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A Beginning at the End: a novel Hardcover – January 14, 2020
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"While some readers might worry that picking up a book about a post-pandemic America in the midst of the current COVID-19 crises would feel too relatable, and perhaps even disturbing, the beauty of Chen’s novel is that it doesn’t dwell in the darkness. Though it’s set in the wake of enormous tragedy, it’s ultimately a story about hope, resilience and family—both the one you’re born into and the one you choose for yourself.... An exciting and dramatic tale...that shows the enduring power of hope and community amidst a crisis." —BookTrib on A Beginning at the End
“This postapocalyptic slice-of-life novel…delivers big emotions by keeping the focus small…. By foregrounding family, Chen manages to imbue his apocalypse with heart, hope, and humanity. Sci-fi fans will delight in this lovingly rendered tale.” –Publisher’s Weekly, starred review, on A Beginning at the End
“A Beginning at the End is the best kind of dystopian novel: one rooted deeply in the hearts of his characters and emphasizing hope and connection over fear. Chen has a true gift for making the biggest of worlds center around the most complex workings of hearts, and his newest is compelling, realistic, and impossible to put down.” —Booklist, starred review
“Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen's prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.” —Library Journal, starred review, on A Beginning at the End
“A slice-of-life at the end of the world, tender, character-driven, and gentle—which makes it feel all the more terrifyingly plausible…. profoundly subversive and honest… This book is never bleak. Instead, hope reverberates through every character and plotline.” –Tor.com on A Beginning at the End
“An imaginative premise, likable characters, and an uplifting ending…. A refreshingly nondystopian end-of-the-world story.” —Kirkus on A Beginning at the End
"Human beings are the worst, but they're also the best—and A Beginning at the End is a brilliant story about how the best parts of ourselves won't be stopped by a little something like the apocalypse." —Sam J Miller, Nebula-Award-winning author of Blackfish City
"A Beginning at the End is both an apocalyptic thriller and a timely reminder of what is most important in life—family, love, and hope.” —Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M
"If you're tired of grim, grueling apocalypses with high body counts and bleak horizons, A Beginning at the End offers an intimate, surprisingly gentle vision of post-disaster humanity, less concerned with how we might survive than with why—and for whom." —Alix E. Harrow, Hugo Award-winning author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
"With beautifully-drawn characters and an intricately imagined future history, A Beginning at the End tells an intensely human story about people reaching out through trauma and loss and discovering who and what to hold on to after the end of the world. Gripping, poignant, hopeful, and heartfelt." —HG Parry, author of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep
"Strikes the perfect balance of dystopian collapse…and a fresh start for humanity. It's science fiction with heart…you won't be able to put it down." –Meghan Scott Molin, author of The Frame Up, on A Beginning at the End
“[The characters] all grapple with questions of identity and morality, of what it means to be part of a family, of what we’re willing to sacrifice and for whom. This is a story that’s as fun as it is moving…. Mike Chen has richly imagined every detail... A Beginning at the End is truly a special addition to the postapocalyptic genre, and it stands up right alongside heavy hitters like Station Eleven and The Last." –Megan Collins, author of The Winter Sister
About the Author
- Publisher : MIRA; Original edition (January 14, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0778309347
- ISBN-13 : 978-0778309345
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.15 x 9.22 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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The plot is well-organized and I enjoyed navigating this new world with such a developed group of characters. Though some could fall into stereotype (rock star that's moved on with her life, over-controlling dad-ager, precocious child), each of our central figures are complex beyond their immediate wants. Chen did a wonderful job subverting expectation, which can be a difficult feat in a genre that usually follows a predictable storyline.
The audio book was pleasant, as well. I switched between listening to it (download Libby by Overdrive if you have not done so already) and reading the hard cover. Though I'm sad that TFOB was cancelled, I am glad that it led me to this book and this author.
I think that the author may have had potential to write a good dystopic post-apocalyptical novel when on page 374, he writes: "The truth is that this cure we are working on ... is not going to last. MGS is the fastest mutating virus we've ever seen. The thing that has been unleashed (is) going to be around for a really long time. All we can do is throw all our resource (against) it." Had the author started with that on the first page and introduced serious characters, with a cognizable plot, my impression of the novel would probably have been completely different. Rather, his first discernible character is a female rock artist Mojo followed by a succession of unredeemable unimpressive people you would prefer not to know anything about. You will find yourself skipping page after page trying to find where the "good part" begins but in vain - as there is no "good part." It is more like a script than a novel in that the vast majority of space is occupied by speech. Often inane speech. A lot of palaver. Description is largely absent. Such bunk.
I could only recommend this book for English as a Foreign Language or Second Language (EFL/ESL) student endeavoring to speak American colloquial English.
Easily one of the worst book purchases I have made in my adult life.
I shall endeavor to give it to an EFL/ESL student if I can find one. I do not want to give it to a Library as it would be a waste of good library space. If I had to give a present to someone that I do not like, this book would be ideal. In the end, however, I may just relegate it to the trash.
Top reviews from other countries
MoJo, Krista jumps at the chance to help. Krista gets Rob's daughter Sunny who is 7, to help her find MoJo. It turned Moria was MoJo. In the end they all become friends.