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Hanna, BSG

Where the World Ends

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean follows a fowling party to Warrior Stac as they try to survive after being abandoned there with no way to return home. Based on a true story, this is a tale of survival, belief and the importance of stories.

Personally, I found the characters hard to relate to due to the book being set in the 1700s. While this added to the atmosphere, there were certain aspects to the characters that made it hard for me to sympathise with them. Due to the time period and location of the book, the characters were religious, quite uneducated and valued different ideas and opinions than the average book reader. I also noticed that, while speaking, the characters used words such as canna (cannot) but they thought in proper English. This was probably done to make the book easier to understand but a bit more consistency would have been nice. However, as mentioned before the atmosphere and setting were phenomenal.

For pretty much the entire book, the plot is focused on Warrior Stac. The only time we really get some variety is when the characters are reminiscing about the life before the book. Since these are the only windows of escape, the plot is trapped in the same setting. While this helps build the hopelessness the characters are feeling, it can make the book difficult to get into. The large number of characters also helps add variety so, despite the fact we focus most on Quill, our protagonist, the consistency of the setting is downplayed.

The way the book is written is enjoyable though in a way quite causal. One might have expected that due to the genre and the author's need to make us feel bad for the characters, the point of view would be first-person but, the book is actually written in the third-person. This is used effectively to allow the reader to learn what even Quill does not know. For example, the reader learns before Quill how Mr Farriss is 'truly haunted'. This helped build suspense. Something that struck me as odd about the way the book was written was the almost casual way some dramatic events were described. However, the reveal that it was Murdina telling the story made a lot of sense since she had not experienced any of the events hence the lack of horror that someone who had would have brought.

Finally, I feel that the ending of the book was at odds with the story that had been presented. Despite all the awful things that had happened, the ending was almost fairy-tale like. Understandably, the reader wants all the best for characters. However, the rushed explanation of all that has happened just does not seem realistic. I almost preferred what the chapter 'The White Ship' left us with. That ending seemed more realistic with Quill realising that life would never be the same and leaving the island. The transition from really depressing to everyone living happily ever after in one chapter was not very well done and dampened the ending of a book that was actually okay.

I probably would not reread Where the World Ends again as I expected more from this book. I might recommend it to some friends I know like the survival genre or to someone who likes stories based on real life events. It was appropriate for my age group though there are some gory scenes not all readers might be comfortable with.

Posted on: 30th March 2018 at 02:36 pm

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