A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

C.A. Fletcher

Hachette 2019


 

Dogs were with us from the very beginning. And of all the animals that walked the long centuries beside us, they always walked the closest.”

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World follows Griz, a dreamer who lives with his family and dogs, Jess and Jip, on an island off the Scottish coast, decades after the apocalypse has happened.

The story begins when an outsider comes to the island, apparently eager to trade, but instead makes off with Jess. After setting off in pursuit of the thief, Griz is confronted by the realities of his world and finds himself in unfamiliar territory for the first time. Griz begins his quest with an idea of what he will find, only to discover the world is not quite as he imagined. In fact, it is turned on its head.

What sets Fletcher’s tale apart from other dystopia is the strong perspective of Griz’s character voice. The book is crafted in the style of a reflective journal from Griz’s perspective, dedicated to a photograph that he finds of a boy and his dog from the ‘Before’. This creates a nice duality between past and present.

Fletcher also avoids the well-worn trope of crafting a world destroyed by nuclear warfare. Instead, he creates a refreshingly haunting setting with a world whose population has dropped suddenly and drastically with ‘the Gelding’ (similar to the reproductive dystopia of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale). This leaves behind vast, haunting landscapes and empty cities, as well as gaps in the historical narrative that are explored during Griz’s quest.

The languid pace of the story, reinforced by long stretches of writing that describe Griz at sea with only his dog Jip for company, does cause the plot to drag at times; however, this is somewhat offset by an undercurrent of tension created by Griz’s reflective narration. The reader is aware that something bad is coming, but it’s going to take its time getting there.

If you’re looking for a slower, more reflective dystopian tale, or are really fond of dogs, then this is the book for you.

3.5/5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

Renegades

Marissa Meyer has constructed a detailed future world where anarchy has finally lost to the Reign of the Renegades – a group of virtuous superheroes. Although, for the Anarchists who once ran Galton City, there is a simmering discontentment as they plot to take down the Renegades by using with their new weapon – Nova, or Nightmare.

In a bid to take down the Renegades, Nova infiltrates their ranks; however, when she is taken in by Adrian’s team, a boy with secrets of his own, her loyalties are tested. The line between who is really good in this battle between good and evil comes to head. Things aren’t always black and white.

Meyer’s dystopian novel highlights the current fear of a totalitarian government who means well but the inherent corruption in leadership prevents them from creating a functioning society. She portrays the dependence on government but also the pitfalls of anarchy, with those who advocate for it acting as a terrorist faction.

Despite taking the first half of the book to world build, which caused it to drag in places, Meyer has created diverse characters which reflect our current society. Her characterisation made the reader empathise with the moral conflicts of both Nova and Adrian whose loyalty and trust are tested. The relationships between characters never felt forced and with a palpable chemistry and tenderness among them, making Renegades an easy read.

Meyers focuses on character mentality through a dual point of view which allowed the reader to have a constant insight into both Nova and Adrian’s worldviews. The two protagonists have distinct voices and are easy to empathise with. Their attempts to understand their unravelling world feels reminiscent of every young person navigating our politically contentious world.

Despite this, the book occasionally read like a retelling of a superhero movie, with recycled catchphrases and predictability. There was no new spin on existing formulas and tropes either. There was the constant thought in the back of the mind that I’d seen this before. It ended on a cliff hanger. From the very beginning, it was clear that Meyer planned to make a series out of it; therefore, there was little conclusion to the conflict.

 

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A must read for superhero lovers, dystopian fans and those who adore good character development.  3.5/ 5 stars

 


 

30742387_1311083335660012_5949341883275673600_nGeorgina Banfield is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English at Flinders University. When she’s not reading, writing or listening to podcasts she can be found looking at conspiracy theories and true crime. She loves anything to do with history, literature and unsolved mysteries.