I received free copies of the Into the End series to read for this review. My opinions are my own.
I love “end of the world” fiction. The whole idea that life as we know it can one day come to a complete and utter disastrous end is fascinating. How will it happen? Will asteroids crash into us? Will the sun blink out? The moon get too close to earth? A plague wipe us out (the most likely scenario)? Or will we just destroy ourselves with all our greed and selfishness? That’s also a likely scenario. Honestly, I don’t see it happening in our lifetime. Or our children’s. I don’t see it happening at all in the next million years or so, but it’s still fun to read about the possible ways in which we will end ourselves.
Into the End, by Bonnie R. Paulson, is fascinating to me because it’s a whole new way of destruction. Well, in a way. At first, it seems like the typical “disasters around the world/break down of society” motif. I mean, it kind of starts by explaining how Las Vegas is now ocean-front property. The great thing about Into the End, though, is not how the world “ends,” it’s what happens afterward.
America has been devastated by natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it, it’s happened. A little freaky to read after being hit hard with a hurricane two years in a row in an area that got lightly hit maybe once every decade or so! Plus, with all the tornadoes in the Midwest, the story takes on a bit of a “whoa, this is really kind of happening already” feeling.
After closing down airspace in fear of those who would use a bad time to take advantage of a weakened nation, the US government decides its people needs help too much to play the paranoid role much longer. Sadly, as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. Immediately upon opening up airspace, a series of bombings by an unknown faction begins.
Rachel Parker, a psychologist specializing in fear, and her doomsday-prepper husband decide it’s time to head to their uber-cool secret bunker to wait out the end of days. Seriously, the design of the bunker is one of the coolest things in the book. I love the way Paulson describes the place and how it’s practically invisible to those who don’t know where it is. I want a secret bunker like that! Anyway, Rachel, husband and kids all head off to the bunker. Sadly, Rachel’s husband is lost in a fire and she must finish the journey on her own. She barely even has time to grieve before one of her former patients shows up and informs her that her sister is in danger. She also discovers that a fear project that she was involved in two years ago may have a very major part in what is happening now. That’s where the story takes on a totally unique spin!
There are too many characters to get into in a single review, and they all play an integral role. Rachel and her somewhat estranged sister Brenda are the key players, though, and they’re as different as night and day. What I loved about the two characters is that they are flawed yet likeable. I can’t stand flawless characters, they’re not real to me and I can’t relate.
The story itself is fast-paced, with very few slow spots. It is the first book in the series, so don’t expect everything to be neatly tied up in a bow at the end. In fact, expect a bit of a cliffhanger. Fortunately, all three books are currently available, so you can continue right on with the story. Throughout the entire book, there was only one thing that really bothered me: the idea that a 15 year old boy is man enough to go off into a dangerous situation simply because he whined that he’s old enough to be a man. I wouldn’t have let him go. Then again, maybe when the end of the world comes, 15 won’t seem so young, and in the author’s defense, the boy was trained by his father to be a survivor. Still, it kind of bugged me!
Other than that one teensy thing, though, I really loved this book and plan to read the other two right away. Even if you’re not really into the whole “end of the world” theme, Into the End is more about family, love and survival than dealing with the apocalypse.
Purchase Into the End on Amazon / Barnes and Noble.
Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a survival pack in the Into the End book blast!