*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*
If you’d like to see my Booktube video review of ‘The Cult Called Freedom House’ you can find it here.
“We need you inside us. It’s the only way. You’ll live on through us. All of Freedom House will breathe you and reach enlightenment because of you.” Cyrus said.
Wearing only a white apron and white panties, Penelope sat next to Cyrus as he spoke to Finn.
“You’ll taste so good for our souls,” said Penelope.
“You know I’ll do anything for Freedom House for our Journey to Freedom,” Finn said, his eyes glazed over with an admiration that no one could snap out of him. It was an anxious, wide-eyed stare full of glee; twinkling stars against a dark sky where blackholes lurked.
Cyrus stared into those twinkling eyes and smiled ever so slightly.
“Penelope, get your cutlery. We will need Finn served to Freedom House for dinner,” Cyrus said.
“Sounds delicious,” said Penelope.
“Cyrus, I just want to say thank you for letting me be part of something so important. I was never noticed on the outside, but here, I’m someone with meaning,” Finn said.
“My dear Finn, your importance is going to live forever,” Cyrus said. “Our pain meditations have prepared you for this moment. The pain you endure today is getting us all closer to enlightenment.”
Penelope walked back into Cyrus’ room and stood at the doorway entrance, her lanky arms at her side with her long fingers gripping a knife. The tip of her tongue stuck out just enough to hug her bottom lip, caressing it with excitement.
“Lie down and relax Finn,” Cyrus said. “You will now be set free too.”
Finn lay down on the long rug that led from the entrance way to where he and Cyrus sat. Cyrus sat in cross-legged position in a meditative posture, as he watched Finn.
“Penelope, he’s all yours.”
Barefoot, Penelope skipped down the long rug to Cyrus and Finn. With her boney, pale legs, she straddled Finn, moved her face down to his and licked his cheek. She lifted herself back up and brought the knife up to her neck. Finn closed his eyes as Cyrus sat and watched.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)-
Everyone but Sophia and Cyrus were going to die. They were all goners well before they knew it. And they certainly thought whatever was happening, they were helping others and saving the world doing it.
Samantha was only fourteen and looking for what every fourteen-year-old looks for – freedom. She wanted to be as far away from her substance-riddled mother and abusive home as possible, but she never asked for anything like this. It always starts with just one person and one fucked up idea. This is the story about Samantha and the cult called Freedom House.
A psychological horror thriller, this book will frustrate you, scare you, disturb you, and at times, it will make you want to be ill. Are you ready to learn what’s going on behind the doors of Freedom House?
The Cult Called Freedom House unfortunately fails to deliver on its promise of a cult horror story. There are certainly many horrific things that happen to our main characters Samantha and Sophia, however the Freedom House is less a cult and rather a group of odd people with little direction and even less character motivation. For such a slim volume it’s easy to see why an in depth look at the inner workings of the cult couldn’t be achieved, yet even a cursory explanation of the cult’s core beliefs and values was overlooked in favour of shocking scenes of vomit eating, vandalism, and sexual exploitation.
A big issue with the story is that our protagonist, Samantha, is said to be fourteen years old yet acts and is treated more like a nineteen year old. Again this read more like a shock tactic than anything else. To have a fourteen year old wrapped up in the goings on of a cult, one wants to see the story through their unique perspective and experience the horror through the eyes of a child, yet this is not what you get with The Cult Called Freedom House.
The ‘spoilers’ at the beginning of the book, namely the statements that only Detective Rey and Cyrus would survive this story and the prologue clearing showing cannibalism, left little to the imagination for this story. Any fan of cult studies or psychology will be disappointed in this novel and the seemingly senseless actions of the characters. Cannibalism is not an everyday occurrence and for there to be no explanation as to why they partake in it, or why no one even thinks to object, is jarring for the reading.
The Cult Called Freedom House is a short novel of the harrowing decline of a new age cult. You won’t get a deeper look at cult experiences but you will certainly be horrified.
About the Author (from Amazon)-
Stephanie Evelyn Briggs was born in San Jose, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Film & Digital Media. Her film, Love of my Life, was showcased in the Santa Cruz Film Festival in 2010. She wrote her first novel, The Cult Called Freedom House, at age 32.
Read and Review –
What’s your favourite cult horror story? Do you need more from a cult description than just the fact that they’re a cult? Let me know down below!