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Anna, St Helen and St Katharine

Where the World Ends

I really enjoyed this book, although most of my peers had the opposite opinion. This book is set in the early 1700s, in St Kilda. St Kilda is a cluster of islands and sea stacks, of the coast of Scotland. Where the World ends is about fowlers, sent out to a ‘Warrior stack’ to catch birds in the summer, for the harsh winters that come. Usually, the fowlers are left on Warrior stack for three weeks. They were left on that huge slab of vertical rock sticking up in the ocean for nine months. I had very low expectations for this book, but I found it a gripping survival story. The plot is well constructed and at a good pace, and I am surprised that McCaughrean could keep the book going and enjoyable. It is definitely believable, which is one of the things I liked about it. However, I was surprised when I realised that the book was based on a true story. How awful! All of the loose ends were tied up at the end of the book, and I thought it had a very effective yet sad ending.
The characters are all believable and unique. The act normally to their surroundings, and some develop so well throughout it that I was almost heart broken when my favourite died. The main character is Quilliam, one of the fowlers. His thoughts and feelings are described really well, but he doesn’t change in the book. All of the characters keep their personalities throughout, and characters like ‘the bully’, are almost too stereotyped for the whole book. However, there are some characters, like the younger fowlers, who’s personalities are shown really well through their reactions. For example, if someone says: “ Stop making that racket or you will wake every every dead sailor from his resting place!”, then all of the younger boys will look over the boat to see if there are dead bodies floating upwards.
The style is formal and suits the book well. The author creates the longing for home really well, for example by the boys telling stories to each other and there dreams when they sleep. There is a good balance in dialogue and writing, and as there is not much to say on a vertical sea stack, I think that it good. The book is more about the feelings of the fowlers.
Overall, I think this was a very successful and gripping book. I was very surprised that my peers thought differently.

Posted on: 30th April 2018 at 09:01 am

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