shediesattheend

Review: She Dies at the End

Five Stars

 recommended by PL

Description

November Snow has seen her own burial a thousand times. It is the only thing she knows about her future.

In a war amongst vampires and fairies, a small advantage can mean the difference between victory and defeat. And a psychic who can peer across the globe, unspool the past, and probe the future is more than a small advantage. Everyone wants to use her for his own ends: the ancient king, the black sheep, the dutiful son, the lost boy.

But November Snow wants things, too, before death comes for her. She wants purpose. She wants friendship. She wants love. She wants happiness. She wants respect. And she will not settle for less.

Pulled into the midst of a royal family feud centuries in the making, she must forge her own path through violence, betrayal, first loves, and mortal peril as she struggles to come to terms with her gift and her destiny, even as she knows this for certain:

She dies at the end.

This book contains magic and supernatural creatures aplenty, a smattering of heretical Christianity, and a cast of characters that is diverse in both race and sexual orientation. It also contains scenes of violence and some sexual content and may be triggering to victims of child abuse, human trafficking, or sexual assault.

Book Details

Review

I have to preface my review with this: I don't usually choose read vampire stories. I was reluctant to read this one, but agreed based on a friend's recommendation. Now for my review.

On page one, I thought, "Wow. This is slick writing." Very tight. No extra words. No unnecessary adverbs or weasel words. Just good, clean writing. By the end of the first chapter, I was in love with November, the main character. By the middle of the second chapter, I couldn't put the book down. I finished the book two days ago, and I still think of the characters as if they will show up in front of me, just to give me an update. To me, that is the mark of an excellent book. I crave book two.

This book gave me a rare "aha" moment. I thought I didn't care for fantasy/sci fi. As I read this book, I thought of the way I connected with Stephen King's Salem's Lot, and I finally understood. I LOVE a good fantasy novel, as long as it is well written. This one is superb.

The characters in this novel are magnetic. From the first pages, I felt as though they were people I knew and wanted to spend time with. To me, characters make the book. I LOVED these characters. I miss them already. I need that sequel. A.M. Manay is talented, and I can't wait to read another of her works.

Excerpt

“You would have been smarter to lie, to pretend you didn’t see what we were, to pretend that you’re a fraud, a con artist.”  William looked at her, almost regretfully.  “Now you’re stuck with us.  You’ll have to become part of our world.  Your fate is sealed.”

November's smile was a touch wistful.  “Oh, not to worry, Mr. Knox.  My fate was sealed quite some time ago.  I could only have perhaps delayed the inevitable.  Here, I’ll show you.”  She pulled one of the
binders out of the battered army surplus trunk that contained her few prized possessions.  She’d never shown these drawings to anyone except her grandmother.  “Now, you must excuse the quality of the early ones.  I was only this many when I started drawing you,” she explained, holding up three fingers.

The three creatures gathered around her record, flipping through the drawings November had made of her visions.  Her habit was to draw all sightings that disturbed her.  It helped her process her emotions and put them out of her mind.  She kept the ones that seemed important and destroyed the rest.  This binder was labeled “My End.”

The early drawings were stick figures in crayon, sometimes labeled with misspelled words: "blu ladee, ded body, shovl."  They grew more detailed later.  Some showed the whole scene, others the faces in detail.  On some she’d jotted the spoken words she could make out, or pictures of the flowers.  There was a tenderness in the later drawings, almost like affection.  These specters that once had frightened her into madness had gradually become old friends, like any frequent visitor is apt to do.

“This is the only vision I’ve ever had about my own personal future.  I know nothing else about my fate.  I’ve tried to look, but it’s all fog and smoke.” She paused.  “I assume you know the others in the scene?” she asked as the visitors flipped through her work, stunned into silence.

Scores

Title, Description and Cover10
Characters10
Story, Plot, and Action10
Fantasy Elements 9.5
Bang for the Buck8.5
X-Factor10
I loved this book. It's not erotica, but I felt so strongly about it, I felt compelled to review it on this site in order to slap my recommendation on it. (The paperback version is quite expensive, but the eBook is $3.99, an awesome deal.)
9.7
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