Leviticus, Gabriel, Cognitive Dissonance, and other supernatural deities populate this witty, apocalyptic fantasy.
The End of the World is Rye follows a well-crafted group of characters who are either personified deities or ideas such as Muse, The Devil, Sampson, and Leviticus. Insanity has escaped from Jesus’s care, and God is unable, or just unwilling, to bring him back into the fold. The last time Insanity was left unattended, the dinosaurs went extinct, and thus it is up to Cognitive Dissonance, Muse, Genius, and Leviticus to rein him in and stave off the possible coming apocalypse. But Insanity has big plans of his own, and he’s not afraid to alter people’s lives or even the course of history to get his hands on the delicious sandwich he seeks.
These characters are truly unforgettable, as most are not only exactly what you’d expect but also full of surprises. The character of Gabriel is a good example; as the pronouncer of God’s Will, he commands a certain level of authority amongst the supernatural. However, when off the clock, he tends to be a whiny, childish angel. “No longer making an official pronouncement, Gabriel responded with an indignant whine: ‘Well, be that as it may, it doesn’t change a thing.’” This type of duality of the characters’ personalities verses the jobs they have is a major source of contention in the book and provides some really humorous moments of narration that keep the mood from becoming too heavy at points. “It took all of her effort to muster up half the emotion of a depressed Vulcan. Spock would be proud.” Gems like these are used effectively to break up long blocks of exposition and develop characters, while certain reoccurring comic-relief characters give the story a much-needed break from such a somber subject as the apocalypse.
With jumps in time and locations, at times it’s difficult to get a picture of what the characters are doing or what their surrounds look like, but this novel will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys books about the supernatural and otherworldly, as well as those who enjoy very witty and humorous narration.
Gregory A. Lowe
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