The Incendiaries

A Novel
Narrated by: Keong Sim
Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (275 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In cart

Publisher's Summary

Now a National Best Seller

"Religion, politics, and love collide in this slim but powerful novel reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, with menace and mystery lurking in every corner." (People Magazine)

"The most buzzed-about debut of the summer, as it should be...unusual and enticing... The Incendiaries arrives at precisely the right moment." (The Washington Post)

"Radiant... A dark, absorbing story of how first love can be as intoxicating and dangerous as religious fundamentalism." (New York Times Book Review)

A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult's acts of terrorism.

Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe. 

Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past. When the group commits a violent act in the name of faith, Will finds himself struggling to confront a new version of the fanaticism he's worked so hard to escape. 

Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.  

©2018 R. O. Kwon (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A singular version of the campus novel...a story about spiritual uncertainty and about the fierce and undisciplined desire of [Kwon’s] young characters to find something luminous to light their way through their lives.” (NPR’s Fresh Air)  

“Certain literary circles have been buzzing about R.O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries for months. And this slim, intense novel is the rare book that lives up to its pre-publication hype.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[With] a fairy-tale quality reminiscent of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History...[The Incendiaries is] the rare depiction of belief that doesn’t kill the thing it aspires to by trying too hard. It makes a space, and then steps away to let the mystery in.” (The New Yorker)

“Disarmingly propulsive.” (Vogue)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    73
  • 4 Stars
    71
  • 3 Stars
    82
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    12
Performance
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    58
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    23
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    66
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    17

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful story that sticks with you

I heard some good buzz about this book and the cult theme interested me, but this book runs deeper than that. Being someone who grew out of religion myself, I connected with the one character moving further from religion and the other moving closer to it. There is also their relationship that ebbs and flows as relationships do. The motivations for their actions are as real as any novel I have read in a long time.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

3.55 stars

The Incendiaries is an average audiobook. The story is somewhat difficult to follow in the beginning, but it becomes easier as the story progresses. There's a lot of colorful language in this one, and some of it fits, though there's a few cases where it misses the mark. In the Audible description, People Magazine compares this novel to Donna Tartt's The Secret History, which is one of my favorites. The Incendiaries is not of the same caliber, not even close. The narrator of this recording does a respectable job.

Overall rating: 3.55 stars

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Drink when you hear the word "fist"

I have never read a book that uses the word "fist" or "fists" so many times. Perhaps a book about boxing might.
I was really looking forward to this book but sad to say it was not for me. Overly descriptive language and a bland narrator sucked the life out of the decent bones of this story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling

It will leave you feeling pretty disturbed. What great characters. I heard the author interviewed twice before reading this, and I get what all the buzz was about.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story zero - monotone reading

I’ve learned over time that equal to the story is the narration- the readers voice-the infection. In this regard the reader made this book a struggle; a flat monotone with zero inflection. I stuck with it and glad I did but as I’ve found with other audible books- the reader distracted from the experience. Thus the review of 3 stars.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

Nothing happens in this book until the very end. Prose for prose sake. A very interesting main character ends exactly where he started.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved

This is one of the best books I’ve read in terms of being a former evangelical and not having the words for the grief one feels when the curtain is pulled back and god turns out to be imaginary.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 08-26-19

Okay story, bad narration

I found it really difficult to follow this as an audiobook because, while the story switches among three perspectives (two males and one female), there is only one male narrator's (monotonous) voice and it's very hard to keep track of which perspective you're listening to. I think the poor narration kind of ruined the story for me, too - it was just hard to get into as an audiobook. I might recommend just reading the print/e-book version if you can.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • AW
  • 06-25-19

Couldn’t finish it

Painfully dull, overwritten self consciously beautiful prose. Where is the narrative arc? Wanted to care about the characters, but didn’t.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth reading

The narrator is asleep, the characters are undeveloped, the plot is interesting in its potential but even that gets rendered boring in this book. I hated it.