June 14, 2021

Michael James: "The Hotel at the End of Time"

Title: The Hotel at the End of Time [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Hotel (1st of 3 books)
Author: Michael James [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural
Year: 2021
Age: 16+
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Entertaining twist on the portal fantasy/multiverse genre and the accidental heroes + found family tropes. Humorous and adrenalinic.
Cons: The purpose of the Hotel is unclear. The characters could use more growth/development. One of them comes into their powers unbelievably fast.
WARNING! Gore and violence.
Will appeal to: Those who like a crazy story that never lets up about a bunch of improbable heroes.

Blurb: Vain is the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time. On her way out, she took their prized possession: a Padlock that grants immortality. They will do anything to get it back. The forces of the Hotel are aligned against her: mundane items turned into weapons; a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes. Everything changes when Vain meets Emma, a timid grad student with impossible and terrifying powers. Together, they are propelled into an adventure that will see them battle the Wyatts, blow up several objects of significant value, and quite by accident, discover a way to stop the Hotel. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: this title was up for grabs on NetGalley (in the Read Now section). Thanks to the author for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


First thing first: this book was great fun. Please remember that while you make your way through my list of nitpickings 😉. Fun is a valid reason to read a book, even when you think it's a little unpolished (but still remarkable for an indie. I've read traditionally published books far more in need of a good editor. Like, there was an instance of "it's" for "its" in here, but as I said, non-indie books have their share of issues...).
Secondly: the blurb is a little misleading. Vain isn't "the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time". And she and Emma aren't the only main characters in the story - Vain fled the Hotel with Roman, a male friend who's bonded to her in a peculiar way (nothing that you've seen before, to the best of my knowledge).
I don't have a problem with quiet books, but I must admit I'm a sucker for a fast-paced story, especially if it involves multiple universes (at least as a premise) and people with powers clashing with other people with powers, or trying to get away from them. The Hotel is a place with access to a number of different versions of our reality, where people with special abilities have their memories wiped and then get bonded together in order to pour energy into a bottomless well. Two years prior to the book's start, Vain and Roman were able to escape (with a little help, that is) bringing a magical artifact with them, and they've been on the run ever since. Enter Emma, a quiet student who's on the Hotel's radar, and things get ever more hectic...except Vain and Roman have a chance against the Hotel now that Emma is in the picture. What ensues (but also precedes their encounter) is a series of crazy and funny - yet often deliciously bloody - incidents, involving a series of identical Hotel minions who aren't clones, a Hotel second-in-command named Trick for a good reason, temperament clashes, old frenemies, and new, terrifying powers. Did I tell you this book was great fun? [...]


Now, this might very well be due to a personal pet peeve (since I put lots of stock in my characters), but I think even for a book so heavy on action/humour and in third-person narrative, there was enough wiggle room for the protagonists to be fleshed out and/or grow more. Vain is hands down the strongest of them, but also the quirkiest - which is a good thing, except she's also the most socially clueless, and whether her antics are funny in a reasonable dose, sometimes they border on annoying (or at the very least, feel too deliberate on the author's part). There's also a character (I'm not naming them in order to keep more of the story under wraps) whose powers develop awfully fast, and who doesn't seem excessively fazed by what they can do, on an emotional level. Anyhow, whatever the reason, I liked them all, but I didn't fall in love with them, which is a requisite for a book to get the highest rating on my part.


The Hotel at the End of Time is the first installment in a trilogy, so I'm not complaining about lack of answers - especially not when the next book is getting the awesome title The Elevator to Everywhere, which, I hope, means that we're going to explore some of the alternate Earths the Hotel can access (August edit: actually, the author decided that the Elevator will be central to Book 3, while the second installment is called The Well at the Bottom of Everything). But I wonder - if the Hotel's creator is as powerful as the characters speculate, why does he need to employ "special humans" in order to produce energy? and what's the Hotel's ultimate purpose? Whether the characters have the answers or not, the issues are never openly addressed, not even in the form of questions. Unless the Hotel is simply a power plant built around the necessity to recharge the magical artifact that Vain has stolen, but the connection is unclear.
Despite the points I've made above, THATEOT was right up my alley with regards to the kind of story it tells and its originality, and I devoured it in a single day. I'm very much looking forward to travel in The Elevator to Everywhere next 🙂 (August edit: as I said, it turns out I'll have to wait for that, but at least now that Book 2 is out I got all the answers I needed about the Hotel and the Well's purpose!).

For my "The Well at the Bottom of Everything" review (second installment in the series) click here.
For my "The Elevator at the Brink of Infinity" review (third installment in the series) click here.
For more Adult books click here.
For more Supernatural books click here.


  1. :and then get bonded together in order to pour energy into a bottomless well. " This does sound wild! I love the sound of a hotel at the end of the universe. what a cool concept! And it's an indie too...

    I can definitely see trying this one!

  2. Ok that sounds great. I love people that develop special abilities in books. I mean, wouldn't we all like to develop some kind of super human ability.

    1. Except you always have to pay the price...at least that's what books teach us LOL.

  3. Funny is honestly enough of a reason for me to like a book, but I think a decent start could point towards a promising series.

    1. I do have hope - this doesn't sound like the type of story that might suffer from second-book syndrome. There's just so much to explore!

  4. Oh blurbs, I read one book recently and expected something, and it was nothing like the blurb had told me

    1. Either they tell you the whole story or...a totally different story LOL.

  5. Wow, you read it in a single day! I can't remember the last time that I did that with a book. That's high praise! Hotel sounds a little like The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden [but this one sounds much better]. In TGWSTKOS, the story was really funny and I enjoyed it even though it was a little impractical at points, but there were some characters that annoyed me. One of the main character's type of humour was an unintelligent, socially clueless type which I didn't like as much. Again, this book sounds much better than that though, it has a more fun concept to it.

    1. Well, I did read it in one sitting, but it was only around 230 pages, so 🤷‍♀️.

      I looked your book up! I can see how they would be comparable.


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