Where Honesty Never Ends.
A Book That Ends with Me
by H.C. Turk
Greetings everyone! The Review Board has arrived to share its thoughts on A Book That Ends with Me by H.C. Turk.
First to share her views, Harmony Kent:
Genre that makes you go Hmmm: This is a difficult book to place as far as genre goes: it would fit equally into SF, Surrealism, or Urban Fantasy.
It contains a strong humorous thread throughout. The style comes across as allegorical in many ways, and this is a novel that would benefit from a second read through. A re-read may help to clarify some of the more obscure sections.
The world is coming to an end. Predictions are sent to every nation in e-mail messages. But this time, instead of fraud or some misinterpretation of ancient history, the events are coming true. Stan Powers, an average guy in Florida, finds himself living events predicted in the messages, from a picnic on a planetoid to a baseball game played by Greek gods, and finally to Darkday, where demons go door to door and steal the souls of people whose lives are epic failures. These alternate realities are taking over Stan’s life, and soon will take over the world. Verification is provided by scientists who learn that after each prediction is lived out by Stan and his friends, gravitational time stops in the Solar System. Cults of Earth Enders form across the world, their members willing to kill anyone to save the planet. Stan, who is soon in their sights, must learn if he is just a pawn, a player, or the predictor himself.
The book is told in first person POV, and alternates between Stan’s view and his friend Jimmy’s. Most of these switches are clearly defined, with only a few slips into unannounced head-hopping. The writing style is passive in nature, and there are a fair few typos contained within the text. I did not feel drawn to any of the characters, and felt the development was on the flat side. The plot and pacing was good throughout, if a somewhat confusing ride at times. The narrative jumps between realities frequently, and occasionally moves into present tense whereas the majority of the prose is presented in past tense. The whole thing has a bit of a ‘down the rabbit hole’ feel to it.
I must admit to having to work hard to keep reading at times. I found some of the scenes difficult in the extreme to follow or make sense of, and found myself wondering ‘what was all that about?’ after some of them. If you are a fan of books in the ilk of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ then this book may possibly be for you. The text could do with some editing and further proofreading, but on the whole is passable. I would say the character development is limited, but the plot and pacing are good. I give this work 5 out of 10 stars.
Next we have Casey Prism:
World, meet Stan.
Stan’s just your average guy. His job’s nothing fantastic: a quality taste tester at a fig factory. Immediately Stan delves into explaining the mass email declaring the end of the world.
Stan has multiple encounters with a woman named Ginny, who jumps from nut-job to possible deity and back again. She loves to fish, though rarely uses hooks. Odd, perhaps…or it could just be the alternate realities again…
This book has a phenomenal sense of humor and keeps you laughing from beginning to end. I also enjoyed some of the underlying messages that seemed to mimic (albeit outrageously in a good way at times,) some of today’s real world issues.
When it ended, I had a lot of unanswered questions. Considering the pace of the book, I expected a bit more. There’s a lot of info and many, many sudden scene changes that leave a bit of confusion. I feel some may be intentional but need to be adapted more thoroughly in order to be more coherent for the reader.
Puppy, you’re cute but what’s your purpose?
Overall the premise was refreshing and enjoyable. I’m always down for sci-fi and a good apocalypse. This was certainly atypical, which was nice. I wish more was divulged about the van chic and the necessity over the constant use of puppies, along with my previously state qualm with unanswered questions and scene confusion.
I did like the look of the cover, though besides one scene I wasn’t sure quite how it fits the story.
Verdict: After much debate, I’m giving A Book That Ends With Me 6.5 out of 10 stars. It doesn’t feel fair to go with a plain six yet I couldn’t bolster it up to seven. With a little polishing that number could easily go up.
Now last but certainly not least: Nikki Vision.
Weird, wonderful and thoroughly entertaining read.
I liked the first person narration in this book. It was strong and humorous and also witty. The dialogue is funny and naturalistic and I was hooked from the beginning. I really liked the opening paragraph. Intriguing.
I thought that the idea that Stan, an author that hates reading novels in the first person, is writing his novel in the first person really gives us an insight into his flawed character. Although it is Stan that narrates most of the book, the story is also seen through the eyes of his friend Jimmy; and often re-tells the incidents that occur, so that we get a different perspective on what may, or may not have happened. I liked the quirky way HC Turk uses this technique to move the plotline along; it kept it fresh and engaging.
Stan, and other people start receiving e-mails telling them that the world is going to end. This triggers a series of very unfortunate and often very funny events. There are some truly weird and wonderful moments, and I find it hard to pick just one that would sum up the style and atmosphere of this book. But I have chosen this bit of dialogue as a taster:
“Don’t start on me, man. My mom, remember? She heard about this e-mail crap and she’s worried. She thinks she’s going to die poor.”
“Your mom isn’t poor.”
“She wants her velvet painting of Jesus back. She thinks it’s worth something.”
It is full of eccentric and strange characters that seem to have some kind of supernatural powers. Ginny is one such character and is given some great metaphysical dialogue that adds to the feel of strange this book has.
I looked to Ginny.
“Hungry?” I asked.
“I won’t be eating,” she replied.
“Have to pee?” I asked.
“I won’t be peeing.” she replied.
“Take a nap?”
“No dreaming, or drowning!”
I admit to feeling some disappointment to find that Ginny,upon turning normal, displayed zero personality. That was not average. That was exceptional.
There are pseudo gods and goddesses, a reworking of the seven deadly sins, myths and legends and some fabulously surreal moments that kept me wanting more.The dialogue between Stan and Jimmy is marvelous. We get to know about other characters and their personality from their often, surreal conversations.
When crazy things begin to happen, no one is really sure if the weird occurrences are real or mass hysteria. At times reality is blurred and alternate realities become clear. But one thing is for sure, nothing is going to be the same again and our hero is determined to uncover just what is going on.
It reminded me of a scene from a David Lynch film, I’m thinking Twin Peaks meets Eraser Head.It is also reminiscent of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
And somewhere, somehow, elements of the chess game with Death in the Ingmar Bergman film The Seventh Seal.
At times metaphysical, the narrative is rich with philosophical one-liners and references to mankind’s role in the universe and here on earth, and is more than it first appears to be. A truly complex and rewarding read.
“When did you consider that people found themselves on this planet to avoid doing things that animals cannot help but do, such as expending one another? Does your subordination to an assumed or proven moral force justify your destroying in the name of righteousness?”
However, at times, the author and his opinions, surface above the actual storyline and I was aware too often of HC Turk’s voice, rather than Stan’s or Jimmy’s. Some scenes were a little repetitive in content and theme, and I think a little bit of editing here and there would make this a less sermon sounding, soap box diatribe on God, the universe and everything.
Verdict: 9 out of 10 TRB Stars.
But, I thoroughly enjoyed the wackiness of this book. On the whole it is well written with an easy to read style that just flows. Theapocalyptic end-of-world scenario that we are not quite sure is true, held my attention to the end. The dark humour and the idea of people getting emails and texts that say we are all going to die is prophetic, because we are. This book has a message, one of wisdom and acceptance. Maybe the ending was a little too preachy for my tastes, but it is so funny, so clever, and so readable. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Overall, The Review Board gives A Book That Ends with Me a 7 out of 10 stars!
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