REVIEW: A Hero at the End of the World

Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it’s his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he’s just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan’s big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan’s bright future crumbles before his eyes.

Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government’s Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult… one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.

A deftly plotted, hysterically funny take on Chosen One narratives, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry take-down of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy.

Title: A Hero at the End of the World
Author: Erin Claiborne
Published: Nov. 2014
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/LGBTQAP+
Rating: ★

I feel like this is a book of halves.

I like half the main characters (Ewan and Archie), I liked half the story (the chosen one trope getting turned on it’s head), I liked half the world building (interesting powers that seem undeveloped). This book is a book of halves.

Plus I was expecting a LOT more gay than was promised to me. Probably more of a high expectation thing on my part, but regardless.

But honestly, this is just half a good book, (or maybe a quarter?) With an interesting world and powers that feel grossly undeveloped. I also didn’t feel like the author did enough with the whole chosen one trope. Plus the writing is borderline confusing sometimes and left me lost. Why was that happening? Why was this character reacting this way? Why?

If this book had just been Ewan dealing with his ‘not so chosen one’ status and maybe Archie helps him deal with that, all the while these two develop feelings for each other, it would’ve been great. But no, it’s got some convoluted mess in there, where the real villain isn’t the villain, but she is, but she isn’t? And twists that read like they’re supposed to be twists, but are so anti-climatic that I just breeze right over them.

I also couldn’t get a pin on Oliver as a character. Was he supposed to be an asshole? Half the time Ewan says he is (with good reason coming from Ewan’s POV), but then other times he seems like he’s good at what he does. That is until Ewan’s parents let him into their house after a five year absence and Oliver steals something he plans to use as evidence against Ewan. Dude, you stole that evidence, so I’m 99.9% certain you can’t really use that.

Also, there’s the point where there’s a flashback, after Oliver defeated the great evil that Ewan was prophesied to destroy. And Ewan’s parents say they “still love him.” then his dad chimes in with “just less now.” Like what the actual fuck? I get the author was trying to make a ‘he’s not the chosen one anymore, so he doesn’t get special treatment anymore’ but what the actual fuck? Who thinks that parents, who up until that point seemed loving, would react in such a way?

And it sucks too. Gays and superpowers? This book is like made for me. But around the 200 page mark I realized that I not only just didn’t like this book, but I hated it.

Also, I’m docking points for the author saying Oliver has ‘skin the color of chocolate’. People of color aren’t food, stop objectifying them this way.

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