⇒ Blog Tour | Strangers? Friends? Survivors. A Beginning at the End explores what happens after the end of the world.⇐
**Many thanks to MIRA Books and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Mike Chen
(3.91 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Dystopian Science Fiction
Publication Date: January 14, 2020, by MIRA Books
Pages: 400 (Kindle version)
#ABeginningattheEnd #MikeChen #MIRABooks
Memories are meant to fade. They’re built with an expiration date.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. You know that song? The R.E.M. one? That keeps playing in my mind whenever I think about apocalyptic or dystopian novels. But this book is slightly different. It’s the beginning of a new world – rather, a reboot.
Life as we know it has been decimated by disease, and the 15% of the planet’s population left alive is trying to figure life out all over again. It’s in this season of discovering a new normal that four strangers’ lives collide. Let’s check out the blurb…
An emotional story about what happens after the end of the world, A BEGINNING AT THE END is a tale of four survivors trying to rebuild their personal lives after a literal apocalypse. For commercial readers who enjoy a speculative twist, or their sci-fi with a heavy dose of family and feelings.
Six years after a global pandemic, it turns out that the End of the World was more like a big pause. Coming out of quarantine, 2 billion unsure survivors split between self-governing big cities, hippie communes, and wasteland gangs. When the father of a presumed-dead pop star announces a global search for his daughter, four lives collide: Krista, a cynical event planner; Moira, the ex-pop star in hiding; Rob, a widowed single father; and Sunny, his seven-year-old daughter. As their lives begin to intertwine, reports of a new outbreak send the fragile society into a panic. And when the government enacts new rules in response to the threat, long-buried secrets surface, causing Sunny to run away seeking the truth behind her mother’s death. Now, Krista, Rob, and Moira must finally confront the demons of their past in order to hit the road and reunite with Sunny — before a coastal lockdown puts the world on pause again.
I saw all these people looking to one person, and that one person looking ahead, and they were moving together.
A running theme in A Beginning at the End is learning that no one can take on the big things all alone – least of all, the end of the world. Each of our main characters needs something from someone else in order to survive their new normal and their personal issues may keep each of them from receiving exactly what they need in time to make a difference.
Krista and Sunny have mommy issues, Moira has daddy issues, and Rob has Family Stability (read DFaCS) issues. It’s a nod to good writing to see these life dramas play out against the backdrop of the larger threat of a deadly virus looming over everything. That, and secrets… SO many secrets!
If you’re into dystopian fiction because you’re drawn to the destruction, terror, and mayhem that comes along with the imminent annihilation of the entire human species; well, this has plenty of panicked people, but its focus is mainly on humanity attempting a massive reboot. But that doesn’t mean all the thrill is gone! You’ve still got gangs, and looters, and cults – yes, cults! – chase scenes, and close calls. Reconstruction does not equal boring in this case.
We’re all hiding something.
In the beginning, I was expecting a cookie cutter end-of-the-world novel, but by the end of A Beginning… (see what I did there?), I was pleasantly surprised by a fully fleshed out story of strangers becoming friends and friends becoming family.
A Beginning at the End is now available at all of the following retailers:
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter