Last Day by Domenica Ruta (2 out of 5)

Maybe I jinxed this one by starting it the morning I woke up with a migraine. I had a real hard time concentrating. I put it down and watched Food Network all day instead. The next day, I picked it up and started again. I kept saying, “I don’t know what to make of these people”.

When I finished it, I said, “I don’t know what to make of that ending. And that book.” The comparisons to Station Eleven bother me, though. Station Eleven had more going for it throughout the book. More heart. This one was a hard sell. On the side of “My Pillow” hard sell. The ending is just soul crushing. I read this a month before my father went into the hospital for the last time. 2019 has been soul crushing enough; I can’t take it in my books, as well.

May 28th every year marks the end of the world. Humanity celebrates the “holiday” celebrating the end of the world. A concept that is original and yet vaulted into the annals of literature since science fiction and fantasy became reluctant bedmates. A group of characters try to naviagate this particular gathering-book nerd Sarah is looking for love with tattooist Kurt, who is trying to make nice with his fractured family. Karen is the mentally tired and wired woman hearing voices and trying to remain stable long enough to find her long lost brother (Karen is also my favorite character. Because of all of these characters, she strikes me as the most real). Her friend Rosette (aka Barette, in my head) just ditched the Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow a pastor (think Jim Bakker) at The Last Kingdom on Earth church, and she drags Karen with her. Up above Planet Earth, three astronauts orbit on the ISS. Bear is the introspective American, Svec is the brooding Russian, and Yuri (my 2nd favorite character), the Japanese billionaire space tourist. These three and their observations frame the story as surely as the actions of the book. The characters are well illustrated; the problem isn’t with that part of the novel. The premise starts out well, but then the plot just stalls. If the purpose was to make you think about how you would spend “Last Day”, well, it worked. It made me want to beat some of the characters with a cane (Sarah, get over Kurt). If the purpose was to blur the lines over how radically different people would approach the day when they all have so much going on, mission accomplished. But it makes your reader less patient with the story arc and with these characters. Get a scorecard ready; you just might need it. As I said, great premise and several of its characters shine bright. But on a whole, as things begin to look sketchy, it begins to veer off the rails as an overall story. The last chapter? Eloquently written, but so, so, bleak. Still not sure how to describe it overall. One thing it’s not? Station Eleven.

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~ by generationgbooks on July 17, 2019.

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