Book Review: The Special Ones (Em Bailey)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Electric Monkey

Pages: 336

Release Date: July 28th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Esther is one of the four Special Ones. They are chosen by him to live under his protection in a remote farmhouse, and they must always be ready to broadcast their lives to eager followers in the outside. But on renewal day when he decides that a new Esther, Harry, Lucille or Felicity must take their place, the old ones disappear – forever. The new ones don’t always want to come, but soon they realise.

Until one day Esther has a realisation of her own – and it changes everything.


When this was compared to Seed by Lisa Heathfield, I knew I had to request it on NetGalley. I adored Seed and it made me want to read more books about cults.

The book sucked me in within the first few pages with its subtle suggestions that all was not as it seemed – referring to people as ‘the Lucille’ or ‘the Esther’ rather than just their names, which immediately made me wonder what was going on.

The idea is really creepy and not something I’ve come across before. I liked the idea that Esther/Tess knew from the beginning that none of it was real, rather than believing it at first and realising throughout the book. I also liked that none of them knew who he was, that he watched them without interacting, which made things even creepier. The fact that one of them was a child was even worse. The introduction of a new Lucille was one of my favourite parts. It’s pretty brutal how they break her down and slowly convince her to comply with the way they live, and then how devoted she becomes afterwards.

Around halfway through the book changes dramatically, and although I was unsure about this at first, I grew to like the way events were unfurling and all the new information we received. The introduction of a new view point was a little jarring at first and I wanted more of a distinction between whose chapters were whose, but it was really fascinating to see his point of view and reasoning behind what he’s doing.

If you enjoyed Seed then I’d definitely give this a read. It’s creepy and dramatic and kept surprising me at each new reveal.


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