Saturday, 19 October 2019

REVIEW - THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS - STORIES FROM THE FUTURE BY VERONICA ROTH

Title: The End And Other Beginnings Stories From The Future 
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens, YA, Dystopian, Futuristic
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, Harpercollins
Release Date: 1st October 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.

In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.

With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.

With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.
 

Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
As I loved reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was immediately interested in reading this collection of short stories/novellas. I was also interested by the fact that some of the novellas are set in the same world as some of her other series too, in particular her “Carve The Mark” series which I have not read any of as yet.

The cover is green and features what could be doors or frames on it. I don’t like the cover but at the same time I don’t hate it either. The cover would not make me pick it up from a book store shelf to learn more about the book. It would be the authors name that would make me take the book from a shelf to discover more about it.

The theme/setting of the collection is the “future” so I thought futuristic maybe dystopian in genre, which is a genre I usually love. The book has six novellas and they each have their own individual titles, which are, Inertia, The Spinners, Hearken, Vim and Vigor, Armored Ones and The Transformationalist. I did discover that I had already read Hearken elsewhere though I cannot remember where and I still really enjoyed reading it again. I have decided to tell you about just a couple of the stories as I don’t want to reveal too much about the whole fantastic collection.

Inertia is one of my favourite novellas from the collection. The main characters are Claire and Matthew, and it is set in a future that when you are on a life support machine, or dying you can have visitations with your loved ones where you can talk to each other in the dying persons consciousness. Most people stated those they wanted to have last visits with in their wills. It turns out that Matthew has requested Claire to be one of his last visits along with his mother. Claire goes first, though she is surprised about Matthews request as though they were good friends, well best friends but they had drifted apart more recently. Claire is very nervous as it is her first visitation with anyone so she is a little unsure how it all works and what to expect. When Claire gets to the hospital, she is seen by a Doctor Linda Albertson. Claire’s blood pressure and other vitals are checked to make sure she is fit and well enough, then the sympathetic and friendly Doctor hooks her up to the machine, electrodes are touched to her head and an IV needle. Dr Albertson explains the procedure explaining younger people seem to take to it much easier. Claire is having her visit first, then Matthews mother will have hers later but before Matthew undergoes a last surgical attempt to help him. Claire’s visit will be an hour, and she may have to explain how the visitation works to Matthew. They each get to choose and revisit the memories they shared together, to kind of relive them.

The short story then has the pair reliving/reviewing their shared memories and remembering how much they cared for each other and how close they actually were. They seem to be able to get over whatever it was that came between them in real life. Within their memories everything makes more sense. As the visit comes to an end both are at peace with each other and Matthew says something important to Claire, something he said he had wanted to say to her before but was unsure. When the visit is over and Claire is brought back to reality, she realises she still has things she wished she had had the time to say to Matthew but now its over, or is it? Matthew has his visit with his mum then he goes for a last attempt at life surgery.

I really loved this story and the elements within the world and would love more stories set around this technology and the world it exists in.

Hearken was the other novella I also really loved and was fascinated with the world it was set in. Another futuristic world I would love to read much more from. As I said I have read this one before and though it is a rarity that I re-read anything, I re-read this one and still loved it as much.

Being a Hearkener is very rare but it is discovered that the main character, Darya, in this book has the gift. She does not come from a well off or high-class family. She comes from a poor family, just getting by. Her mother is an alcoholic and has been since shortly after her second daughter Darya was born. Khali can remember their mother when she was alcohol free and happy and did things with her family, rather than the reclusive, numbed alcoholic she is now. Khali tries to explain this to Darya but Darya cannot remember her mother prior to being an alcoholic at all. The world they are living in is one that it is in the constant threat of terror attacks. The family have two masks, for to breath in the toxic fumes from the bombs the terrorists set off is a death sentence. It is Darya’s father that accompanies her to be tested to see if she can gain a place to be trained as a Hearkener. They do not have their masks, as, Khali and her mother need them to walk to school. There’s an incident on the way and Darya’s father escapes with her but has inhaled some of the toxic gas. They go home unable to travel on to the building the test is being held at. They will have to make another appointment.
When they finally make it to the building the test is at a woman with the black markings of a Hearkener looks pitifully at Darya’s father. Later when he dies and when Darya is accepted to train as a Hearkener and learns more about it all she realises this woman could hear her father’s death song. Hearkeners have a choice they can choose red, then they will hear people’s life songs. Or they can choose black, which means they will hear people’s death songs. So, what with Darya choose? If her older sister Khali has anything to do with it, she will pick black. Khali wants to hear their mother’s death song and tries all ways to persuade Darya to decide on black. They argue with Darya saying she cannot promise anything and that once she has chosen, she cannot change her decision. Meaning if she chooses black to hear their mother’s death song, she will be a death song Hearkener for the rest of her life.

Again, I really enjoyed this story and loved the characters. It would be great to read more set in this unique world setting too.

I did enjoy the other novella’s too which consisted of The Spinners, Vim And Vigor, Armored Ones which is the novella set in the same world as the Carve The Mark series, and finally The Transformationalists.

I think Vim and Vigor was quite different to the other books, it had a more realistic setting and was more about friendship and dreams for the future rather than being set in a more futuristic/dystopic setting of the other novella’s.

On the whole I really enjoyed reading this collection of novella’s and it reminded me as to how much I had loved reading Divergent, also written by Veronica Roth. I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for any forthcoming title by Veronica Roth hoping she may release some full- length books based in the same worlds and setting as this novella, or even more novella collections to read.

So, to sum up definitely well worth reading! Oooo and I almost forgot there are some brilliant sketch illustrations in the novella collection too!


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