Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

End of Days: A Page-Turning Teen Read

The year is 2012, and all of the world's most renowned astrophysicists, theoretical mathematicians and astronomers have died within the same 12-month period. Except they haven't. Their deaths have been faked, and They've been taken by the International Aerospace Research Institute to hopefully find a way to destroy an asteroid (200m in diameter) that will collide with earth in approximately 24 years. Seven years later, their mission is revealed by the brilliant and reclusive innovator Joshua Fichett, whose alleged death the next day is attributed to a Judgement Day group who believe that the asteroid is God's way of purifying the earth. As the day of impact approaches, society crumbles, resulting in supply shortages, violence and desperation.

Meanwhile, Fitchett, who staged his death is working on his own solution to the disaster. He recruits hundreds of gifted children and 16-year-old gang-leader Billy to lead them. The End of Days is drawing closer, and Billy and the children are the Earth's last, best, hope to preserve civilization.

When I started this book, I have to admit I was skeptical. However: It only took a couple of chapters before I was completely sucked in and absolutely riveted. Aftermath novels are extremely popular right now, but what makes Eric Walter's book unique is that he explores the impact of this impending disaster on society as it waits for the disaster.

When Fitchett makes his announcement, the reaction is understandably doubtful. They are the words of a crazy man- one who has spent too much time away from society, and surely must be wrong. But as the evidence starts to prove him correct, the world takes a different turn. In the ensuing years leading up to the disaster, Walters presents a picture of a different world than the one we know. It's a dog-eat-dog world, where religious extremists find legs, and essential supplies such as food and fuel are scarce. Poverty, starvation and violence are part of the norm, and it is an overall bleak, and chaotic environment.

The writing is tightly focused, the story suspenseful, and offers a lot of ideas for discussion. For as long as I can remember there has been speculation about the Nostradamus and Incan prophecies predicting the end of the world. So far, they've been refuted, disputed and dismissed, and the world has continued as normal. But- what if the end of the world were truly imminent? Does a visionary like Fitchett exist who could find a solution? Would religious extremists become the new leaders? These are all questions I pondered while reading the book, and Walters' vision is not difficult to imagine.

I've read quite a few of Eric Walters' books, and this is by far the best of the bunch. It is thoughtful, suspenseful and realistic, and there is no romance or teen angst to disrupt the narrative.  As a Red Maple Award nominated title for 2012, I expect that this highly absorbing and entertaining  novel will be a popular choice with teens and tweens- and especially boys.

Highly recommended!