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Zoë, Impington Village College

Where the World Ends

This book had a promising start, it begins with a group of boys and men sailing across stormy seas to go fowling on a nearby collection of stacs. They come from a small coastal village on the mainland, named St Kilda, and they are leaving their mothers and sisters behind whilst they go on their annual work trip with their peers and teachers. The trip (and the book) begins well, with us being introduced to the birds on the island and the boys everyday routine. However, the storyline then changes dramatically when the boat ride to their homes on the mainland doesn't show up. This, one would imagine, would create endless possibility for adventure or at least a plan to escape. However, our hopes are falsely raised as the rest of the storyline plummets rapidly into the depths of the Scottish sea.
Firstly, within a book it is essential that the characters are clear and well explained to the audience as soon as they are introduced. This ensures that the reader is able to connect with them, to feel sympathy with them and to despise the ‘baddies’ within the novel. However, in 'Where the world ends', the characters are not effectively described or introduced. Therefore when the (limited) action occurred, I was in the dark about who was who and therefore how this was significant to the rest of the plot. As well as this my lack of knowledge about the characters led to the significant parts of the book not being as effective as they should have been. For example when one of the boys suffered from frostbite and as a result, had his toes cut off I wasn't able to be empathetic towards him or his situation. However if I knew more about the character in question then I would have been able to sympathise with him and his well being would have had more of an impact on the rest of the storyline.

Furthermore, the lack of action and adventure (despite this book falling into the adventure category) was off putting for the reader. One thing that bothered me was the fact that the boys never attempted to escape the island; only one boy made a raft and strangely, none of the others on the island were willing to try it. This leaves me with unanswered questions: if life on the island was as bad as the author described it as being then why did the characters act so feeble when a chance to escape arose? Also, within the novel I feel as if there should have been more action and potentially an increased number of subplots as this would add more tension to the storyline and therefore add interest for the reader.

Overall I was disappointed by this book especially as the general concept of the novel was interesting and it could have made an inspiring and successful story. However in my opinion the storyline was uneventful and badly written meaning I often resorted to skim reading in order to complete the novel. I would be disappointed if this book won the Carnegie as I feel that it doesn't live up to the high standards of the award or of the other books shortlisted.

Posted on: 16th April 2018 at 04:28 pm

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