ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.
An important post-apocalyptic story that teaches us to always be kind, loyal, and hopeful.
With countless books being published every single day, the cover art quality of a book published by an author I haven’t heard of is very crucial in grabbing my interest; that’s not exactly what happened with this book. Don’t get me wrong, the cover art is certainly pretty but what grabbed my attention immediately was something of a rarer occasion: the title of the book. After that, I heard that the novel is perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts, I haven’t read the latter but I’ve read and loved Station Eleven last year, and I just knew that I have to read this book as soon as I can. Plus, I find it adorable that there’s a warning on spoiler stated at the beginning or the back cover of the ARC. No need to worry, just like always, I’ll make sure to take extra care in my review to make sure it’s spoiler-free.
“And those that remain are still with us now, here at the end of the world. And there may be no law left except what you make of it, but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point? That’s like not having a memory. That’s when we stop being human. That’s a kind of death, even if you keep breathing.”
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World follows Griz as he takes on a journey to save his stolen dog. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that centers on survival, courage, hope, love, humanity, family, and most importantly the importance of being grateful. Just like Station Eleven, even though it’s a post-apocalyptic story and the setting can be considered bleak and lonely, the tone and the messages delivered was hopeful and heartwarming. Fletcher shows that even though the world has pretty much ended, it doesn’t mean that we have to lose sight of what truly matters. On contrary, maybe somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of them due to the constantly hectic lifestyle and situations that life forced on us. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World teaches us to pay more attention to our surroundings. Don’t wait until the end of the world for the small things to shine again. Even the simple act of listening to music, reading, drinking tea, or walking around with your dogs and friends shouldn’t ever be taken for granted. I, for one, highly appreciate this kind of story.
“Reading is another way we survive. It helps to know where we came from, how we got here. And most of all, for me, even though these low and empty islands are all I have ever known, when I open the front cover of a new book, it’s like a door, and I can travel far away in place and time.”
Regarding characterizations, although there wasn’t a lot of characters in this book, every character—dogs included—has an important role to play in Griz’s journey. For the entirety of the novel, Griz was the only character with a POV to read. Due to the fact that the novel was mostly told in a diary/book written by Griz about his journey, it did results in quite a lot of self-introspection, especially in the first half of the book. Admittedly, there was one section in the second quarter of the book where I found the book to be a bit too slow because Griz was pretty much alone. This means that there was close to zero dialogue or interactions with other side characters. However, this was only a minor con which was soon redeemed in the halfway point of the book when Griz met another side character.
Fletcher’s prose was one of the most important strengths in providing the compelling nature of the story. The prose was simple, beautiful, and full of meaningful passages. It’s written in a first-person narrative but added with a little touch of second person narrative. He did a great job in writing how much the world and its inhabitants have changed or how they still stay the same.
“Better a brain than a fist. A brain can hold anything, from giant things, like distant stars and planets, to tiny things we can’t see, like germs. A brain can even hold things that aren’t and never were, like hobbits. A brain can hold the whole universe, a fist just holds what little it can grab. Or hits what it can’t.”
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a powerful melancholic story that shows how incredible loyalty and friendship can be. Displaying humanity at its best and worst, the message “simplicity taken for granted” was absolutely well delivered and this wonderful tale of survival and friendship in a bleak setting shouldn’t be missed. If you love a post-apocalyptic story that gives a feeling of joy, calmness, well-placed tension, you can’t go wrong with giving this book a go. Was it a poignant read? Well, the title speaks for itself. I’ll conclude with saying that reading this book did leave a smile upon my face several times and I consider it a MUST read for any reader who love reading about the friendship between human and dogs. I’ll leave the rest for you to read and find out on your own.
I want to praise the team at Orbit—I believe this one applies only to the UK edition—for the superb package and design delivered within their physical ARC of this book. The photos, the compass, and the book itself, I only realized how awesome everything was after having read the book. Great job!
Official release date: April 23, 2019 (US), April 25, 2019 (UK)
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.