This rreview is written with thanks to the publisher for my copy of End Of Story via Netgalley.
Too much imagination can be a dangerous thing
It has been five years since writing fiction was banned by the government.
Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.
But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding?
And who can be trusted?
I’m usually a bit wary of dystopian fiction, but I invariably adore everything this author writes, so I just had to read End Of Story. The majority of it is set in December 2035, which is quite difficult for me to imagine, but Louise Swanson describes everything in such minute detail that I could not help but think about what life would be like. (I’m not sure I’ll be having milk on my breakfast tomorrow though.) She also uses events that have happened in the present day, such as Covid-19, climate change and the political situation in the NHS to make her vision of the future feel more real.
The premise of End Of Story is a world where fiction, both reading it and writing it, is banned. The people who break the rules are subjected to some appalling punishments, which are particularly brutal to read. This concept is devastating for me, and indeed, any reader, which meant I felt all the five stages of grief (which are cleverly interwoven in the story) along with Fern and her fellow authors and the contempt for those who were enforcing the rules. I have to say I loved Fine-Fayre and his no nonsense attitude to his disability, and if Smart Legs are ever made, I will be first in line for a pair! The characters are described really clearly and this helped me to become really immersed in the novel.
I would probably describe End Of Story as a slow burner, but it’s ridiculously clever and I love the way even the little details are tied together. There are clues throughout the novel that I cannot believe I didn’t notice! The ending completely blew my mind, and I can’t say any more than that!
I do hope Ms Swanson makes a return really soon!
End Of Story is available from Amazon.