The End of the World Survivors Club managed to explore new areas of a post-apocalyptic world, whilst still mainting the fast pace and anxiety-inducing action of the previous book, as a family tried to reunite against all the odds.
Title: The End of the World Survivors Club
Author: Adrian J. Walker
Publication Date: 5th September 2019
Publisher: Del Ray
I am, however, feeling a little ambivalent about this book. I have a lot of time for an ‘open’ ending – although that can be very unsatisfactory, it made the story from the previous book, The End of the World Running Club, a lot more realistic, rather than wrapping everything up with a pretty bow. Apocalypses should not have happy endings, this is something I feel very strongly.
This meant that part of me was constantly rebelling against the story – a bit of “why are we bothering with this”, shortly followded by “good, it’s about time it was about Beth instead of Ed.”
I think that was what sold it for me. Beth and her children were shipped off pretty quickly at the start of the previous book, and the narrative ended up being all about Ed as he became a new man, someone more resilient, harder and someone who was prepared to do whatever it took to get back to his family.
So I was glad that this story was all about Beth. And that she wasn’t simpering. In fact, she showed the hardness and determination that Ed had never previously displayed. During their marriage she had felt as though she was caring for three children and, after she and the children had been helicoptered away, she had essentially given him up for dead, meaning that she was more than prepared to just depend on herself.
Unfortunately, it was this attitude that made Beth a very unsympathetic character. She was mean, she was rude, she was arrogant and ungrateful. She was surrounded by people who were willing to risk their lives in order to reunite her with her children, and she was just as willing to risk them. Perhpas I would be more empathetic if I was a mother, and I certainly raged with the injustice of Beth’s children being stolen, but still …
The End of the World Running Club had been all about Ed’s development as a person. Finding depths he didn’t know he possessed, as well as grit and determination. The End of the World Survivors Club felt more like a story about one family trying to find their children. Beth’s growth was a lot more subtle, learning to trust others and learning how to depend on other people – I just didn’t feel like it was a lesson that she deserved to learn.
And Tony – the man who had lost everything and was prepared to chase Beth and her crew halfway across the world for revenge? He was both compelling, and the most pantomime of villains, leaving his goons in charge and grandstanding all of his plans.
I love the different ways that the world implods in an author’s imagination when it comes to an apocalyptic setting, but it was perhaps the distance covered in this story that made it feel more far-fetched than the previous book.
I think I need to settle at 3 stars – it was well written, fast paced and exciting. But I finished it relieved that it hadn’t drawn out the story any further.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exhange for an honest review.