"Read The End First is a wonderful collection of devious and inventive tales about the end of the world. The apocalypse has never before been this much fun!" - NY Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry, author of DEAD OF NIGHT and ASSASIN'S CODE.
"The authors have produced a series of tales far removed from your run of the mill apocalyptic fare. This is a strong collection of unique visions of the end of the world, with enough twists and originality to keep even the most jaded fan of the genre turning the pages." - David Moody, author of the HATER and AUTUMN books
"Read The End First is a chilling and utterly unique take -- or rather, 24 different takes -- on the end of the world as we know it. These stories present a fractured prism of apocalypse served up every way imaginable. Open it anywhere and be afraid." - Joe Schreiber, author of STAR WARS: DEATH TROOPERS and CHASING THE DEAD.
"Zombies, plagues, giants, asteroids, machines, angry gods, whatever the fear, you will feel the icy touch of the end times when you read these tales." - Sean Page, author of the amazon UK best-seller THE OFFICIAL ZOMBIE HANDBOOK and WAR AGAISNT THE WALKING DEAD
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Usually, for anthologies, I like to say something about each individual story, but in this case, I decided it would be best to keep my comments more general to avoid any spoilers.
"...humankind suffers the consequences of tampering with our environment." - Graham Masterton
Armageddon Oudda Here was one of the best intros that I've ever read in any book, and I strongly recommend that you read it before diving into the stories. However, it's not so much that humans behave irresponsibly in this anthology - they just get too clever for their own good. There is also an introduction by Joe McKinney, author of the Dead City series, which gives readers the perfect mindset for the tragedies within. Not to mention, the editing was superior throughout the entire entire book.
For a horror anthology (and, make no mistake, these stories are terrifying...one even had me bawling like a little girl), this collection had an incredible sci-fi tone to the end-of-the-world theme. There are no happy endings, but some of the characters accept their fates more gracefully than others, while some fight until they take their last ragged breaths. Every story is unique, which I found amazing, but I'm not surprised - most of the authors are well-known for their remarkable story-telling...and if you aren't familiar with any of the names, this is a great way to sample the writers who have been making names for themselves in the past couple of years.
I've read hundreds of horror and sci-fi stories, and it is a constant challenge to find something that stands out year after year.Read more ›
Few anthologies are good this consistently throughout. I did have favorites however. R.B Payne's "Kaupe, God of the Cannibal Dog-Men," and "Best Intentions" by Rebecca Snow fell into that coveted place for me. If you like wonderfully written, end-of-world scenario stories (as I definitely do), then you should give this a read!
I may work to revise this review later, but I just read Stephen A. North's story, "Like A Man," and I have to say it was tightly written, interesting all the way through, and what's more, I could really believe, from the description, that these froglike people and the digging machine actually exist! So ... while I won't give anything away, the end of the book - to me, anyway - is what solidifies this story into what I suppose I would call "Sci-Fi Horror." Good job, Stephen. Can't wait to read more.
There are some anthologies that one can read cover to cover in one sitting and there are some that need to be taken in a single story at a time. For this reader, Read the End First fits into the latter category. That is not to say that the stories found between the pages of this book are not worthy of a reading marathon. The majority were very well written, intriguing and downright terrifying at some points; however with 24 stories each written in a different time zone and all regarding some way that the world will end, let's just say I prefer to limit my daily dose of depression. There are no happily ever afters, so the mood must be there to take on a full dose of...the end.
That being said, I did enjoy the concept of each story being set in a different time zone, thus each presenting a very different location in which to begin their apocalypse. Without going into detail on each story, suffice it to say that we find 'the end' comes in a variety of ways from the total annihilation of all humanity to the utter destruction of Earth. There are plot driven tales, as well as those that are more character driven, so the majority of reader preferences will be covered. Another wonderful aspect to the anthology is the wide range of emotion that each tale takes you through. Yes, it is well known that each story will end with some form of apocalypse and the end of everything, but the path and that each author takes to get to 'the end' is quite an adventure. Terror, sadness, disbelief, I could even go as far as to add relief to the list of emotions that the authors of Read the End First have aided in evoking.
As with all anthologies, there are some works that were enjoyed more than others, but overall Read the End First is a nice compilation of how the world ends.
I liked a few of the stories in this collection, but too many of them were religious end of the world stories with exotic Norse, Hawaiian and made up gods. And one story about soul suckers taking over the world.