With Tales from the End, Lissa Bryan plunges us back into the world of her post-dystopian romance, The End of All Things. Having read and relished the latter, I came to this collection of Tales well-acquainted with the Infection and its decimating effect on earth’s population.
And I couldn't wait to wait to read more about it.
The magic of Tales from the End is Bryan’s ability to infuse stories of loss and widespread devastation with a palpable, enduring sense of hope. Because Carly and Justin survived The End, we know it is possible to outlast the Infection. And as we meet Pearl and Veronica in the first two stories, we pray they have the chance.
For their part, their desires are initially simple. Pearl wants her cranky client Randall to pick up his fan mail so she can dump him from her roster. Nine-year-old Veronica wants to eat dinner so she can go to bed at a decent hour. But as these problems brush against the backdrop of the looming Infection, Bryan is at her best—showcasing humanity’s compassion and its innate refusal to go down without a fight no matter the odds.
The third story provides us with the unique perspective of a horse named Cloud. Her wordless, equine view of the end’s advance is powerful in its simplicity. Something is very wrong, something to which she cannot put a proper name, and our concern for her well-being is immediate and acute. Without a human advocate, how will she survive?
In the last story, readers of The End are stoked to visit with its protagonists Carly and Justin. Carly has a surprise for Justin, and this slice of normalcy amid perpetual concerns for their survival is priceless and poignant. This tale is an apt conclusion to the four-part collection and enough to tide me over until the sequel to The End of All Things is released.
Barely. Because I'm really eager to read the next book. Like tempted-to-pester-Lissa-every-day-about-it eager. But she's my friend and I don't want to be annoying, so I guess I'll behave.
While I wait, I could go on and on about Bryan’s brilliance, the beauty of her taut, evocative prose, and her mastery of setting and just enough detail. But I’d rather you grabbed a copy of Tales from the End and see for yourself. And if you haven’t already, grab The End of All Things while you’re at it. I promise you’ll thank me later!