Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Sourcebooks Fire
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 292 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
Time is a powerful thing. A minute can last for what feels like an hour, and yet an hour can fly by so quickly it feels like minute. We've all felt every excruciating minute while doing a task we do not enjoy, and yet more pleasurable activities allow the time to slip by in the blink of an eye. This Is Where It Ends plays with time. It's a scenario where everything feels like it happening too quickly, and yet at the same time everything feels like it isn't happening fast enough. It makes you all too achingly aware of what can happen in a moment and how quickly everything can change forever.

This novel's strength is the pulse pounding, tension inducing pacing. The ticking clock is always present, and always lurking. It becomes another character and you feel every minute along with the characters. This aspect is pitch perfect and the pacing is what makes this novel the intense read that is. While it was successful in creating the tone and atmosphere, it created a barrier to the other aspects of the story that I feel did a disservice to this story. While it focused on multiple perspectives both inside and outside of the room, and gave an all encompassing look at living through something like this, it never allowed us to immerse into one of the perspectives. The limited time with each lead to feeling a disconnection to any of them.

There is a distance, at least for me, and remoteness from the characters. This is a plot first type of story, and one that relies on that as it's hook. It takes the setting and makes it the story and I feel it does this at the cost of characterization. The characters never seem fully realized, and the emotional element of the story just never resonated with me. There is, of course, a few moments that leave a lasting impression. Those first few gunshots, in particular, resonate with the reader. This is an instance where the reader feels connected to the story because you feel that initial rush of emotions along with the characters. I am sure others will emotionally connect to it more than I did, but I did not feel the characters were developed to their full potential.

This is a tricky subject matter, and one that causes much debate. Marieke Nijkamp stays away from giving the shooter a voice. She instead focuses on small acts of heroism, kindness, and leaves an over all message of hope in the end. This isn't a story of what drives someone to do this. This is a harrowing look at the excruciating truth of each of the minutes inside something like this, and the reality of living through them. It's also the story of how you begin to piece yourself together even as you're still living what is tearing you apart.

While the characters never connected with me, and the story favoured the plot instead of character emotion, it's still a story filled with impact. It's attention grabbing, and engrossing so it ends up being a rather quick read. It's a harrowing page turner that, sadly, didn't leave the lasting impact on me that it wished it did.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that this book didn't connect with you as well as you had hoped. It sounds amazing and heartpounding, but I am sorry to hear that the great writing points is also what somewhat brings the story down as well. I'm definitely still interested in reading this and seeing how the author tackles such a difficult subject.


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