Review: A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

Rating: 8/10


Rob is a single dad and IT worker, Moira is an ex-pop star, and Krista is an event planner. Each is looking for a new start in San Franciso after a nearly-apocalyptic flu wiped out much of the world’s population. In a world where looting is common and everyday people wear medical masks to work, it hard to define “normal”. In addition to constant fear of outbreak and gang activity, Rob, Moir, and Krista must all battle secrets from their past to survive in the new world


A Beginning at the End is a fresh take on The End of the World. You are not going to find any zombies, worldwide flooding, or AI takeovers here; just the stories of normal people trying to live their lives. The aspect I like most of Mike Chen’s apocalypse scenario is how realistic it is; from the flu pandemic, to the looting and gangs, and the Reclaimed Territories where groups of people attempt to live outside of government control, the story makes sense.

The characters’ stories were mostly well-written. The idea that they are all running from something (each in their own way) makes for intriguing storylines, each with a “what-is-going-to-happen-next” feeling. They have all been through a lot, and the reader can empathize with most of it.

I do have to say, Moira’s story is my favorite (pop star “Mojo” turned pandemic bandit/survivor turned Regular Jane on the verge of marriage), but her overall motives for taking such precautions against reuniting with her father are not something I connected with well.

The ending was very good, with all of the characters banding together for a singular purpose. The lead-up to the climax of the story was full of tension and drama, but I like that it was not full of gore and violence. I like those kind of apocalyptic stories, too, but the overall tone of this book was positive. And we can all certainly use more of those kinds of stories in our lives.

Overall, A Beginning at the End is a really good book. Mike Chen’s take on The End is unique and fresh, and definitely worth a read. I recommend this book to anyone look for a different take on the apocalypse or anyone looking for a story of people coming together to reach a common goal.

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