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The End of All Things - Lissa Bryan Original review posted here: http://www.yourentertainmentcorner.com/?p=31996.

I must have read a completely different story than what is alluded to on the book’s inside flap because I feel duped. I realize this is fiction—the author is allowed liberties with regard to their characters and plot—but I expect a certain amount of realism when a novel isn’t labeled as a fantasy. I swear this book is the apocalypse in freaking la-la land with human-esque animals and quickly resolved troubles. I kept expecting unicorns and rainbows to randomly appear in every chapter to prove just how unrealistic this story is.

This may sound mean, but the protagonist, Carly, is written like a mentally deficient, virginal teenage girl. She’s 22 but doesn’t know the simplest every-day things and blushes at every compliment given to her by Justin. Carly is beyond sheltered and it’s a hindrance to her state of mind. Living in her own little bubble has left her inept. Alas, Carly doesn’t understand how the world has changed since the Crisis (a worldwide flu-like pandemic), and tends to act as if things will return to normal in the blink of an eye. It’s not rational thinking on her part when she can see the destroyed state of the world. Justin telling Carly she’s smart and that others would be in a similar predicament is Bryan’s way of justifying how immature and silly she’s made her protagonist. Carly’s stubbornness and overwhelming naiveté is annoying. “I can go more, honest!” she says during a bike ride. What kind of adult speaks like this?

The End of All Things is very slow going for most of the novel. Not much of consequence occurs in the first third of the book to make me care about the characters. The way the animals that flock to Carly react to her and Justin is beyond farfetched. It is amazing that Sam, the wolf, and Shadowfax (I hate that name with a passion!), the horse, are protective, empathic, and exhibit human emotions after being with them for such a short time. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of a horse physically attacking someone to save a human life.

Observations:

Many of the details aren’t well researched. For example, the duo and their menagerie of animals hole up in a brick house that Carly refers to as “warm and cozy.” I wish! I live in a brick house. It’s cold in the winter with the fireplace blazing.

**

Something that bothers me tremendously is Carly’s description of other survivors. They are called “looters” while she and Justin “forage” for supplies. This reminds me of the way the media portrayed survivors of Hurricane Katrina who were getting food from abandoned supermarkets. I won’t go into more detail than that because I’ll get pissed, but just know it did not endear this book to me at all.

**

There’s too much repetition. Bryan has a character say something, and then two lines later repeats it, as if we’ve already forgotten what was said. Either she thinks her readers aren’t able to follow the story, or her characters like to hear themselves speak.

**

I expected the heroine to be more of a modern woman. Bryan has written Carly as the ultimate damsel in distress and it’s upsetting to read. Bryan is trying to display a “real” person, but with so much knowledge to pick up on in the readily available in the real world, she falls short of the mark. Carly’s father was in the military and never bothered to teach her anything beyond how to fish and fire a gun. You’d think he’d have given her the basics on surviving in the wild at least. Carly knows next to nothing about survival or first-aid and it’s frustrating to read her reaction to Justin thinking she’s stupid (which he doesn’t, of course). Hell, even I know she’s stupid!

**

The supposed “troubles” Justin and Carly encounter are laughable. There’s no real suspense; no feeling of danger. You know they will be written out of their predicament after reading how easy it is for them to find food. ‘Cause yeah, it’s realistic to think everyone in America keeps canned goods in their home, stocked to the teeth in case of emergency food shortages. Did I fail to mention the book takes place in 2013 and not during the Great Depression? Oh, and they are able to spend the night in one of these fully stocked abandoned homes with no worries. What kind of apocalypse is this? It’s boring. Ideal for someone experiencing this in real life, yes, but this is fiction and should be intriguing and suspenseful. I want danger at every corner; it’s what keeps my attention while reading. Getting into The End of All Things was quite the chore because the characters, setting and plot fall flat.

**

I can’t forget to mention the long awaited love scene, which is like something straight out of fan fiction. I should have been leery when Justin magically produces a condom. The part that made me laugh out loud is when Justin goes outside the tent he and Carly are in and comes back with a “warm cloth” to clean her up with. Are you kidding me? They’re in the woods, not a bedroom in a house with functioning amenities! I’m not buying it.

**

I have other gripes but I’ll keep them to myself because I’m sure you can guess at this point, this book is on my Do-Not-Read list. This is like the adult version of Ilsa J. Bick’s Ashes, but Ashes is done so much better. The End of All Things is overly far-fetched in its trip-down-the-yellow-brick-road approach to an apocalypse for my tastes. I can’t recommend this for any reason other than a paper weight. And no, I won’t be reading the follow-up.

I was provided an ARC by Net Galley and the publisher The Writer’s Coffee Shop for an honest review.