A Beginning at the End
How do you start over after the end of the world?Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.

A Beginning at the End Details

TitleA Beginning at the End
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Adult, Adult Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Novels

A Beginning at the End Review

  • Megan Collins
    January 1, 1970
    A BEGINNING AT THE END offers something I haven’t seen from post-apocalyptic fiction before: the point at which society begins to rebuild, when people must move forward, try to cultivate a new sense of normalcy, all while living with the lingering trauma of everything they lost when their world collapsed. This book does an excellent job exploring the struggles of that kind of life, but what I really admire is that most of the characters’ biggest challenges are ones that we’ve all faced, A BEGINNING AT THE END offers something I haven’t seen from post-apocalyptic fiction before: the point at which society begins to rebuild, when people must move forward, try to cultivate a new sense of normalcy, all while living with the lingering trauma of everything they lost when their world collapsed. This book does an excellent job exploring the struggles of that kind of life, but what I really admire is that most of the characters’ biggest challenges are ones that we’ve all faced, flu-ridden world or not. These major characters (an ex-pop star, an event planner, a man who lost his wife and made a regretful decision in the name of protecting his daughter) all grapple with questions of identity and morality, of what it means to be part of a family, of what we’re willing to sacrifice and for whom. This is a story that’s as fun as it is moving. The characters are well developed, each with layered back stories that propel them forward—or try to derail them—in this new world, and the world itself is a fascinating one. Mike Chen has richly imagined every detail of the book’s Metros and Reclaimed territories, and I loved seeing how the old way of life overlapped with the new. A BEGINNING AT THE END is truly a special addition to the post-apocalyptic genre, and it stands up right alongside heavy hitters like STATION ELEVEN and THE LAST.
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  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestDNF @ p. 121I think if I stuck with this it could maybe wrest another pity star from me, but I'm really not feeling the book right now. On the one hand, I do appreciate what Mike Chen is trying to do with A BEGINNING AT THE END, a dystopian set in San Francisco after a plague has wiped out 70% of the population. I have read a lot of dystopians and pandemics are a favorite way to kill all the humans in these sorts of books. Rather than Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestDNF @ p. 121I think if I stuck with this it could maybe wrest another pity star from me, but I'm really not feeling the book right now. On the one hand, I do appreciate what Mike Chen is trying to do with A BEGINNING AT THE END, a dystopian set in San Francisco after a plague has wiped out 70% of the population. I have read a lot of dystopians and pandemics are a favorite way to kill all the humans in these sorts of books. Rather than focusing on the chaos and breakdowns of social mores that occur in such devastation, however, this book puts four individuals under the microscope: Krista, a wedding planner; Mojo/Moira, a famous pop star; and Rob and Sunny, a father and daughter who were displaced from their home by the plague, and rather than tell Sunny that her mother is dead, Rob has told her that she's getting treatment-- a lie that is starting to cause his daughter to act out.It's really great to see science-fiction with diverse characters, set in a reflection of San Francisco that is actually recognizable to those who live there. The grittiness juxtaposed against open-mindedness (with, yes, some sanctimonious-- we are awesome, and we know it) is pretty typically San Francisco, and Chen did a good job portraying it in the setting.I just wish that more was happening. The pacing was really slow and even though there was nothing wrong with the writing, nothing was happening and I found myself terribly bored. Maybe this will appeal to people who like quiet books that are more introspective but I wasn't really into it.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  1.5 to 2 stars
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    A fresh, and dare I say charming?, take on post-apocalyptic fiction! At first glance you may not think that end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it and heartwarming tale can exist in the same story to a satisfying end, but rest assured that they do! This book strikes the perfect balance of dystopian collapse from major medical event (who doesn't love rubbernecking at that train wreck?), and a fresh start for humanity. Fans of Station Eleven will really enjoy Chen's masterful vision of what real people A fresh, and dare I say charming?, take on post-apocalyptic fiction! At first glance you may not think that end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it and heartwarming tale can exist in the same story to a satisfying end, but rest assured that they do! This book strikes the perfect balance of dystopian collapse from major medical event (who doesn't love rubbernecking at that train wreck?), and a fresh start for humanity. Fans of Station Eleven will really enjoy Chen's masterful vision of what real people (who have gone through said end of the world) would look like attempting to piece together a utopian society. We meet Rob and Sunny, and we find a father trying his best to shepherd his daughter through a broken world to find the love and joy that still exists on the other side of tragedy. We meet Moira who is desperate to escape her past as a pop star, and wants nothing more than stability and normalcy. And we meet Krista, who is a *surviver* through and through--bound and determined to make this new world work for her. They are four very real-feeling human experiences of the same rebuilt society, and you come to care deeply for and root for all of them...even when a secret comes to light that could tear apart their friendship. It's the best of everything I love...it's imaginative yet realistic world building, it's an adventure, it's a love story, and it's a look at what really makes a family--not just blood. Humanity in Chen's book hasn't given up...they're rebuilding. Maybe imperfectly, but he captures that will to exist. To be fully human. To live, and to learn, and to love. It's science fiction with heart, and you won't be able to put it down.
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  • Rec-It Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    perfection
  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Update: This book is out now!!I received an ARC from the author.This book was such a treat. It was simultaneously charming, endearing, heart-warming AND horrifying, heart-breaking, and suspenseful. The apocalypse has come and maybe not completely gone, but everyone left has to keep on living. It's a great character study in perseverance and love, especially in how vulnerable we must be to connect with others. I read it so fast; I forced myself to pace it and only read one "part" a day, but I Update: This book is out now!!I received an ARC from the author.This book was such a treat. It was simultaneously charming, endearing, heart-warming AND horrifying, heart-breaking, and suspenseful. The apocalypse has come and maybe not completely gone, but everyone left has to keep on living. It's a great character study in perseverance and love, especially in how vulnerable we must be to connect with others. I read it so fast; I forced myself to pace it and only read one "part" a day, but I could have easily binge read it in one sitting. The pacing is really great throughout. The characters are believable and traumatized in their own ways. I love how everyone went through the same apocalypse, but of course each character processes it and internalizes it in different ways. I highly recommend this book. Snatch a copy when it releases Jan 14, 2020!
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Longer review to come later.**review copy sent to me by the publisher but all opinions are my own
  • Diana Urban
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book, and it is AMAZING. Full review to come...
  • Lou Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    This is Chen's brilliant follow-up to his previous wonderful Debut time-travel tale: Here And Now And Then. This gem was devoured in two gulps … unfortunately I had to go to work in between. This amazing yarn highlights the notion than mankind will not be stopped and obliterated by such a "little thing" as post-viral apocalypse that claims over 5 billion souls. A vivid portrait of what truly is most important in life … family, friendship and getting involved in diverse relationships. This novel This is Chen's brilliant follow-up to his previous wonderful Debut time-travel tale: Here And Now And Then. This gem was devoured in two gulps … unfortunately I had to go to work in between. This amazing yarn highlights the notion than mankind will not be stopped and obliterated by such a "little thing" as post-viral apocalypse that claims over 5 billion souls. A vivid portrait of what truly is most important in life … family, friendship and getting involved in diverse relationships. This novel is delightfully reminiscent of the award winning novel, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. The collapse of civilization is put on hold … while the survivors adjust and persevere in the face of overwhelming adversity and impending doom of further outbreaks. Chen weaves a powerful and moving narrative that ties together a complex nucleus of fleshed out characters … Moira, Krista, Rob and his daughter (with the specter of his dead wife, Elena) Each of the characters are flawed and imperfect … carrying secrets and baggage that guides their motivations and actions. The story is beautiful and moving and attests to the strength of love, friendship and humanity. Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin-Mira Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof of this gem in exchange for an honest review. (readersremains.com)
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story about what happens after the “end of the world”. We follow four characters and their intertwining stories: Moira (or MoJo) an ex pop star trying to escape her past and stay hidden from her father, Rob, a widower figuring out how to move on with life after the tragic passing of his wife, Krista, a woman trying to make something of herself and forget her terrible childhood, and Sunny, Rob’s daughter, a kid growing up in a post apocalyptic world.The story started fairly strong. I This is a story about what happens after the “end of the world”. We follow four characters and their intertwining stories: Moira (or MoJo) an ex pop star trying to escape her past and stay hidden from her father, Rob, a widower figuring out how to move on with life after the tragic passing of his wife, Krista, a woman trying to make something of herself and forget her terrible childhood, and Sunny, Rob’s daughter, a kid growing up in a post apocalyptic world.The story started fairly strong. I liked all the characters. They seemed fully fleshed out. They were mostly likable. They had their own wants and needs and desires. Their stories and the way they intersected was interesting, even if a little mundane (think wedding planning, parent teacher conferences, etc.).Here’s the thing. When a book says “post apocalyptic” I’m expecting there to be much less civilization present. The world building didn’t make a lot of sense to me for a post apocalyptic story. Most of the Earth’s population was wiped out by a flu virus (think 1 billion left alive out of 7 billion). Some people have gathered in the cities and are trying to rebuild. They still have internet, cell phone service, and apparently french fries and cheeseburgers. Most people suffer from what they call “PASD” or, “Post Apocalyptic Stress Disorder”. They go to group meetings for support. They hire bounty hunters to find their loved ones.Some pockets of people reject that way of life and go out to start a new way of life centered around farming. Others apparently remain as bandits and gangs in the deserted lands between the cities. The world just seemed too populated to really be considered “post apocalyptic”. Was the flu a major disaster? Sure. But nothing about the world really felt like it ended. Things in post apocalyptic life in the metro centers seem mostly normal. There is still flight travel and buses and customs checks and such. I guess in the end I just didn’t buy into the world building.It was really driven home when one random character states the metro(s) of New England are still struggling due to winter storms while Minneapolis was doing alright. Minneapolis gets more snow then much of New England. South of New Hampshire and Vermont (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut) winter is actually pretty mild. Where I’m from, it’s rare that snow lasts more than a week. New England just isn’t that fragile. I realize this is one tiny line in the whole book, and yeah, sometimes southern New England has a brutal winter, but as a whole it felt overwhelmingly under researched.Another example (warning, spoilers ahead) is when the government decides that Sunny would be better off without her dad because her dad, who holds a job and raises her alone and yeah, is grieving, but otherwise okay, is “unstable”. And in order to rebuild society, family units need to be stable.You know what will screw up a kid real fast? Being ripped from a loving home. Again, I just don’t buy it. Whatever Rob did was done out of love. He was not abusive. He did not abuse alcohol or drugs. He was providing. Taking a seven year old away from her only family is about the quickest way I can think of to destabilize them. Sure, government workers are sometimes incompetent, but in this book none of it rang true. (Aside from the very obvious, why doesn’t Rob just pack up with Sunny and move?!)The nature of this story is more sappy sweet than I like, and for it to work there are a lot of conveniences built in. I did read through it fairly quickly, and it could be entertaining if you are willing not to look too closely at it. People will likely compare this to Station Eleven, and those comparisons aren’t entirely inaccurate, but unfortunately, A Beginning at the End is simply not as well done.Thanks to the publisher who supplied a review copy.
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  • Rebecca Wilcox
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book. A BEGINNING AT THE END is very different from any other Post-Apocalyptic novel that I've read in recent years. There are no life or death struggles, no toppling of governments. Rather, the action is intimate and personal. It's the kind of science fiction that gives you hope for the future.The story is told through the POVs of four very different characters, all fighting through their personal traumas to create new lives in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Though each has I adored this book. A BEGINNING AT THE END is very different from any other Post-Apocalyptic novel that I've read in recent years. There are no life or death struggles, no toppling of governments. Rather, the action is intimate and personal. It's the kind of science fiction that gives you hope for the future.The story is told through the POVs of four very different characters, all fighting through their personal traumas to create new lives in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Though each has their own individual story, the unifying thread is a grieving widower's struggle to retain custody of his young daughter in a new society that favors stability over everything else. This book isn't for everyone. If you're looking for Mad Max or the Hunger Games, this isn't going to satisfy. This book is an emotional journey wrapped in the apocalypse, focusing on the small things that give big things meaning.A BEGINNING AT THE END is the kind of quiet book that seeps into your bones while you're reading it. While it's technically sci-fi, the characters are the heart of this story, and the setting isn't nearly as important as their transformations. Above all, this is a book about love and family connections, both the ones that harm us and the ones that make us stronger. (I received an ARC of this book from the author as a prize in a giveaway with no expectation of reviews, etc.)
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  • Suanne
    January 1, 1970
    As in his debut novel, Here and Now and Then, Mike Chen brings a refreshing new emotionalism to science fiction with his latest work, A Beginning at the End. This is a refreshing take on post-apocalyptic sci-fi. A flu pandemic devastates the world population—and takes with it the world economy and infrastructure—bringing an end to the world as we know it. As a physician, I found that aspect both realistic and terrifying. Chen does a great job in his near-future world-building, showing the As in his debut novel, Here and Now and Then, Mike Chen brings a refreshing new emotionalism to science fiction with his latest work, A Beginning at the End. This is a refreshing take on post-apocalyptic sci-fi. A flu pandemic devastates the world population—and takes with it the world economy and infrastructure—bringing an end to the world as we know it. As a physician, I found that aspect both realistic and terrifying. Chen does a great job in his near-future world-building, showing the after-effects of such a pandemic. He weaves together the lives of Rob (who lost his wife not to the flu but to the mob-mentality afterward); Krista (a survivor of childhood physical and emotional abuse from her alcoholic mother); Moira, a former child musical prodigy and pop star running from an abusive father; and Sunny (Rob’s daughter who, despite the new world order, is a refreshingly outspoken and slightly precocious child). These characters read as real—flawed, but surviving. They search for normality in an abnormal world, living with the accumulated trauma of this post-apocalyptic world while staring at a new pandemic. They grapple with questions of identity, the new vs the old morality, how to become a family related, if not by blood, then by choice. Like Here and Now and Then, A Beginning at the End is a kinder, gentler look at post-apocalyptic science fiction and well worth the read.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Review coming soon.
  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    First I would like to say that I LOVED Here Now And Then and was SUPER excited to be approved for this Arc from Edelweiss. Thank you! This is not another time travel book. This is an end of the world disease where the end is on pause. There is mad max stuff happening and government controlled "regular life" where the rules are almost Handmaid's Tale. You get three people to read about with pretty cool backgrounds, popstar, alcoholic parent, and dead wife. This is a very unique end of the world First I would like to say that I LOVED Here Now And Then and was SUPER excited to be approved for this Arc from Edelweiss. Thank you! This is not another time travel book. This is an end of the world disease where the end is on pause. There is mad max stuff happening and government controlled "regular life" where the rules are almost Handmaid's Tale. You get three people to read about with pretty cool backgrounds, popstar, alcoholic parent, and dead wife. This is a very unique end of the world book and I know that Mike Chen fans are going to love it.
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  • Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely top shelf. One of the best books of this genre that I've ever read, up there with Earth Abides by George R Stewart. My only complaint was the length. I wanted more. It would have been interesting to get more of Moira's backstory, and that's all I can say without spoilers. This book is a great read. Although it won't be released until 2020, it's one of my favorite pieces of fiction read in 2019. Looking forward to his other book.
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  • Erin Parisien
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book! A spectacular follow up to Mike Chen's Here And Now And Then. I loved the concept from the moment I heard it, and the author didn't disappoint. The characters are fantastic and the tension keeps you turning pages long after you told yourself you were going to stop. Definitely recommend (and if you haven't already, seek out Here And Now And Then).
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) More like a 4.5A Beginning at the End gives us the opportunity to shed who we were in the midst of the flames. When we are faced with our own mortality, scared of the end, who will we be? What pieces of our lives become most important to us? A Beginning at the End maintains this balance between a post-apocalyptic setting with a quest for hope and family. Sure the world is plagued with (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) More like a 4.5A Beginning at the End gives us the opportunity to shed who we were in the midst of the flames. When we are faced with our own mortality, scared of the end, who will we be? What pieces of our lives become most important to us? A Beginning at the End maintains this balance between a post-apocalyptic setting with a quest for hope and family. Sure the world is plagued with this pandemic, but our lives go on. We pick up the ashes of the ruins and we have to figure out how we will continue living. Told through four perspectives, A Beginning at the End tackles issues of stability, idealism, and hope. Faced with the demise of the human population, how does the government and our system of law and order morph? Stability becomes important not only for our own sense of self-preservation, but for the continuation of our species. It means that our decisions about love and families become political.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • VL
    January 1, 1970
    I will read everything Mike Chen writes
  • Karen’s Library
    January 1, 1970
    I read ALOT of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic books. A Beginning at the End was probably one of the most realistic books I’ve read in this genre. I loved everything about it. Ok, maybe not the bits about the virus killing off 70% of the people. But, definitely about how the vast majority of the survivors pick themselves up and actually rebuild their world. Is this new world like it used to be? Not quite. But close. Cell phones still work. There’s still internet. And TV. Technology doesn’t I read ALOT of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic books. A Beginning at the End was probably one of the most realistic books I’ve read in this genre. I loved everything about it. Ok, maybe not the bits about the virus killing off 70% of the people. But, definitely about how the vast majority of the survivors pick themselves up and actually rebuild their world. Is this new world like it used to be? Not quite. But close. Cell phones still work. There’s still internet. And TV. Technology doesn’t revert back to the Middle Ages. People actually move on with their lives. Yes, there’s grief and loss and support groups. But there is life, and love. This is the world I’ve always pictured if there is ever an apocalypse. In Mike Chen’s story, the world is recovering from an epic flu that happened six years before. Moira, Rob and his young daughter Sunny, and Krista, are all strangers who come together. The story is told from their alternating POVs. Each and every one of the protagonists were extremely likable and interesting. I was actually hooked in the prologue when it started out with a pop star teenager running away from her life and disappearing into the apocalypse. It was actually an interesting look at the probable life of a burnt out teen with a parent who pushes his kid into stardom. I knew right then that this book would be unique from others of this genre. I’m new to Mike Chen’s books, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be looking for more from him.
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  • Amber (The Book Bratz)
    January 1, 1970
    The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I still don't have enough words to do this book justice. Wow. Just wow. I love post apocalyptic books and books where society is trying to get back on it's feet after something horrible happens. A Beginning of the End is something fresh in the post-apocalyptic genre. Society is rebuilding from a flu epidemic that killed 5 billion people and left the living traumatized. It's about finding a family when there is no hope and even the darkest The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I still don't have enough words to do this book justice. Wow. Just wow. I love post apocalyptic books and books where society is trying to get back on it's feet after something horrible happens. A Beginning of the End is something fresh in the post-apocalyptic genre. Society is rebuilding from a flu epidemic that killed 5 billion people and left the living traumatized. It's about finding a family when there is no hope and even the darkest moments could have beautiful outcomes. The story is told in four distinctive point of views: Moira, Krista, Rob and his daughter Sunny. Each voice is unique and you didn't need to be told what character you were reading from, you just knew. Each character was flawed and imperfect and trying to find their way in a world that was coming back together while it was still falling apart. Each character has their own secrets and regrets that have gotten them to where they are now and that have shaped them into the character they are upon the end of the novel. I do wish however that we did get more chapters from Sunny's POV, granted she is seven but I really enjoyed being in her head. Her reasoning skills, the way she perceived the scraps of what is left of society. There is so much I wish to discuss but I am going to leave for the reader to find out. I found it fascinating the society Chen created in the aftermath of this epidemic. The structure of society, safety protocols, quarantines and government programs created to make sure society gets back on its feet and stays there. It's fascinating because this book is 100% plausible and not just a wild work of someone's imagination. (As I read this I thought about the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the many what ifs that could have been if it hadn't been contained.) I jump at post-apocalyptic books and though I expected this book to be different (more about the virus, ect.) I am glad that I read the book I did. Chen wrote a beautiful story about people coming together and that family isn't always blood. Society will never be perfect, even when it gets to rebuild itself. But also, that there is always something else out there waiting, another epidemic waiting to come to light. A Beginning at the End will be a book that I will be recommending for a long time to come. If you are looking for a breath of fresh air, this is the book for you.
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  • Jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    Review coming soon!
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing "cool" to do but reading sitting in front of the a/c as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. (Yes it is hot and humid in Canada!) I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do . How do you start When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing "cool" to do but reading sitting in front of the a/c as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. (Yes it is hot and humid in Canada!) I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. How do you start over after the end of the world?Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.In post-apocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into a panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.The thing that is scary about this book is that the premise could happen TODAY - pandemics are real and beyond possible. And SCARY. (Especially the thought of hippie communes coming back!) The story is well crafted and although the book seems to have a decidedly YA angle, any age would enjoy reading this masterfully crafted story. The characters are fascinating and their way of surviving was smart and inspirational. Tweens on up will love this story - this adult decidedly did! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it some Golden Gates - 🌉🌉🌉🌉
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  • Paige Green
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: A Beginning at the EndAuthor: Mike ChenBook Series: StandaloneRating: 5/5Publication Date: January 14, 2020Genre: DystopianRecommended Age: 18+ (violence, some mature scenes, death, plagues, CPS, the usual)Publisher: MIRAPages: 400Amazon LinkSynopsis: How do you start over after the end of the world?Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: A Beginning at the EndAuthor: Mike ChenBook Series: StandaloneRating: 5/5Publication Date: January 14, 2020Genre: DystopianRecommended Age: 18+ (violence, some mature scenes, death, plagues, CPS, the usual)Publisher: MIRAPages: 400Amazon LinkSynopsis: How do you start over after the end of the world?Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.Review: I really liked this book! It was an amazing dystopian adventure with a highly imaginative post apocalyptic world! I loved the examination of characters and I really like seeing how people react to different pressures put upon them by society. I liked seeing how society reinvented itself and how it was trying to reclaim what it previously had. I also liked the writing and the world building.However, I did feel like the pace was a little slow and that some dystopian fans would be turned off by the focus on the post apocalyptic and not the ensuring disaster. Overall, I really loved this book!Verdict: Definitely recommend this one for dystopian fans!
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  • Traveling Cloak
    January 1, 1970
    Rob is a single dad and IT worker, Moira is an ex-pop star, and Krista is an event planner. Each is looking for a new start in San Franciso after a nearly-apocalyptic flu wiped out much of the world's population. In a world where looting is common and everyday people wear medical masks to work, it hard to define "normal". In addition to constant fear of outbreak and gang activity, Rob, Moir, and Krista must all battle secrets from their past to survive in the new world.A Beginning at the End is Rob is a single dad and IT worker, Moira is an ex-pop star, and Krista is an event planner. Each is looking for a new start in San Franciso after a nearly-apocalyptic flu wiped out much of the world's population. In a world where looting is common and everyday people wear medical masks to work, it hard to define "normal". In addition to constant fear of outbreak and gang activity, Rob, Moir, and Krista must all battle secrets from their past to survive in the new world.A Beginning at the End is a fresh take on The End of the World. You are not going to find any zombies, worldwide flooding, or AI takeovers here; just the stories of normal people trying to live their lives. The aspect I like most of Mike Chen's apocalypse scenario is how realistic it is; from the flu pandemic, to the looting and gangs, and the Reclaimed Territories where groups of people attempt to live outside of government control, the story makes sense.The characters' stories were mostly well-written. The idea that they are all running from something (each in their own way) makes for intriguing storylines, each with a "what-is-going-to-happen-next" feeling. They have all been through a lot, and the reader can empathize with most of it. I do have to say, Moira's story is my favorite (pop star "Mojo" turned pandemic bandit/survivor turned Regular Jane on the verge of marriage), but her overall motives for taking such precautions against reuniting with her father are not something I connected with well. The ending was very good, with all of the characters banding together for a singular purpose. The lead-up to the climax of the story was full of tension and drama, but I like that it was not full of gore and violence. I like those kind of apocalyptic stories, too, but the overall tone of this book was positive. And we can all certainly use more of those kinds of stories in our lives.Overall, A Beginning at the End is a really good book. Mike Chen's take on The End is unique and fresh, and definitely worth a read. I recommend this book to anyone look for a different take on the apocalypse or anyone looking for a story of people coming together to reach a common goal.
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  • Wendy Heard
    January 1, 1970
    A gorgeous and fascinating look at the space after a massive outbreak takes out most of the population. Really, this book is about rebuilding after loss and family clinging to each other across the expanse of time and danger. Another emotionally gripping and innovative genre-blend by Chen. Can’t wait to read his next one!
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    A Beginning at the End is a post-apocalyptic novel primarily set in San Francisco in 2025, approximately six years after about five billion people died in a worldwide pandemic. It's a story of found family that follows three characters: Rob, a widowed single father who fears the Family Stability Board may take away his daughter; Moira, a former teenage pop star who ran from that life and the father who forced her to live it the first chance she got; and Krista, a wedding/event planner who firmly A Beginning at the End is a post-apocalyptic novel primarily set in San Francisco in 2025, approximately six years after about five billion people died in a worldwide pandemic. It's a story of found family that follows three characters: Rob, a widowed single father who fears the Family Stability Board may take away his daughter; Moira, a former teenage pop star who ran from that life and the father who forced her to live it the first chance she got; and Krista, a wedding/event planner who firmly believes in getting over things and moving forward. There are also occasional brief chapters focusing on Sunny, Rob's seven-year-old daughter.Though I was mildly curious about where it was going at first, I probably would have ended up leaving it unfinished if it wasn't a fairly short, quick read. I found it to be too plainly written with too little world and character depth for my personal taste, but it may appeal more to those looking for an effortlessly readable, hopeful book revolving around found family.Full Review on My Website
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  • Dia
    January 1, 1970
    this sounds so cool
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    THANKS MUCH TO THE AUTHOR FOR PROVIDING ME WITH A REVIEW COPY, THIS DID NOT AFFECT THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW IN ANY WAY.So I guess my new favorite sub-genres are hopeful post-apocalyptic and light dystopian? Apparently? And this hits the marks and I am SUCH a happy reader right now. Like most great science fiction this book is about the people, the journey through what it means to be human, more so than the events or the the other trappings that make up science fiction.We experience this world THANKS MUCH TO THE AUTHOR FOR PROVIDING ME WITH A REVIEW COPY, THIS DID NOT AFFECT THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW IN ANY WAY.So I guess my new favorite sub-genres are hopeful post-apocalyptic and light dystopian? Apparently? And this hits the marks and I am SUCH a happy reader right now. Like most great science fiction this book is about the people, the journey through what it means to be human, more so than the events or the the other trappings that make up science fiction.We experience this world through three main point of views throughout the story–Rob, Krista, and Moira. Each of these characters has their own secrets, things they’ve been keeping a tight hold on for years. We also get some small bits of the story from Rob’s daughter Sunny. One of the structures I love in story telling is when there are various characters you’re following and you get to see how their stories intersect and that’s done really well here. We get to know each of these characters and their back stories, find out what makes them tick. At first, even though some of them know each other, they don’t really know each other. Because of the devastating influenza that wiped out 70% of humanity, we’re given the impression that people don’t like to form close relationships much anymore. Despite remnants of humanity coming together to rebuild civilization, despite the government encouraging people to carry on with life and to find partners, repopulate the world, etc….people are wary.One of the things I loved is the book world inventing something called PASD–Post Apocalyptic Stress Disorder. I immediately thought ‘of course that’s what it would be called’. So, pretty much everyone is suffering from this newly named disorder, therapy and counseling is highly encouraged, especially after some mysterious event that caused a bunch of people to just…disappear. The government, such as it is, wants to restore order, and that means keeping people calm and focused on moving forward. Don’t worry about that rumor of a new strain of the flu, don’t worry about the gangs of looters outside the city, please keep calm and carry on. This sounds much more sinister than it is, really the government is just trying to do its best to hold things together and look toward the future. Okay, well, sometimes bureaucracy is a bit sinister and some of that is addressed in the book too, with Rob and Sunny’s story line when the government wants to take Sunny away.Anyway, back to the characters. Each of these characters is well-developed and dealing with their own issues. Rob, years later, is still grieving his dead wife. He can’t move on because he’s living a lie of his own making, a lie he told in order to protect his daughter’s feelings but is now having lasting and long reaching consequences. Sunny is acting out, due to her own unresolved issues regarding her mother. Now the government wants to separate them but Sunny is all Rob has left and he’s on the brink of losing it. Meanwhile, Moira’s entire history is a secret, she’s a former pop star who has been living in hiding since the end started and she doesn’t want to ever go back. Suddenly her father is searching for her and she’s desperate to avoid being found out. And then you have Krista, who grew up in a broken home and has a lot of unresolved issues from her childhood that she’s clearly never dealt with.Despite all these things, the only thing anyone ever goes to therapy about is PASD. There are so many mixed messages in this new society–be careful when around others about spreading germs, wear masks, wash your hands, but also go to this mixer and meet people and carry on with humanity! So, people are together but there’s this distance between them, and that’s how our characters start out. It’s only once they come together and really start getting to know each other that they start the real healing process and begin dealing with their pasts.Another thing I really loved about this book is that it’s so hopeful. You would think a book about the end of the world would be a downer, but it’s really not. Sure, the characters have trauma, and at the start it feels like they’re just going through the motions of living, trying to get through each day and mark it off the calendar. But once they start forming connections with each other, things start to change. They’re not just surviving anymore, but looking forward to a better day. Hope is a powerful thing.This book focuses on the characters and their story arcs, but it’s also got some good stuff for fans of post apocalyptic stories. We get a very good idea of how the world ended and we see different ways the remnants of humanity have continued on. Although there is a government, not everyone lives within the control of government, some people choose to live in their own communities, outside of the strict rules. I like that the story explored this a bit, even if it wasn’t a huge focus of the book. As far as near-future science fiction, it feels very on point with how things would go if something like this were to happen, how the government would be if it were trying to hold itself, and the world, together. I thought the pacing was great too, lots of tension built in different ways though the various story arcs in play all work great together to keep things moving along.Overall, I found this to be a very uplifting story about hope and people deciding to do the right thing for each other. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of the author’s work in the future. 5/5 stars.
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I genuinely don't know how to do this book justice via review. It was my best book of 2019, and I straight up still think about it. Especially when the world seems bleak, and I wonder what will become of us, I can't help but wonder who I'd be in the face of the apocalypse.And that's the truly brilliant part of this book: It feels like itcould be you and yours at the end of days. The You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I genuinely don't know how to do this book justice via review. It was my best book of 2019, and I straight up still think about it. Especially when the world seems bleak, and I wonder what will become of us, I can't help but wonder who I'd be in the face of the apocalypse.And that's the truly brilliant part of this book: It feels like it could be you and yours at the end of days. The characters are so beyond relatable that I don't know how to probably explain it to you. They could be any of us. They're flawed yet decent and just trying to make it through. They don't always make the  best choices, but the reader always can sympathize with why they made their choices.This leads us to another phenomenal thing about A Beginning at the End: the gray morality I so adore. In decisions both small and large, our characters have to navigate their new circumstances colliding with their existing belief systems. What they may have never expected to do in the Before, they're finding themselves doing After. Their responses, for better or worse, are so honest. We'd all make mistakes. We'd (mostly) all do good. And each of the characters, from the child to the adults, are struggling with figuring out who they're going to be in the new world.And the final piece we need to talk about before I leave you to go buy this book immediately is that the world-building was the most eerily realistic post-apocalyptic setting I have ever read. Because the truth is, we all would crave the return to "normalcy" after the end. And that's what so many of these folks are after: what they've lost. But what is the cost? And can anything ever go back, or can we only move forward? Bottom Line:  I loved every minute of this book and you need to read it, that's all, just do the thing. I just want to start throwing it at people, it's perfect for just about everyone to read.
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  • Danielle Hammelef
    January 1, 1970
    This is my kind of dystopian novel--not only did it have themes of survival and loss, but delved deeper into humanity with family, found family, friendship, forgiveness, hints of romance, and more. I enjoyed the vivid setting and the well-drawn characters that became real to me.
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  • NormaCenva
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating 4.5 StarsI really liked the story, this is an original take on a usual spin. I really hope it will continue. Is more hopeful than is usual for the genre.
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