A young girl has finally been anointed to sainthood. Though she is young, a prepubescent teenager, it has been her life’s goal to be anointed. She also wants sainthood to atone for the sins of her mother. Amity is her new name. Saint Amity. She is one of four saints in a small town called Haven. It’s the only town left in the world after wars and famine, all caused by women, destroyed the world. Only the four saints can keep Haven safe from the evil that plagues the town, killing the men one by one. Or so everyone has been taught. Amity learns that she has been lied to when she encounters a group of women who have gathered from around the world. What’s more, they can perform magic by drawing on the power of Extasia. Extasia has great things planned for Amity and her friends, and the power never lies.
Haven is a small town that is built on extreme religious beliefs. Beliefs that are rooted in misogyny. The saints of Haven must endure terrible, horrifying ordeals at the hands from the community. Though the saints must always be young girls, they hold no power. The power of Haven lies with the elders, all men. When anything goes wrong, women or girls are blamed. The world that Legrand crafted could have easily felt tired and over-wrought, another attempt to a recreate Puritanical community, but the richness in details surrounding the community’s religious beliefs breathe new life into the world.
One thing that I especially loved about Extasia, is that Amity’s development as a character is not linear. She grows and regresses. She has doubts that she sometimes leans into and sometimes rejects. The entire time though she learns to rely on herself, to trust herself. That process is not an easy one for anybody, let alone a teenager who is being forced to reevaluate her entire worldview; I appreciated that Amity didn’t have a clear character progression. Though Amity was all over the place, the characterization never felt wishy washy. I was engaged with Amity’s journey the entire novel.
The narration, however, was difficult to engage with. The style of language was vaguely Old-World-y. Instances of “’tis” and a lack of contractions, for example. However, this stylistic language choice wasn’t present enough to fully fall into. There were just enough quirks from modern English to notice but not enough to envelope me.