THE END OF THE DAY
Written by Claire North
Published by Redhook, April 4 2017 (***Not yet released***)
My star rating: 3.5 stars
Charlie has a new job. He gets to travel, and he meets interesting people, some of whom are actually pleased to see him. It’s good to have a friendly face, you see. At the end. But the end of all things is coming. Charlie’s boss and his three associated are riding out, and it’s Charlie’s job to go before. Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which. (Goodreads)
Every once in a while I encounter a book that’s very difficulty to review. It’s happened when my feelings were so strong I couldn’t sort them out. It’s happened when I didn’t like a book but was trying to explain that it was MY issues and not the book itself. I’ve even encountered a few books that I didn’t like and, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t put my finger on why. But this is a whole different reason. If you’re coming into this book expecting a streamlined, step by step plot with an ending that’s set in stone – this isn’t it. This book is all about the experience.
When I read the synopsis on Goodreads I was both intrigued and confused. It was unique, that’s for sure, but I didn’t fully understand what Charlie’s job was. It took me a while to figure it out, due to the writing style, but the basics are this: Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. He doesn’t take lives, he doesn’t cause anyone’s death, and he barely ever meets Death him/her self. What he does is brings specific gifts to people throughout the world. These gifts may seem random but they’re something that has an emotional connection to the person. That gift and what they choose to do with their life after receiving it will decide if now is their time, or if Death will pass them by. This gift may make the person see the world differently and take action, leave their town, treat people differently, and make general changes. If they’re the right changes, Death may come back later. If they don’t, then it was a warning that your time is coming soon. Charlie also visits those who are going to pass on so that he can honour them. He sits and talks, learns their stories, meets their families, and preserves what would otherwise be lost. As I said above there isn’t really a plot. This book is all about the places he goes, the things he sees, and the people he meets. It’s also about how he as a human deals with all of these emotions. So for me to review this is difficult. I think that everyone reading this book will experience it in a different way. Things that were emotional and impactful for me may not hit the next person in the same way. Things that I missed or didn’t relate to, someone else may latch on to.
There’s one thing that I can guarantee though – this is an incredibly HAUNTING read. The reality of how people treat each other and the world we live in is just heartbreaking at times. I will say that if you have anxiety about death this may be a hard one for you. My anxiety levels throughout this book were pretty extreme at times and I almost had to give up on it. I’m glad that I ended up pushing through to finish it and this book will be one that I think of for a long time.
I really enjoyed the fact that the Harbinger of Death was a mortal human. You wouldn’t think that someone with this job, constantly being placed into dangerous situations, would be human. But Death believes that things should be all done in the most human way possible. This job could very well have been taken over by another immortal like death, but all Harbingers (Death, War, Pestilence, etc) all had the human touch. Charlie was a sweet and down to earth character and being able to see how he handled all these emotions added a depth to the story. It was also interesting to see how he balanced such a demanding job and a personal life. It didn’t work out perfectly all the time, but then again, with a job like that, it would be nearly impossible.
I did enjoy this book but because of my anxiety and issues with the writing style I rated this one 3.5 stars. The writing style was something that I felt I never really got used to. I felt that it was a little hyper and distracted. It seemed like we would get into a certain topic or description of a situation and then next thing you know we were onto a completely different topic. Sometimes after the detour it seemed like we never really made our way back to the original topic. We would focus on something and then —— “Squirrel!” ——– onto something else. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as it kept things moving, but it was a little hard for me to keep straight sometimes.
I wanted to say thank-you so much to Redhook and to Hachette Book Group Canada for the chance to read this book. I have another one of Claire North’s books (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August) on my shelf and will be picking it up hopefully soon!
Until next time, happy reading!