world where faith, miracles, and cruelty have long been indistinguishable, will Agnes be able to choose between saving her family and saving the world?
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Agnes at the End of the World Review
I loved Wilder Girls, have a slightly unhealthy obsession with the stories of the downfalls of religious cults, and well-documented love of women who save the world storylines, so where did Agnes at the End of the World go astray?
About 2/3 of the way through.
I was hanging on every word until that point, and then something shifted in the writing, the plot, and the characters.
Devout and sequestered away (mostly) from the rest of the world, Agnes grows up to be a pious and diligent member of Red Creek – a town run by the religious teachings of The Prophet. Agnes takes her first step outside of the town to help her ailing younger brother with medicine not allowed within her fundamentalist cult’s stringent rules. While a pandemic starts to burn through the world outside Red Creek, internally Agnes finds her breaking point and escapes with one of her siblings…and then we shift from plot-driven to…I’m not quite sure.
Agnes at the End of the World would be a great read for those looking for a book that will leave them with some meditations on what it means to lead, to grow, and to understand their connection to their faith. For those looking for the gore and foreboding factors of Wilder Girls – you might want to explore other options.
I’m looking forward to reading what McWilliams releases next though!