Two stories in this novel seem to exist beyond the confines of a short and that’s because they are set in Roth’s CARVE THE MARK galaxy. For those who are fans of the book, these shorts offer a fresh look at that universe--with Cyra and Akos making appearances, while those who have never read CARVE THE MARK, like me, may be inspired to give it a try. I certainly am curious now about currentgifts and that galaxy.
From Inertia to The Transformationist, I was transported to other worlds and ways of life, but I found myself deeply contemplating my own existence. Though Roth has set these stories in the unfamiliar, there is still a strong presence of humanity, which resonates throughout the collection. I may not be a bounty hunter, a Hearkener, or a teenager deciding about prom, but I can relate to them because of Roth’s depiction. Yet, while this book sparked many thoughts and a strange sort of catharsis, it also was disturbing. These stories, though not without hope, are fairly dark and potentially triggering. If you’re looking for a light, carefree book, this may not be the one for you.
Overall, THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS is a great option for those wanting bite-sized science fiction stories. Roth proves her talent yet again, reminding us, with this book, exactly why she has been so successful in her career and that she has so many valuable contributions to the literary space beyond her first hit.