How do you start over after the end of the world?
"Not just an apocalyptic thriller, but also a timely reminder of what is most important in life—family, love, and hope.” —Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M
Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.
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A poignant look at what it means to be human
A Beginning at the End. has a unique plot that is 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 loved 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 the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.