Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 809
slow read with immersive world-building
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent to a rocky island to hunt the birds that gather there and bring back the food to the people to help with their survival. During that time, they are isolated and have no way of reaching their families or loved ones. This year, the task becomes more difficult when no one shows up to get them after the three weeks are up. Instead, they must continue to survive for many long months while wondering if the rest of the world even exists anymore.

I would add some caution for readers in terms of some of the themes that can be sensitive, and I will include them here, which could be spoilers (so skip to below if you are concerned about spoilers). More specifically, I would warn for a girl who was raised as a boy (but may identify as a girl), pedophilia (one of the adults decides that she should marry him/that her presence is a gift for him), religious in the extreme with casting out of demons/religious figure not very pious, and stoning of others/bullying/mistreatment.

What I loved: The imagery here is fantastic. We feel the isolation, the desolation of the landscape, and the unforgiving nature of survival. The world-building in terms of the rocky island was very good. We got a very good feel for how this fowling trip was.

What left me wanting more: The book moves very slowly, and facts are often revealed slowly, making it hard to visualize the world outside of the island and understand the societal structure (though this may be presumed as it is historical/based on truth). The slow pace can make it hard to read in places, but on the other hand, this does help build the isolation and overwhelming nature of the trip.

Final verdict: Fans of LORD OF THE FLIES will enjoy this new tale of historical survival in an unforgiving environment and with evolving social structures. Would recommend for people who like compelling world-building and immersive scenarios.
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