A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

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Member Reviews

4.5 Stars

Posted to all links (except Amazon of course) 4/16

In a world where people are few and clinging to memories, those that are around you, and your pets; you can keep hold of what should matter most. Where in today's world we have lost site of all these things. We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Secondly, we know my feelings about The Girl with all the Gifts. That is a high bar to set. A comparison not to take lightly. Well done, Mr. Fletcher. Well done.

I should warn you now that this review will be short. Like most dystopian books the less you know going in the better the experience will be. This is true to even more of an extreme with A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher. However, I will give you as much as I can to help you grasp the story. Told mostly (but not entirely) in a journal format and completely from Griz's point of view, Griz and his family live on an island alone with his dog Jip and Jess.

Griz's family have relocated to an island just off Scotland. The world, though loosely explained, has come to a point where they neither care nor are trying to figure out what caused the apocalypse. They never venture to the mainland and have a system that provides for everything they need on the island.

What they do know is that most of the population are no longer able to have children and that they are few children still surviving. This makes Griz and his family very fortunate due to the fact that his parents don't only have Griz, but other children as well. One sister passed away before Griz's journals begin, so we don't know why she died.

Soon a man shows up on the island shores calling himself a trader. All the redflags, bells and cries of DANGER! DANGER WILL ROGERS went off in my head. But this family that went to the extremes of going to their own island, not returning to Scotland offer him kindness. Were they weary, yes. But still they bring him on the island and show him hospitality.

And while I was irked by this obvious flaw in the family and, to me, in the story the cascading domino of events more than made up for that error in judgement. The stranger takes many of the family's resources, and of course one of Griz's dog. And just as I would, should stranger take one of my boys, I went full bent, end of the world or not to find this man and get his damn dog back. This is where I must end.

For Griz keeps up his journal as his searches for his dog in solitude and the effect of this solitude is what leads to so many of the twists and turns, and then the twisted ending I surely never saw coming.

C.A. Fletcher writing throughout the book is beautifully executed, as it has to be with Griz  so often on his own, writing in his journal to who? No one really, not at the time, but of course to us, the reader. It isn't easy to create an end of the world reality that drops you in the middle of the apocalypse. People want the excitement of how it started, why it started. You don't get that here. You get an apathetic world that has given up on the how and why. Yet Fletcher makes it work. Sometimes you just can't go back and whether true or not the world seems to have accepted this fate.
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This arc was sent to me from Orbit, through Netgalley. I was pleasantly surprised by this story. I genuinely liked the story and the characters. We are introduced to a family, that has so far managed to survive the end of the world. A stranger arrives in a boat and tells stories, eats their food, and while the famiily sleeps, he steals their dogs. One escapes, and Griz, one of the families children, awakes in time to see his other dog sailing away with the stranger. 
With that, over adventure with Griz begins, as he and his other dog sail off to resue the stolen dog. Griz discovers many new things, some good and some bad. And tackles a whole other world, that he kneq nothing about. Meets up with others, and all of this he did because of his most loyal of friends, and the love of his dogs. Wonderful story!P
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A Boy and His Dog at the end of the World by C.A. Fletcher bears no small resemblance to Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, which it turns out is not a bad thing.  Both are quiet, elegiac stories set in a post-apocalyptic world and focused on a main character who sets out with his faithful dog on a journey that becomes less about finding what is sought and more about learning about oneself. Both had me unsure at the start if I’d finish, and both won me over, though Fletcher somewhat less fully than Heller.  If you’re looking for a typical post-apocalyptic story with chase scenes, lots of violence, and running battles against regressed, barbaric people, this is not the novel for you.  If you’re a patient reader who doesn’t mind a slow, quiet stroll through a land being reclaimed by nature, lots of ruminating,  and a few human interactions along the way, then this might be just the sort of book you’re looking for.

The novel is narrated by young Griz, who lives with his small family on an island off the coast of Scotland some decades after “The Gelding,” a time when all but .0001 percent of the human population died off due to a plague that turned nearly everyone sterile. Life is difficult (a sister, Joy, died years ago tumbling off a cliff,  and their mother in her grief fell and is permanently brain-damaged) but bearable and they’re making do, until a trader arrives one day and steals one of Griz’s dogs (dogs, like people, have become incredibly rare). Without much forethought, Griz leaps into a boat and gives chase, thus precipitating a lengthy journey across sea and land into a world nearly (but not completely) void of humans, but not their remains.

That near-total emptiness is one reason for the quiet nature of the novel, as it means that just based on pure math, Griz isn’t going to encounter many people, a mere handful by the end and widely scattered across the book’s pages. Instead, we get lots of time inside Griz’s head, either through internal monologue, occasional “conversation” with the dog Jip (the other of the pair that included Jess, the stolen one), and a journal Griz keeps that is addressed to a person in a photograph discovered when his family was off “a-Viking” (scavenging in old houses). In fact, this journal is the book we’re reading.

The novel is filled with descriptions of a past slowly disappearing under a nature indifferent to humanity’s disappearing or being let go by people who no longer have the leisure  or desire to care about the same things people once did. Knick knacks, for instance, as Griz notes early on:

Ornaments. Trophies. Mementoes. Things that meant something to people once, meant enough that they’d make a space for them and display them, something to see every day. We don’t really have ornaments, or the time for mementoes. Everything we do is about surviving, moving forward, keeping going. No time for relics or souvenirs.

Griz, though, is different, is “fascinated” by these things, and by lots of other things as well.  “Too many questions,” is a complaint Griz’s father often has, though in a good-natured way. That curiosity and fascination makes Griz a more engaging character, and also offers up some good excuses for some risky decisions so moments of danger or tension feel organic to the character rather than forced. It also means Griz has a good eye, and so again, the level of elegiac detail (as when he wanders through an old amusement park or an old church) makes some sense where otherwise it might feel a bit preciously advanced for such a young person. Griz’s love of reading also goes a good way toward explain the narrator’s language skills and “older” sounding voice:  “I know you can’t be nostalgic for something never actually knew, but it was that kind of longing the books often woke in me.”  As a cute little aside to the type of audience probably reading this book, Griz’s favorite are fantasy/sci-fi stories, in particular post-apocalyptic fiction, and so we get references to, among others, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Day of the Triffids, and The Road.

All that said, as noted I wasn’t sure at the start if I’d finish the book because the narration felt more than a little flat to me.  It’s hard to pull off an extended story without much human interaction, so that it’s almost wholly a first-person summary of “what I did this day, and then this day, and then this day,” and the language wasn’t quite lyrical enough, or startling enough to pull it off entirely.  Fletcher breaks the extended monologue up with some challenges and tense moments — encounters with wild animals, a sense of being watched, dangerous buildings — but I confess even as someone who enjoys a quiet, character-driven story I was feeling mighty impatient by about 40% in .  Luckily, it was shortly after that point that another character enters the story, providing a lengthy break from being solely in Griz’s head. 

I don’t want to say much more about events as it would too easy to spoil the novel.  A few twists in the novel, one of which I saw coming and one I feared coming, I’d have rather done without. And the ending didn’t fully work for me either.  On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if all three of those aspects are some readers’ favorite moments, so mileage may vary.  Same with the literary references, which came a bit too frequently and too on point for me. 

I will say Griz’s voice did eventually win me over as I fell into its rhythm. I don’t know that there’s a lot new here in the bittersweet melancholy that is often part and parcel  of a post-apocalyptic depiction of a world gone by, and I still wished for a bit richer style, but in its muted, sometimes-lyrical repetition, there’s a cumulative impact to it that has its own power and is by itself worth reading the book for. As are the themes of loyalty and love, of isolation and connection, of loss and forgiveness and of what “humanity” means in a world almost devoid of humans.  Not for action fans, but recommended for those who enjoy slowly unfolding stories that whisper more than they shout.
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Actual rating: 4.5 stars

“Solitude is its own kind of madness.  Like hope itself.”

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book.  I knew it was going to be post apocalyptic and involve a dog, but that’s really all I knew. And I’m incredibly glad I went in so blind.

“Hope can keep you afloat in troubled times.  It can also drown you if you let it distract you at the wrong moment.”

Griz is one of the very few members of Earth’s dwindling population.  Over a century before we meet him, an event called the Gelding had taken place, rendering all but a scant few members of the population incapable of reproduction.  No one ever figured out the catalyst for the Gelding, whether it was a biological weapon gone wrong or simply Mother Nature deciding that enough was enough.  Whatever the case, the world’s population went from billions to thousands as people began dying of old age.  Griz and his family live on a little island with their dogs, and they’re mostly happy.  Until a visitor appears that will change the course of Griz’s life forever.

“Better a brain than a fist.  A brain can hold anything, from giant things, like distant stars and planets, to tiny things we can’t see, like germs.  A brain can even hold things that aren’t and never were, like hobbits.  A brain can hold the whole universe, a fist just holds what little it can grab.  Or hits what it can’t.”

What instantly won me over in regards to this book was how much it reminded me of books from my childhood.  Not in post apocalyptic setting, but in the idea of man both battling against and find a way to peacefully exist with nature.  This book brought be back to stories like Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain and Island of the Blue Dolphins.  In those novels we see kids suddenly thrown into solitude in the elements, whether by choice or happenstance.  Seeing these young people find new strength within themselves in the face of adversity always brings out loads of emotions within me.  

“Forgetting is a kind of betrayal, even if it’s what happens to all grief.  Time wears everything smoother as it grinds past, I suppose.”

That being said, even though I enjoyed returning to something from my childhood, I didn’t connect with this book on an emotional level for the majority of the book.  There were a lot of elements I loved.  I appreciated that Fletcher took the themes I loved as a child and crafted a story that felt more adult.  I loved the closeness Griz had to his dogs, and his family, and the books that he had discovered and treasured over the course of his life.  As a side note, can I just say how much I adored the literary references?  Authors that I love were mentioned with great care, and books that I haven’t read yet suddenly became even more appealing because of Griz’s love for them.  Fletcher did a great job giving Griz a unique voice, and his storytelling style had a really cool balance of foreshadowing that never gave away too much.

“I lose myself in stories.  I find myself there too.”

While I enjoyed the book from the start, it didn’t blow me away until around the last fifty pages of the book.  There were a couple of massive plot twists, one of which completely blindsided me.  Looking back, I still can’t see any hints of that twist.  Those twists are what rocketed this book from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars.  The author included a note at the beginning of the book asking that readers try not to spoil the story for others, and I think that’s an incredibly wise inclusion.  

“If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?  That’s like not having a memory.  That’s when we stop being human.  That’s a kind of death, even if you keep breathing.”

If you’ve been sitting on the fence regarding this book, I encourage you to give it a read.  If this is a book you’ve been anticipating, I’m so excited for you to get your hands on it and have your mind blown like mine was.  A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is poignant and thoughtful and surprising, and will have you looking at the world a little differently.
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Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

a boy and his dog at the end of the world (C.A. Fletcher)
Title: a boy and his dog at the end of the world
Author: C.A. Fletcher
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback/e-book)
ISBN: 978-0316449458
Source: NetGalley

The title, cover, and dystopian nature is what made me want to read this book.  I love end-of-the-world stories.  While I enjoyed many parts of this book, it didn't completely float me boat.  It ended up being only an okay read due to me personal preferences.

I really did find the premise to be interesting.  The end of the world has come and gone and humans are headed for extinction.  There are only about 7000 of them left scattered across the globe.  Griz lives on an island in Scotland with his mother, father, two siblings, ponies, and dogs.  Their closest and only neighbors are on another island quite a bit away.

The family is seemingly content in life but one day another ship with red sails is spotted on the horizon.  The trader comes to swap tales but uses trickery to steal from the family.  Only one of the stolen items is Griz's dog, Jess.  Griz is determined to follow and get his dog back.

The introduction to the world was lovely and unusual.  The book is written in the style of a journal where the intended reader is a long-dead person Griz only knows via a photograph.  It sounds odd but it does work.  I was interested in how the world worked and the explanations of how the apocalypse happened.  Getting into the novel took a minute because of the unique structure but I was engaged up until the moment Griz decides to go after the trader and his dog.

That is when the book began to lose its me.  The boy decides to sail after the trader with very little preparation or thinking.  Stupid choices are made over and over again and seemed unrealistic.  The mainland is a dangerous place and yet those dangers seemed muted so that Griz could survive.  It seems like 150 years would not have been enough time for the environmental damages to have been mitigated.  Plus structures have been breaking down and are strewn across the landscape and yet Griz climbs on and around them with very little problem.  I just didn't really feel that Griz was in actual danger.

Because this journal has been written after the events they portray, there are some foreshadowing moments that perk interest.  But there is also a lot of attempted philosophizing about what the world used to be like and how long-dead-reader would have felt about things in both the past and present.  A lot of it was repetitive.  So the action stalled and very little distance was actually travelled.  I got a bit bored.

It got better when Griz meets his first person on the mainland.  Even though they don't speak a common language, the bond they form is wonderful.  I loved almost the whole section  The only downside is when wolves attack Griz and his companion.  This was completely unrealistic and silly.  Griz talks continuously about how plentiful game is.  Rabbits, deer, wild boar, etc. are everywhere.  The wolves would have had absolutely no reason to attack people and a horse.  Especially when fire was present.  Wolves don't do that and I get tired of these animals being used as a convenient plot point.

Once the two humans split up, the book took another turn that was not to me taste.  I thought Griz was going to track down the trader and have a reckoning.  But other spoilery things happen that seemed too ridiculous and I didn't buy it.  There were just too many arbitrary coincidences and the resolution just seemed too perfect.  The happy ending seems to have warmed the hearts of the crew though.  I am in the minority about not liking the twist.

I have no regrets about reading this book and it has lovely characters, thoughts, and ideas.  I would have just preferred a different take on the whole situation.  But I do think that most readers will love it just as it is.  Arrrr!

So lastly . . .Thank ye Orbit Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.My name's Griz. My childhood wasn't like yours. I've never had friends, and in my whole life I've not met enough people to play a game of football.My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.Then the thief came.There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.Because if we aren't loyal to the things we love, what's the point?

To visit the author’s website go to:
C.A. Fletcher - Author

To buy the novel go to:
a boy and his dog at the end of the world - Book

To add to Goodreads go to:
Yer Ports for Plunder List
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Griz lives with his family on a small island off the coast of Scotland. It is the end of days… About a hundred and fifty years in the future, many human factors have caused the birthrate to drop dramatically until there are an estimated fewer than 10,000 people alive in the world. Families and small communities struggle for survival without any of the comforts we know. Griz’s family is cautious and at times paranoid about their little plot of safety on the edge of the world. They have allies a couple islands to the north, but generally keep to themselves.

Until one day when they see a sail on the horizon and soon the boat approaches their island of Mingulay. Brand is a trader who has come to show the family his wares. They share a meal and he woos them with tidbits from far and wide, especially an exotic spread named marmalade. But this delicacy is tainted with a sleeping concoction that enables Brand to take Griz’s dog. A prize in the world because the toxins have affected the birthrates of dogs as well. A young man’s anger is unleashed upon this thief and his vengeance will not be satisfied until he tracks down Brand and takes back his dog. Over sea and through a desolate post-apocalypse landscape, a journey to return the terrier back to its family.

I will stop there in order to respect Fletcher’s request for no spoilers, but I will make several general comments about my love for this book:

1. The story is told by Griz from some point after the action has taken place. This reflective narration allows for drops or hints of future conflicts and character development. Fletcher’s use of this technique builds great tension and adds that eerie foreshadowing of things to come. 
2.  Griz’s character is one of my favorites in a long time. He is constantly caught in a decision whether to take on trouble with stealth or violence. This new and scary world is not kind to people, and each conflict tests and forces him to grow. 
3. If the pacing does slow a bit at all, Griz’s reflections and the author’s writing shines. Fletcher is allowed to insert all kinds of speculation on the past lives of the people who once lived in the face of societal shutdown.
4. There are a number of literary, musical, and other allusions that add great depth to the novel. I had fun looking many of them up and following a couple fun threads though YouTube and our friend Google. Ha!

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is one of the best books I will read this year. It’s chock-full of intriguing post-world speculation, contains one of the best characters in recent memory, and has a survival-adventure plot that kept me flipping through the pages.

5 out of 5 stars.

Releases on April 23rd.

Thank you to NetGalley, Orbit Books, and C. A. Fletcher for an advanced copy for review.
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This book grabbed me from the beginning and I would look forward to when I had time to read again. The adventure it takes you and the ups and downs that you share with the main character are like the best roller coaster. The main twist at the end was suggested at just enough so it was enjoyable but looking back there was enough clues so it wasn't out of nowhere. I would love to read more by this author but I don't feel this story has any sequels.
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This story grabbed me from the beginning and really never let go. The setup is pretty simple: Griz lives on an island (formerly known as Scotland) with his family and two dogs. One day, a stranger arrives to trade with them and ends up stealing Griz's dog. Griz sets off after the stranger to get his dog back and adventure ensues. The extra nuance here: most of the world's population is gone after an event called the Gelding where most people suddenly stopped being able to have children. Griz and his family survive by scavenging and trading with a few people on the mainland. 

The story is told by Griz in the form of a journal as the adventure unfolds. I liked Griz's voice and sense of wonder as he saw many things for the first time (museum, amusement park) even though they started falling apart after "the end of the world." The descriptions of the countryside, the effects of several generations of neglect on structures and Griz' relationship with Jip, the other dog that makes the trip with him, were fantastic. The ending to this book was surprising and very clever. I really enjoyed it--great cover too!
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I’ll keep this short and to the point, because it would be way too easy to veer into spoilery territory, and this book is best experienced fresh and free from a whole lot of expectations. It’s a wonderful story about love and loyalty, centered around a quest to retrieve a beloved dog, and filled with danger, unexpected alliances and moments of grace, bravery, and defiance. And yes, a little sadness too.

The title says a lot about the basics of the book. The key point is that this is a world of after — nothing is as we know it. And it’s not because of a world war or other doomsday scenario. Instead, the world basically went infertile, except for a very small percentage of people who didn’t. There was a last generation, and once they died out, the people who remained — about 7,000 worldwide — were left to live on in whatever fashion suited them. The world we know was essentially dead. Nothing new was made or created, and people survived through farming and scavenging (or, as Griz’s family calls it, “viking” — they’d go “a-viking” to see what they could find to reuse and repurpose on their own little isolated island).

Told through Griz’s first-person narration, the story takes us along Griz’s journey, across the sea and through an abandoned and alien mainland… because a stolen dog cannot be forgotten. I loved the writing, both plain and unembellished, yet full of fun word play and cadences.

I really truly loved this book. It’s sad and frightening, but also lovely and inspiring. Griz is a terrific, memorable main character. The story wraps up well, neatly enough to leave me satisfied, but I still wish I could learn more about this world and the people left in it.

Highly recommended. What a treat!
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Touching and compelling, I loved every minute of this adventure. It was very well thought out and left me wondering what aspects of this world will be left for the next when it finally moves on.
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For those who like their apocalypse books to have a lot of action, this isn’t it. It is a journey. It has been at least 2-3 generations since the end of the world as we know it. Griz has been living on an island when a thief comes and steals Griz’s dog. That is when Griz’s journey begins. The story is told in a journal format as a book for a long dead boy in a photograph found by Griz. Since Griz has lived only on an island and has never been on the mainland, there is a lot of describing of the landscape and how it has changed. There is a lot of reflection by Griz and we learn about Griz’s family and life back on the island as well as what happened to cause the end of the world. The story builds slowly and the ending was something I didn’t quite expect. It took me by surprise. The ending really made the book for me.
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3.5 stars. Something about it reminded me of Orphan Island. It was slow to start and it could have been fleshed out more, but from a diary perspective, it worked. I enjoyed the reading of it, but I don't see it having broad reader appeal.
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I received this novel from Orbit Books through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review: my thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

Post apocalyptic worlds can come in a wide variety of flavors, most of them having in common the obliteration of the greater part of the human race: either by quirks of nature, pandemics, or climate changes, mankind finds itself vastly reduced in numbers and trying to survive in what is often a ravaged land – or a very unfriendly one.  This novel, however, starts from a different kind of premise, that the dramatically dwindling population is the consequence of a devastating decrease in birth rate, one that results in the progressive, unavoidable emptying of the world, so that vegetation and fauna retake control of a landscape in which humans are more intruders than anything else.

A few enclaves survive, however, either small groups living together for support, or isolated family units: the latter is the case for Griz, the narrator of this story, whose family dwells on an island off the Scottish coast. It’s a harsh life, one made of hard work and constant struggle against the failure of ancient machinery cobbled together ingeniously from the remnants of the old world and made to function without the aid of electricity or propellants, both things having disappeared together with civilization as we know it.

Still, it’s not a bad life, despite its tragedies: Griz’s twin sister Joy died several years before falling from a cliff, and their distraught mother, searching for her child, fell badly and suffered a head injury that left her absent-minded and incapable of fending for herself. Griz’s father, older brother and sister are a tight-knit family unit, occasionally trading with the next-island neighbors, and surviving through sheep farming, some scavenging in the abandoned areas of the mainland (they call it “viking”, from Viking raiders or old) and whatever forms of agriculture the island climate allows.  And of course there are their dogs, Jip and Jess – part of the family and Griz’s best friends and faithful companions.

Things change for the worse when a passing trader elopes with Jess: like humans, dogs have suffered in their reproductive abilities and female dogs have become quite rare in litters, so Brand – that’s the name of the trader – knows he will get a good price for Jess somewhere else.  Incensed for the theft, and the awareness that the whole family has been deceived by Brand’s easy manners and tall tales, Griz jumps on one of the family’s boats and launches in pursuit of the thief, intending to retrieve the stolen dog at any cost.

What follows is of course an adventure in an unfamiliar and dangerous world, but it’s also a coming-of-age tale and a lesson about never losing sight of your humanity, no matter how harsh and unforgiving the situation becomes.   And it’s a story about the bond between humans and dogs, as well, showing us that they are not just intelligent creatures who have stayed at our side since the dawn of time (Of all the animals that travelled the long road through the ages with us, dogs always walked closest), but also the kind of companions we can always rely on, their love and devotion coming straight from the heart and never filtered through self-interest or artifice.

As easy as it is to like Griz as a character, the moments in which this youngster truly shines happen in relation with Jip the dog: they are not merely friends and traveling companions, they look out for each other, care for each other’s well-being and share a bond that goes beyond the need for words, since they seem to understand one another through an unseen connection – not so much a connection of the mind, as one of the heart.  As Griz tells the thief, in a heated exchange about the lack of laws following the fall of civilization: “…but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?”. Jip and Jess are family and as such they deserve the same kind of faithfulness and love as the rest of Griz’s parents and siblings – and in those simple words we can find the essence of this story and of Griz’s journey.

A side of this character that will not fail to endear it to us bookworms is the love of stories, the pleasure Griz takes in being drawn into them and letting the mind wander along the “what if…?” path that we all know so well: strangely enough, Griz’s main focus is on post-apocalyptic stories, which to me sounds like a tongue-in-cheek sort of joke and also as a curious parallel, since it’s a sub-genre I’ve always been interested on.  For me, I think it’s a matter of superstition – sort of: as long as I can read about all the ways the world might end, I know it all remains firmly in the realm of fantasy; for Griz it’s a way to understand how the world truly ended: being born in the aftermath of it all means that any information has been filtered through second- and third-hand retellings and there is no certainty that things truly happened that way.  Then there is the pure joy of losing oneself in stories – not just dystopian ones, of course: life on the island, with its definite boundaries and the need for constant hard work, does not leave much room for the mind to wander, and it’s only through books that Griz is able to move across a whole universe of possibilities. 

And when the journey begins in earnest, when Griz is alone in the wide world beyond the borders of the tiny island, it’s the knowledge gleaned through books that helps in the difficult business of survival or that makes the sights and wonders more relatable, either thanks to scientific information or – again – to stories read in the past. And so the deep forests of the mainland (something that the islands lack) make Griz remember passages from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings; or the need to escape from confinement is fueled by recalling The Count of Montecristo, and so on.

Above all, this is a story about love, loyalty and steadfast determination, but it’s also a journey of discovery: of an unknown – and sometimes unknowable – world, but also of oneself and what it means to be human. You will find a wide range of feelings here: fear and delight, joy and terror, anger and compassion – this is the kind of book that will steal your heart, taking you on an emotional rollercoaster driven by a writing that at times becomes almost lyrical despite its deceiving simplicity.  I found much more than I expected here, and I would not have missed it for the world.
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A dystopian Swiss family Robinson meets Little House on the Prairie and then the Quest. Good book. I really enjoyed it
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This book pulled me right in from the first page and I felt as if I was on the journey with Griz. The story takes place after the Gelding, a post-apocalyptic society. Griz lives with his parents, two siblings and his two dogs, Jip and Jess, on an island near what was formerly Scotland. They have some books and find it interesting to read the authors who wrote in their time about what it would be like at the end of the world. One day a man appears in their camp, Brand, offers them some marmalade which was laced with a drug and sent them all unconscious, except for Griz who ate very little of it. Griz realises that Brand has taken most of their food and stole his dog Jess. Griz resolves to set out, find Brand and rescue Jess. His journey is amazing and this book is a must-read, not just for fans of science fiction or fantasy, but for anyone who enjoys a very good read.  There are many surprises during this book!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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So many surprises! A very compelling read. I grew very attached to the dogs, then the people, then the plot.
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Thank you to Orbit Books and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest view.

This is an outstanding book!!!  I received the first 5 chapters to read and was intrigued so I requested the completed book and am soooo glad that I did!! 
This book is about a boy living on an island, just off the shores of Scotland, in a time after the world's population has been decimated by some kind of disease or bioweapon that has stopped the reproduction cycle. There is a very, very small percentage of people not affected and so Griz lives in a world where the only humans who he knows are his immediate family and a neighbouring family on another island.
One day a stranger shows up and is interested in trading with Griz's family and even more interested in Griz's dogs Jess and Jip. After an evening of hospitality and conversation, Griz awakens in the morning to find his family seems to have been drugged and the stranger has disappeared. Not only has the stranger sailed away but he has stolen Griz's dog Jess.
The stranger's boat can be seen on the horizon so without a second thought, Griz grabs a few supplies and along with Jip , he takes after the boat in hopes of rescuing Jess.
From here we follow along with Griz on an adventure to the mainland where he must overcome many challenges of a world that has been left in decay in hopes that he can save Jess.

This is a very well written book with a narrative that flows so easily and flawlessly. It comes across as very straight forward and you feel like you know exactly where the story is going...……. until you don't. That surprise twist totally threw me for a loop. It had me second guessing if I had missed some important reveal. When I got to the end I turned to the first page to start reading again to see if I could see just where the author had deceived me and if there were any clues that could have indicated the truth. This is one book you definitely need to add to your TBR list no matter what genre you like!

Bravo C.A Fletcher that was very well done!
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Thank you to Orbit for an early EARC of this book!

I found this book to be so original, and very enjoyable! The point of view of the main character, Griz, was entertaining. This book takes place after the apocalpse of the world. Only a few people have survived and were able to sustain life. The main character narrates what life is like after the world ends and what they have to do to survive. Having a dog is the most important thing to him and the people of the world. They don’t have material things and the only things they love and adore are their dogs. I found this very original story wise. One day an outsider comes to Griz’s world and takes his beloved dog! Griz takes this so hard and won’t give up until he finds her. He then goes on an adventure to get her back, no matter what it takes. I will gush about this book forever! I am a dog mom and my dog is my everything, so I can relate to Griz and I too would do anything for my pup! Highly recommend!!
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i have always liked dystopian novels, and this is a very good one!   The boy, Griz, has to search for his stolen dog.  Told from the perspective of Griz, it is a wonderful and touching story.
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[Review to be published April 11th on The Nerd Daily]

If you read one book this year, I beg you that this be the one. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World will break your heart in all the right ways.

In a confessional writing style, Griz recounts the impulsive pursuit of the stranger who came into the lives of Griz’s family – which has already been touched by tragedy – betrays their trust, and absconds with their beloved dog. Set in a world which has been ravaged by an event which saw the modern world, barring a few who had natural immunity, unable to reproduce, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World charts Griz’s journey across a depopulated world; the world which we left behind.

The isolation of travelling through a depopulated world is the overriding characteristic of the novel. The imagination which Fletcher exposes in considering how exactly the world would look if suddenly we were all unable to reproduce, is masterful. So much has been thought through, such as the different ways in which people responded to the ‘baby bust’ apocalypse, and the amount of intellectual legwork done to really consider this what the world through which Griz travels looks like, is truly impressive.

The descriptions of the old world being slowly eaten and retaken by nature, are so beautifully evocative and vivid, that they drew an immediate parallel in my mind to the detail and haunting beauty portrayed in something like The Last of Us (see here for why you should play if it you haven’t).

Fletcher tenderly observes facets of life which we take for granted: the miracle of recorded music, or how it feels to be surrounded by people, making for visually lush reading. It’s safe to say that the writing is very reflective; we are in Griz’s head, after all. I do realise that isn’t for everyone; I’ll admit, it didn’t make for light reading, given the concentration it requires to be able to envisage what is being described, and as I read, a sense of melancholy would inevitably descend upon me and linger. But that isn’t a comment against the book, but merely a comment about the type of book this is.

I read a review which criticised the book for the fact that Griz’s writing was far too sophisticated and reflective for a fourteen-year-old (I think – I’m reasonably certain that age is mentioned, but I can’t find particular reference to it, regardless, Griz is only an adolescent). However, Griz is thoughtful, deeply introspective and reflective, and a voracious reader. That, taken in combination with the fact that a post-apocalyptic world requires people to grow up fast in order to survive, left me feeling that it was plausible enough for a younger narrator to have a sophisticated and thoughtful voice.

This melancholy reflectiveness, taken with the grammatical decision to eschew quotation marks in keeping with the form of a stream of consciousness journal confession, brought to mind two books: the Life of Pi, and All the Pretty Horses. Normally I’m not the world’s biggest fan of post-grammar writing (no quotation marks), but the manner in which it is used gels perfectly with the style of the book, which makes us the reader, the imagined audience to whom Griz is pouring out the heartbreak of a saga across the remains of our society, perfectly immersed in the mood of the book.

In terms of actual action of the book itself – the manner in which the plot plays out, I felt this was a truly unusual storyline. I genuinely had no idea where the story would end, or even what would happen next. Even as we are given foreshadowed warnings about the manner in which the story unfolds (for example the comment that it is the unexpected book which saves Griz’s life), I still could not have anticipated what eventuated. I did guess one of the twists, and was so busy being impressed with myself about it that I completely missed many of the others. The one thing I will say regarding the twists is hold in your mind when reading something Griz says towards the book’s conclusion: when a liar says they will tell you the whole truth, listen carefully for the shape of what they don’t say.

A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World is a hard novel to review without giving too much away, or overexplaining it. The delight in it lies in the experience of the reading, of the beautifully constructed sentences, of the lingering sense of sadness at the world which was lost, at the heart which nestles in the centre of the story: the relationship between a person and their dog. It is a beautiful book, and I loved it so much that even though I was given an e-arc, I think I will have to purchase a physical copy for myself when it comes out this month, because I would really love to re-read it (and force my friends and family to read it, too).
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