August 06, 2023

Ann Christy: "The Never-Ending End of the World" (ARC Review)

Title: The Never-Ending End of the World [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Ann Christy [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi
Year: 2023
Age: 14+ (technically an adult book, but it can be read by mature and even younger teens)
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Original take on the apocalypse. Engrossing and soulful.
Cons: The premise is a bit far-fetched in terms of scope (but hey, it's called "sci-fi" for a reason...).
WARNING! Some violence and blood (a mother taking a swipe at her child, too), though most of it is off-page.
Will appeal to:
Those who crave an apocalypse book off the beaten path. Those who like stories that play with time (though not in a time-travel sense). Those who need for their sci-fi to have a lot of heart.

Blurb: Coco Wells hasn’t seen another living person since she was a teenager. All of Manhattan is reliving the same few seconds, minutes, or hours on a loop...and they have been for years. Coco scavenges for food, reads, and - most importantly - avoids loopers. She’s learned the painful lesson that a broken loop can mean death. After eight years of solitude, learning to survive and precisely timing the loops that weave around the city, Coco wonders what lies beyond New York and what has become of the rest of the world. As she leaves home for the first time, one question haunts her above all: “Am I the only one left?” (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: this book was up for grabs on NetGalley (in the Read Now section) and Edelweiss (where it was free to download as well). Thanks to Campfire Publishing for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


For once, I'm going to be that person and start my review with a "target audience" caveat: I don't usually gravitate towards post-apocalyptic stories (though I've enjoyed some in the past), because while I love a book that makes me think, I'd rather not read a book that has the potential to make me suffer. With all the doom and gloom going on in my life (and, well, the world), what I need most - and look for in a story - is the chance to escape. But the (clever) title of this book caught my eye, and its (exciting) premise called to me, so I downloaded it before my mind made the leap to "post apocalypse"...and I'm so glad that I did, because it blew my socks off. The survival aspect turned out to be inextricably intertwined with the exciting premise I mentioned above, in ways I couldn't even have started to imagine; so, for all purposes, TNEEOTW is far from your average story about struggling to survive in a world gone to pieces - which is why you needn't worry about not being a post-apocalypse kind of reader, as long as broken-time-centered speculative fiction, moral dilemmas and ragtag bands of heroes are your jam. [...]


If, on a surface level, the premise is already intriguing enough, Christy uses it for a much broader scope. For a reason that will become clear late in the story, the majority of the population is stuck in a loop - or better, in an endless series of them, since they mostly affect single individuals - and so are the objects they were interacting with when what happened happened. At the same time, the rest of the world gets old/decays, but also perpetuates the generational cycle. Interacting with the loopers can be deadly for the unaffected, but it never fails to end with the loopers' annihilation, and if those in critical/key roles are removed from the equation, this can ultimately cause the infrastructures they "maintain" to crumble and destroy what's left of the world. Then again, the loopers take up space - and consequently, resources - that are vital for the unaffected, not to mention that it's easy to see them as "not real", and therefore expendable. This creates a series of problems, both practical and ethical, and ultimately a great divide among the survivors (with some gray areas as well) that somehow reminded me of the response to the Covid threat, so I wasn't surprised to learn (via the About section) that the author had written this book in the thick of the pandemic. Anyhow, I loved the moral dilemmas the story poses, and how it deals with choices, sacrifices and (possible) heartbreaking consequences - and mind you, there are always consequences when you try to fix the world...


I have to admit that, while I was committed to reading this book because of the premise, the cover was giving me "romance at the end of the world" vibes...and you know I'd rather have little to no romance in my reads; so, I was hoping that there would be much more to the story than that, but I was bracing myself for such a turn. Instead, Christy pleasantly surprised me again. TNEEOTW isn't a romance in any sense, though it's a love story in more than one, with its strong accent on parental love and found/blended family. But the fulcrum of the narrative - as I said above - is the courage of making hard choices for the sake of a greater good, without knowing how they will affect you and those you care about, all while asking yourself "Am I - and everyone around me - the anomaly? am I supposed to be here at all? should the world get fixed - and can it?" Without giving too much away, I can say that Coco's story comes full circle (at least in a way) in a touching finale that will make even the thickest-skinned readers tear up a bit. If you're looking for a soulful, yet thought-provoking novel that spans decades and will surprise you at every turn, with beautiful imagery to boot, this is the thing.

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  1. Whoo hoo! Love seeing you find a solid five-star read. A post apocalyptic time loop - very interesting. Glad there was no romance to ruin it for you

  2. This kind of end of the world stuff usually appeals to me on a certain level. Last person around, exploring deserted ruins... And this was a Read Now? Hmmm. I love the ethical questions it poses, as well as the fact that this was written during the pandemic. As awful as that was, I feel like it's fertile ground for ideas and for us exploring these thorny questions.

    1. Not deserted ruins...still cities...the parts caught in the loops stayed exactly the way they used to be. And if you're interested, you can still download the book - it only gets archived on September 30th!

  3. Wow, I've never heard of this, but I love the idea, it sounds pretty unique! I'm always in the mood for a good post apocalypse story, I'll have to remember this😁

    1. It doesn't get archived till the end of September, so you have time to get it for free!

  4. Oh yay I am SO glad you loved this one! Unlike you, I always gravitate toward this type of book, so I was looking forward to this one, and now I know I need to get to it ASAP! It sounds awesome! Great review!

    1. I was indeed thinking of you while I prefaced my review with "I don't usually gravitate towards post-apocalyptic stories" πŸ˜‚. This is still Read Now on NG (and EW, I think) until Sep. 30th, so you can download it!

  5. Oh that sounds good and sounds like it had a really good ending.

  6. This sounds so interesting, I'll have to check it out. The Time-loop aspect is intriguing to me.

    1. And this is a time loop like no other!

  7. Oh wow, that does sound like a unique premise. And until you started talking about it, I hadn't thought about how that would affect maintenance of the world, resources, etc. It sounds really cool and well thought out!

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by that as well. I mean, I'm always drawn to books with weird premises, which are sort of a guarantee with me - but I love it when there's so much to them that meets the eye, or they go in directions I didn't expect.


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