Title: The End of the Day
Author: Claire North
Page Count/Review Word Count: 428
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free to review as part of my position on the Young Writer of the Year Award shadow panel. Click here to find out more about that.
This is the third book that I read for the Young Writer of the Year Award, and while I’ve given all of them a 4/5 so far, this one made me realise that one of those should have been a 3/5 and one of those should have been a 5/5. But you live and learn.
The idea behind this book is pretty simple, but it’s hard to actually tell you what happened because it quickly became repetitive. We basically follow Charlie, who’s the Harbinger of Death, as he travels the world to visit people before Death does. Sometimes he’s a warning and sometimes he’s an omen. Sometimes he arrives in time for someone to change their life and to dodge death. Sometimes he doesn’t.
It’s a cool concept, and I was excited to begin with. I liked how it’s just an accepted part of life and thought that added an interesting slant to it, and it forces the reader to ask themselves all sorts of questions about life and death. It almost felt a bit like Neil Gaiman in places, and I thought for a while that it would make a good Tim Burton movie. Then I changed my mind and thought that Quentin Tarantino would do a better job of it.
Then there’s Charlie, the protagonist, who’s almost an anti-hero. He’s certainly not necessarily what you’d expect from Death’s harbinger, and I liked that. I also liked that Death was a woman. I just felt as though the book was too long, and I struggled through the last third of it because I just wanted it to end. Then, when it did end, I was disappointed by how it ended.
So there’s a lot to like here, but there’s also a lot to dislike. After a while, you become jaded by it, but in many ways so does Charlie – so perhaps that move is deliberate. I certainly found it to be thought-provoking at times and I also think that I’d need to re-read it if I wanted to pick up on all of the little nuances. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to re-read things.
Overall, I’m glad I read it, but I think there was also room for improvement.