Monday 23 July 2012

Book Review- The End by Nora Olsen

Title: The End (Five Queer Kids Save the World)
 Author: Nora Olsen
Series:  N/A
Published:  15 December 2010 by Prizm
Length: 270 pages
Warnings: Sexual longings, not too much actually happening 12+
Source: Author
Summary : When World War Three breaks out, seventeen-year-old Julia is on a school trip to Amsterdam, while fourteen-year-old Marly is trapped in a prison for delinquent girls. They both discover magical amulets, and try their best to save themselves and those around them. But it looks like their best will not be enough, as nuclear war threatens the survival of the human race.
 On her journey home to New York, Julia is joined by three other queer teens--the mysterious and alluring Ginger; lipstick lesbian Vikki; and five-thousand-year-old Skilly, who has an amulet that grants him eternal life. When Julia and Marly meet, they are immediately attracted to each other. But romance has to take a back seat as the five friends learn the true powers of the amulets. Can they travel through time to save the world from total destruction?

Review:Skilly is sailing, Ginger and Julia are on a school trip, Marly is in prison and Vikki is out of rehab for bulimia when nuclear war looms. Fate brings them together, these teenagers (aside from Skilly, who’s thousands of years old) who have amulets blessing them with various powers. Romances quickly form, but they have other problems- an ancient goddess is rather upset with her husband and is hellbent on destroying the earth.
 It’s really nice seeing books with LGBT characters in which the main focus isn’t their sexuality/gender. We do have another plot, underneath the tangle of romances, of Muldoona plotting her destruction and our heroes trying to stop her. It’s nice also seeing a genderqueer character-the T part of LGBT is hardly ever represented. Marly becoming comfortable with sometimes not feeling like a girl, not always feeling like a boy, and sometimes feeling like “a gender free mutant with magic powers” is a development that you could easily see coming and felt natural.
In terms of sexual orientation and gender, we have a diverse range of characters. But on other counts we have a lot of variation too. Age wise, personality wise, and species wise –we have a random selection of deities from multiple cultures. Vikki I found a little boring, as she seemed a bit stereotypical and she didn’t do that much, but the others were good. Ginger is my favourite,  Marly is independent and Skilly is nice in that he’ll try things out for the rest of the team, even if it extends to living out a month again because his time travel theory wasn’t quite right.
That whole time travel thing was a little bit hard to get my head around. Not because it was time travel (I do quite well in understanding it, unless you mess it up like Stephen Moffat does in Doctor Who), but because all characters revert to the bodies that they had. In this case, our five main characters become four years younger. Leaving Marly age ten. It’s hard getting used to a ten year old heroine, when, from many books and this book too, you get used to them being a bit older. Still, ten year old Marly is a good character, even though it does take a little bit of time getting used to them.
This whole timeskip does lead to some rather awkward situations too. We have Ginger lamenting not being able to carry on a relationship with Skilly because she is now in the body of a thirteen year old, while (with his immortality amulet) he is in one of a seventeen (I think) year old. And, before the timeskip, we have a fourteen year old asking an eighteen year old really bluntly “Do you want to have sex now?” I get that they’re in a post apocalyptic environment, but they’ve only known each other two months and I don’t know what fourteen year olds Nora knows but most of us don’t want sex at our age.... I don’t like young (under sixteens) people in sexual situations. That’s something that bugs me. Aside from that, the romance is good and built up nicely.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a LGBT novel with a lot of action, romance, and cuteness.

1 comment:

Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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