This was an undertaking, not one I’d thought I’d have, really, when I first started reading this. I thought it would be easier. I truly did. It was not. Unless I can get another book read in a few hours, this is the only review you get today.
Edit: I did not get another done
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The End And Other Beginnings (Stories From the Future) by Veronica Roth
Synopsis From The Book
No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.
In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.
With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.
With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.
Short Stories – Fantasy | YA – PW |Self Harm, Near death experiences, Loss through Death, Familial mental abuse | Loss, Grief, Acceptance, Transformation and Change, Identity, Life and Death, Beginnings and Endings
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Another collection of short stories, although in a different form, I do believe. I’m excited for this collection. I like Veronica Roth’s writing style. This is a collection of large short stories, while the last one I read was shorter stories. Neither is wrong no right, okay actually no. They are both right. So very right, because they are stories.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
When Inertia made me cry, I knew we were off to a great start. The second one reminded me of The Host, a lot. Made me want to reread The Host. Hearkener made me yearn for more, while Vim and Vigor made me smile. The Armored Ones was a full on fantasy novel that I needed more of. Then I got The Transformationist and I KNEW I needed a full novel series on this set of worlds. Maybe a duology for Armored Ones, and a single novel for the Transformationists world or something. I just needed more.
I wish that the second story was placed differently because after Inertia I needed another powerful story to come after and I feel that I would have liked it better if it were placed later.
This is a collection of short stories. They are as follows
Inertia: Claire gets a call in the middle of the night that her former best friend was in a car accident and may not survive the night. He listed her on his last visitation car, a practice where the dying and loved one could share memories with each other and talk one last time. Claire meets Matt in the memories. They remember the first time they spoke, when they really became friends, and their favorite memories with each other. Matt remembers how Claire was with him when he needed her most, and we see how they broke their friendship when Claire needed him most. We saw the first time Matt saw her and Matt convinces Claire to grieve his death not to lock it up and to take her depression medicine, because its meant to help her and her art, not to stifle her. Claire leaves the visitation, Matt telling her he loves her, and she stays at the beach the whole night. Matt survives his surgery and after time he does wake up. Claire begins to take her depression meds and meets with him when he wakes. She lets him hear her heart beat as she listened to a song he loves, and then she kisses him telling him she loves him too.
The Spinners: We get the story of Atleigh who is a bounty hunter for aliens called leaches. They attach themselves to bodies and become in control, of their host body. Her father was consumed by one and her mother died from one. She is looking for her mother’s murderer. She picks up her sister, Lacey, after her sister has been expelled (not that she knows) and they head to the ocean to give their mother’s ashes to the sea. Along the way Atleigh gets into a fight a a boy named Eon saves her. Eon is a leach, a symbiot is what he calls his people, and he believes in only taking hosts that were already empty (aka brain waves, but no conscious). Lacey finds out and freaks out. Atleigh and Eon go and find her mother’s killer and then they make up with Lacey deciding to help her get back into her space academy.
Hearken: Darya has to make a decision between death and life. When she was seven her father realized she had perfect pitch and by eight she was tested to enter the school for Hearkeners. Although her father passed away later, she enrolled and began her path of music. A Hearkener decides at the end of the education to hear Life songs or Death songs. All people have life and death songs. And Hearkeners can hear them. Darya picks death as her sister asks, but she is overwhelmed by her mother’s death song when she first hears it. It’s only after another boy, who hears life songs, plays Darya’s life song, that she realizes how close death and life are to each other.
Vim and Vigor: Edie has to decide who she’s going to go to prom with, Evan or Chris. Her best friend Adriana is telling her she has to choose and she can’t make up her mind. She goes to a movie instead. It’s the first time she’s hung out with Kate and Lynn since Amy died in a car crash (a drunk driver hit them) and Edie doesn’t know how to feel exactly. After the movie Edie goes to Kate’s house (Lynn bails) and they use a machine that lets Edie see two choices before her. She tests her prom options, because the option she chooses will be the person she’ll be that night, the person she chooses to be then and she has to decide. She walks through both options and Kate finds out at the end, claiming that Edie only used her. Edie goes back home and does the only thing she could do, sends Kate the fan art folder she’d been drawing for Kate’s fan fiction that she’d be following even when she didn’t talk to Kate. Kate, Lynn, and Edie go to prom in cosplay of the characters. She didn’t want to go with Evan who wanted her when she was lonely or Chris who wanted her when she was happy, but she wanted to be there with Kate.
Armored Ones: This was split into two parts. Part one was Teka. Teka was a girl who was training to kill the emperor’s sister. The sister was not evil, but not good and Teka was doing it for vengeance. She learns of the princess’ weaknesses and also that her trainer was the one that sold her family out. She is ready to kill the princess despite what she learned. The second story is of a kidnapped boy named Akos who is trying to prove himself so that he won’t be mistreated forever despite being a prisoner of war. He does so by using his magic to place a massive creature (Armored one) at peace and then kills it for all to see. He is ready to escape with his brother.
The Transformationist: This story follows Otho. He was in prison for a year after his mother died and he was tried for her murder (his currentgift caused her to die). However, testimony has arisen that he was acting in self defense. When he goes back to his home world for a mandatory literacy test, he speaks to Jove, a boy who had seen what Otho’s mother had been doing. Otho has to decide on what he wants to be, to go back to prison for two years and wait out his sentence or to say the truth of what happened and testify against his mother and all that he ever knew. Jove convinces him that its okay to want to be warm, and Otho chooses to testify.
What I Liked:
Claire and Matt; Their romance was so cute.
Last Visitation; The idea is so intersting.
Themes touched; There were so many in this short passage. The biggest being loss, and grief.
Mental Health; In both Matt and Claire we get two different takes on depression in two different ways. Matt’s stems from his father’s death and Claire’s stems from her mother’s abandonment. The two cope in different ways and Claire seems to fall through the cracks, which results in her lashing out at Matt and their relationship falling apart until he almost dies. I appreciated the different takes on it, as seen in two different characters.
Atleigh and Lacey: I liked their relationship.
Eon; I always have a soft spot for the ‘enemy species but is not our foe’ troupe.
Eon and Atleigh; their relationship was cute.
Darya; I liked the complexity that she had to face when making her decision for her life.
Other characters; We did not get much of them, but they were all complex for what we did get.
Hearkeners; I love this system and it is perhaps one of the best ones I’ve read. I could read an entire novel dedicated to the Life and Death songs, and to Hearkeners.
The State of the world; A world at risk of bi threats at all time? This is such an interesting world and I need more of it with the Hearkeners.
Vim and Vigor:
Edie; I really liked her and the type of person she was. Her decision on who to pick for prom was less on which boy, and more on what sort of her she wanted to be that night and I respect that 100%. She made the right choice IMO.
Kate, Lynn, Edie, Amy; This relationship was beautiful and tragic. Amy died in the accident, and they were shattered. I’m happy that the three were able to reconcile together.
Vim and Vigor; The comic series seems interesting. However, more than that, I hard core empathized with my nerd girls. Fanfiction, analysis, the works, I’ve been there and I liked how it was the center focus of this story.
The character backstories were extremely intricate for how short this section was.
The secondary characters were also fully rounded and developed.
What really captured me, outside of characters was the plot and world building. In the span of less than thirty pages we got a war, two countries, the main country’s political system and values, a magic system, and mythical beasts. I was thoroughly amazed, drawn in and in love.
Currentgift; I need more on this magic system, because it is enticing me.
Transformists and Culture; I really liked reading of this part and how this one culture shaped the MC, as well as all the other ones in the country.
Otho; As a main character, his experience was so visceral. I felt his pain every step of the way.
Connection of The Transformationist and Armored Ones; At first I wondered if Otho were related to the characters of Armored Ones. He was not, then I realized it was in the same universe and I was enchanted. This universe, it’s magic system, and everything about it is so lush.
Art; It was so beautiful!
The title; I now know why it was called what it was, and I love it.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
When compared to Inertia, the whiplash was a bit much for me. I think that this plot, while good, was too simple to follow that one up. I would have liked it to be later on. upon reading the others, I think I would have liked it later after Hearken, which I feel would have worked better after Inertia than Spinners. I’m 100% sure I would have liked this story better if it were placed in a different place.
It ended too soon. I need more.
Vim and Vigor:
I need this as a full book too.
I just need a full series with this and Armored Ones. Thanks.
The Spinners: 3/5
Vim and Vigor: 4/5
Armored Ones: 5/5
The Transformationist: 5/5
“Art is, above all things, both vulnerable and brave.” – pg 33
“It’s okay to want to feel better.” – pg 35
“What I didn’t know was that love was a tiny firefly in the distance, blinking on right when I needed it to.” – pg 41
“Everything has always been carrying me toward you.” – pg 47
‘She had been wrong to say that death was the mystery, not life.’ – pg 133
Vim and Vigor:
too enthralled with the world. I’m sorry.
“Transformation will destroy you. It will unmake you… And here is the true horror… You must let it.” – pg 221
” ‘ Even now, I’m scared that if I want anything, I’ll want everything, and I won’t be able to stop.’
‘You will. You’ll want everything. You’ll ache for things you can’t have, and will never have. Impossible things, and improbable things, and stupid things, and evil things — you’ll want them all. But you’ll also get things. Things you want. And… they’ll make your life full, and they’ll make it so you can keep going, and … They’ll keep you warm.’ ” – 255