I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.End Times by Anna Schumacher
Published by Penguin on 2014-05-20
Genres: Dating & Sex, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Values & Virtues, Young Adult
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Carbon County, Wyoming is like a current running through Daphne’s heart. When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets. Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears. Daphne landed in Carbon County for a reason. She only has to read the signs—and believe.
By all accounts and purposes, End Times by Anna Schumacher ought to be the perfect April book. It’s a book about the beginnings of the apocalypse and THE RAPTURE. So, pre-apocalyptic, I guess. As a heathen, this kind of thing is actually really fascinating to me for some bizarre reason. And you know, I did like this debut well enough, but I am not an evangelist for it. I don’t feel the need to shout this book from the rooftops. It is an okay read featuring an intriguing heroine, yet it falls into some tropes that I find quite tired. At least it isn’t as nuts as Left Behind, so there is that.
End Times opens with main character Daphne visiting someone in the hospital, that someone being her stepfather Jim. Jim is basically getting unplugged from life support. Daphne’s mother Myra is pissed off because it’s pretty much Daphne’s fault that he is in the hospital. When Jim is dead, Myra basically kicks Daphne out and so, Daphne takes up her meager savings and heads from Detroit to Carbon County, Wyoming to stay with her dad’s brother, her Uncle Floyd and Aunt Karen and cousin Janie in their cramped trailer. Daphne’s arrival is heralded by mysterious trumpets. She’s kind of a harbinger for things to come and both miracles and curses begin to occur in Carbon County. Meanwhile, there’s another character who kind of gets a point of view and that is Owen, who feels drawn to Carbon County because of these weird dreams he has. So, Owen packs up his truck and his motocross bike and sister named Luna and ends up in Carbon County. While there, he is totally attracted to Daphne, who is his coworker roustabout on the oil rig. From there, mysterious events intertwine and we get a whole big long set up for what promises to be an exciting, next book.
I thought I would do something a little different and break the rest of the review down into sections:
Things I Liked About End Times:
- The main character Daphne, she was good people and quite reasonable. She also had a tragic past, which makes gives her depth. I liked that she was a very hard worker and quite driven. Instead of the past getting her totally down, Daphne keeps on keeping on. That is something I totally admire.
- I also really liked Daphne’s pregnant cousin Janie. Janie is a bit dim, but she’s kind and welcomes Daphne with open arms. Also, Janie totally plays a big role in the book. I also liked Daphne’s Uncle Floyd who is a good and hardworking person. Floyd is a bit naive and trusting, but he’s got this gentleness and kindness to him that I gelled with.
- I liked how the different harbingers of the Rapture or the apocalypse were woven into the book. Schumacher’s way of doing this is quite creative.
- The illustrations! There are illustrations for each harbinger which is really cool. Granted, the art I saw was not final, but it was enough to convince me that this is a cool effect.
- Carbon County – I liked this depiction of an economically depressed area and what happens when they strike black gold. It’s interesting to see a county transform into a boom town.
Things I Am Waffling About:
- The religious aspect – on the one hand, I like the representation of religion in small town America and how people take their faith very seriously, but sometimes it was a bit much for me and made me a tad uncomfortable, like this veers into religious fiction territory at moments. I mean, I think that is more of a personal thing and that’s fine. We all interpret books differently. I will say that like the entire town was religious and true believers which kind of feels weird to me. Also! One thing that makes me waffle on the positive side is that Daphne is painted as someone who questions faith and isn’t quite sure if she believes in God or not, which is unique because I feel like not a lot of the YA I read deals with questioning faith.
- Owen – He’s an okay love interest, but besides looks and being magically drawn to Daphne, I don’t quite get it.
Things I Disliked:
- Doug and the Varleys, this guy knocked up Janie and basically he’s kind of a huge douchebag, I thought he was so one dimensional as a character and so it was really hard for me to feel betrayed or upset when he was doing something BAD because it’s just so over the top. Also, lol at the rich Varleys trying to get their hands on the oil money.
- Daphne’s mom – she basically hates her kid because her stepfather tried to molest her? What. Listen, in real life she could be investigated by Child Protective Services for failure to protect her child. Being indicated by Child Protective Services is pretty serious and yet, she basically faces no consequences, which okay yes does happen in real life. BUT, BUT, Daphne had a trial for attacking her stepfather and straight up, that would come out which basically means that CPS steps in.
- Luna – she’s Owen’s sister and lol, she’s a hippy and like really sexual which means she is a BAD guy and lol again, she was so over the top. Like, she hypnotically dances with hula hoops while wearing short shorts and omg a belly shirt! WHAT EVEN! She gets around, if you know what I mean. Apparently. She also says all these weird things about being from a Children of the Earth commune and building an army and well, she’s there for the unintentional LOLs I have gathered. I really, strongly disliked the scenes with her in them.
Who Should Read End Times by Anna Schumacher:
- People interested in a more secular Left Behind
- People who find things like the Apocalypse fascinating – but note, this is the build up to the apocalypse
- Readers who are looking for young adult books about a crisis of faith
- Readers who like intense plotting