Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

DNF @ p. 121

I think if I stuck with this it could maybe wrest another pity star from me, but I'm really not feeling the book right now. On the one hand, I do appreciate what Mike Chen is trying to do with A BEGINNING AT THE END, a dystopian set in San Francisco after a plague has wiped out 70% of the population.

I have read a lot of dystopians and pandemics are a favorite way to kill all the humans in these sorts of books. Rather than focusing on the chaos and breakdowns of social mores that occur in such devastation, however, this book puts four individuals under the microscope: Krista, a wedding planner; Mojo/Moira, a famous pop star; and Rob and Sunny, a father and daughter who were displaced from their home by the plague, and rather than tell Sunny that her mother is dead, Rob has told her that she's getting treatment-- a lie that is starting to cause his daughter to act out.

It's really great to see science-fiction with diverse characters, set in a reflection of San Francisco that is actually recognizable to those who live there. The grittiness juxtaposed against open-mindedness (with, yes, some sanctimonious-- we are awesome, and we know it) is pretty typically San Francisco, and Chen did a good job portraying it in the setting.

I just wish that more was happening. The pacing was really slow and even though there was nothing wrong with the writing, nothing was happening and I found myself terribly bored. Maybe this will appeal to people who like quiet books that are more introspective but I wasn't really into it.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  

1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars

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