Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: 'Til The World Ends

'Til The World Ends

Author(s): Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre & Karen Duvall


Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa 

Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden-as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems.... 

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre 

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside-in the Red Zone-is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside...for good. 

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall 

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms-in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defence  the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.

Published January 29th 2013.


Dawn of Eden was fantastic. I've never read The Immortal Rules (I know, I know), but I had a decent idea about its premise. Here's a one-liner that will help those readers who are interested in reading this novella but have not yet touched The Immortal Rules: Before vampires ruled the world and humans became the lesser creatures, there was the apocalypse, the diseases and a group of humans who survived. Since I knew only this much, I had a slight hunch while I was reading the first fifty pages or so, and "bam!", the revelation about the epidemic still hit me hard. The writing is masterful because Kagawa chose to go all out this time, showcasing all the grittiness and brutality of the Rabids. Creepy and morbid, this story made me involuntarily shiver several times. 

The prospects are bleak and humanity is nearing its end, but amidst all this is an intense romance that brews up fast and furious. It took me by surprise how much I liked the love between Ben and Kylie though it wasn't the most solid romance. The love happened over a week or so, but when set against an apocalypse and harsh surroundings, the craving for love and the hope it brings is painfully real, and I got fully swept up into their passion.

New dangers sprout out at every corner and from the moment when Ben meets Kylie, it's all storm and no calm. The fast-paced action in this novel is delightful and because of that, this novella covers a lot of ground within a hundred and thirty pages or so. Loved it!

As for Thistle & Thorne, the world-building is quite limited yet well done within the small boundaries of the Snake Ward. If I'm not wrong, this novella has got nothing to do with the Razorland series. Since I have also yet to read Enclave, I was kind of worried that I won't be able to understand the story at its best. But, turns out, this story stands well on its own, dealing out details about the world as the story progresses. Again, we are faced with a fresh new apocalyptic universe! I'm amazed at how authors can keep surprising us with new interpretations of dystopian society.

After reading Dawn of Eden, I was almost hesitant to jump straight into another dystopian world, but trust me, this second novella varied so much in tone and writing style from Kagawa that I was mind-blown and in love, for the second time straight within the short span of an hour. The world is not creepy in any sense, but more brutal and relatable to our lives. There are guns, squatter settlements, junkyard, and the ultimate villain is only a beefy gangster boss. However, the story propels itself forward with amazing momentum and I am breathlessly tugged along by the rebellion and takeover mission launched by Thistle and Thorne. 

The romance isn't a center attraction of the book, and as for the promises of love between them, there is little or none. Yet, the air is thick with crazy attraction and a strange chemistry, and heavy with all the things left unsaid and unacknowledged. We know with a tiny bit of exasperation that this pair just aren't prepared enough to pursue love in the midst of their conspiracies, escape and ambitious plans. However, the ending hints at the possibility of a romance in the future when everything settles and for now, the promise of something better is enough for me.

But, the ending finale, Sun Storm, was a huge disappointment. It started off brilliantly with another apocalyptic setting that will blow your mind and make you sigh in wonder at the author's ingenuity. Fast forward a few decades and the sun in the sky has become a bringer of disasters. The temperature has shot up and there are often sun storms which either kill off anyone who comes into contact with the sun sparks or turn them into a kinetic-- a person with a special ability given by the sun (e.g. forecaster, weather controller, telekinetic)-- but the chances of that happening is close to none. 

Things start getting interesting when two kinetics meet, doubt each other, start to fall in love and eventually progress onto saving the world. Yet, the execution was lacklustre as there were a lot of slow moments, a romance that I could not invest myself into and a climax that was so hastily done that I was aghast. The two managed to save the world in two paragraphs! 

And sadly, this anthology ended up being just another book which almost became a quintessential apocalyptic read but missed by a mile. What a pity. 

Source: From the publisher for review purposes
Via Netgalley.



  1. I still haven't read anything from this author. I know! What is wrong with me? But The Immortal Rules is in my priority pile! :)

    1. Haha, yes *puts on a serious face* "What is wrong with you, Sara?!" I have Immortal Rules in my TBR list too ;) I've read the Iron Fey series by Kagawa though and the first three books were awesome (and then, in my opinion, it went downhill).

  2. I never did like Julie Kagawa after she ruined the iron fey series with her badly executed love triangle (love rectangle if you include Puck) >:(

    1. ...

      You must be the only person I know who considers Arianna a competitor for Ash's affections ._.

  3. Dawn of Eden really grabbed my attention as I read your review. Sel, thank you very much for sharing what you liked and disliked about the three stories. I wouldn't consider myself a dystopian fan but I liked The Immortal Rules when I read it last year. Hope you're enjoying an auspicious week!

    1. Oh, geesh! Looks like I really have to start reading The Immortal Rules :D I think Dawn of Eden would have most probably done it justice ;)

      My week has been lovely so far, auspicious greetings to you too!

  4. Well, I fell in love with the cover of this book and i absolutely love anthologies, but this one seems like not a very good distraction.
    Love the Dawn of Eden, though. But even from the synopsis, the third one does not sound that much intriguing but the second one is interesting enough.
    I might try this sometime
    Your reader,

    1. The cover really is something, isn't it? I like the blood veins since it reminds me of the rabids in Dawn of Eden :)

      Yeah, sad to say that the third one was a disappointment. I had hoped that the less famous author - Karen Duvall - would have come up with something equally exciting, but she didn't in the end :( At least Kagawa didn't fail us!


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