An emotional story about what happens after the end of the world, A BEGINNING AT THE END is a tale of four survivors trying to rebuild their personal lives after a literal apocalypse. For commercial readers who enjoy a speculative twist, or their sci-fi with a heavy dose of family and feelings.
Six years after a global pandemic, it turns out that the End of the World was more like a big pause. Coming out of quarantine, 2 billion unsure survivors split between self-governing big cities, hippie communes, and wasteland gangs. When the father of a presumed-dead pop star announces a global search for his daughter, four lives collide: Krista, a cynical event planner; Moira, the ex-pop star in hiding; Rob, a widowed single father; and Sunny, his seven-year-old daughter. As their lives begin to intertwine, reports of a new outbreak send the fragile society into a panic. And when the government enacts new rules in response to the threat, long-buried secrets surface, causing Sunny to run away seeking the truth behind her mother’s death. Now, Krista, Rob, and Moira must finally confront the demons of their past in order to hit the road and reunite with Sunny — before a coastal lockdown puts the world on pause again.
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Book Review | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What is Unique About A Beginning at the End
The story’s plot is unique and disturbingly plausible. Usually, the disturbing part of any post-apocalyptic novel is the description of the apocalyptic event and the immediate aftermath. Yet, A Beginning at the End does not linger on the viral event itself. Instead, it focuses on the emotional consequences that result in a static world. Everyone wears a mask – a real one to help prevent the spreading of germs and a metaphorical one formed by their fear and lies. People no longer connect, and the mask is a symbolic representation of that barrier that each person forms to protect themselves. But, growth and change require connections, and human relationships can only happen when the wall comes down, leaving them vulnerable.
Favorite character: Moira Gorman
Once a pop star, Moira left the spotlight and her father when the virus reached epidemic proportions. She made a new life for herself, all the while searching for the safety and security that she has always craved. When the story begins, she is planning a wedding to a man who offers just that. His whole family came through the virus without loss and remain a tight family unit. Being part of a family is precisely the life that Moira wants for herself. Her many experiences have made her mature and reflective, and I felt instantly drawn to her.
What I Liked About A Beginning at the End
I felt like I knew the characters. They are well-developed, and I instantly connected to all of them. I sympathized with Rob, who had a hard time saying that his wife was dead even to his daughter. I fought the good fight with Krista and hoped that Moira would achieve her dreams. Even with their masks on, I could recognize them even if they don’t know themselves.
I love that the story ends on a positive note, with the dropping of masks and connections reforming. Just as it takes till the end of the book and a grown-up Sunny to define the fourth path for me, it also took that long for me to apply the story’s message to my world. It made me feel good that there was hope in this world gone wrong, once people realized that the disease was the common enemy and they must band together not just to survive but to live.
What I Wish
I found it hard to follow the initial scenes. It wasn’t until the stories merged that the plot began to flow for me. I wish that the beginning flowed as well as the rest of the novel.
To Read or Not to Read
A Beginning at the End is a unique story that will make you think and reflect – on your own life and humanity in general – and to that end, I would strongly recommend adding it to your bookshelves as soon as it comes out.
Thank you to NetGalley and MIRA Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and a special thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing and Justine Sha for my spot on the blog tour.
About Mike Chen
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter
A Q and A with Mike Chen will be posted tomorrow, so check back!
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