Review: The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan


The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan
The Writer's Coffee Shop (January 22, 2013)

Rating: A-
Heat: Sweet

Heroine: Carly Daniels – Survivor, Orphan 
Hero: Justin Thatcher – Survivor, Ex-Military
Setting: USA



Carly Daniels is scared and very much in denial about her situation. Still in shock over being one of the last humans alive – and not Infected – after an event known as the Crisis. Carly rarely ventures out of her apartment, still maintaining the government-ordered quarantine. The only reason she leaves at all is to take care of her pup, Sam.

Which is the first, but definitely not the last, time that Sam saves Carly’s life. Because during one of her trips to the local grocery store, she catches the attention of Justin. A scraggly, bearded guy who decides to camp out in front of her apartment building.

Justin Thatcher is the epitome of tough and determined. Ex-military and trained in survival, he recognizes in Carly the strength and fortitude needed to make it in this new world. He also knows they can't survive a winter in Alaska. so he gradually wins her trust and nudges her out of the shell she’s been hiding in.

Carly and Justin’s travels takes them south, hopefully as far as Florida, where they can grow their own crops and not have to brave a snowy winter. Walking and biking from Alaska to Florida is not an easy trek, however. Along the way they encounter survivors and Infected, both of which test Carly and Justin’s mettle. And Carly realizes she’s made of sterner stuff than she expected.

With Justin’s encouragement and lessons, Carly grows and finds courage and confidence in herself. And, because of Carly’s gentleness and love, Justin grows too. Learns to listen to his heart as well as his head. Their love was definitely a friends to lovers situation and I adored them for it. They were cute and silly and made smile over and over. And, of course, I loved their intimate moments. I would've taken a few more of those and a couple less reconnaissance excursions but, well, that’s just me.

I also loved the visuals and feel given to their progress. Terrain shifting, weather changing. The way that they chart their days by the sun and their progress by map. The interesting spots they’d stop at and find refuge. The importance given to things like tampons and french fries. All those little clues and details made their journey and the life they’re living feel real.

And, of course, my most favorite part: the menagerie of animals they accumulate. Sam, the pup who was actually a wolf cub, who is very loyal and intuitive (and a great provider of food). Shadowfax, the mare, who is always gentle and watchful (and prone to biting if need be). Both of whom are protective of Carly and always seem to know exactly what she needs. They’re both quite the characters and such scene stealers! I want a Sam of my own!

The End of All Things is a gradual and meandering tale, where you actually feel like you are right along with them. Riding a bike next to Carly or camping in a tent snuggled up to Justin. It almost feels like a vacation in your head—albeit one you really wouldn’t want to find yourself on (unless, of course, there were no Infecteds and food wasn’t in short supply). And, even though the ending is left open and unresolved, I can see where Miz Bryan is taking us and I’m eager to keep following!

Favorite Quote:

"See? Nothing to it."
"I see all right," Carly said, her tone full of awe. She gaped at him.
"Jesus, Carly, what is it?" He spun around to make sure there wasn't something behind him that would justify her reaction and the look of impressed astonishment on her face.
"You... Maybe the current was a little faster than you thought."
He followed the direction of her gaze and discovered he had lost his boxers. He snickered. She giggled. They both burst into laughter, and Justin flushed a little.


Thoughts While Reading:

13.0% - "Wow Carly is lucky that Justin came along. Luck-y."
25.0% - "I am in love... with a wolf pup named Sam! :-)"
39.0% - "Floating your wagon across a river... reminds me of that Oregon Trail game!"
55.0% - "No! Justinnnnnn!"


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