A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

I never thought I'd be using "cozy" and "huggable" to describe a post-apocalyptic book...and yet here we are. I went into A Boy and His Dog thinking it'd be a story about the celebration of dogs against an end-of-the-world backdrop.

I was wrong.

It's a story about the celebration of life.

This book tackles the end of the world from an angle that I haven't seen before in the genre, and I think what it achieves for post-apocalyptic fiction is similar to what Life is Beautiful achieves for Holocaust ones--taking what is traditionally a grim subject matter and injecting it with an astonishing amount of hope and goodness. And you can hurl the exact same criticisms for A Boy and His Dog that people do for Life is Beautiful: that it's not dark enough, that it doesn't portray all the horrors of the situation, that it's too positive and hopeful.

But you know what? I don't think there's such a thing as too positive and hopeful. Not with stories like these.

Griz's narration is everything. It's companionable and warm, like you've been friends for your whole lives and this is just a story that he's telling you over a breakfast table. And it's laced with empathy and introspection that I think most book lovers can recognize and fall in love with. And he does this thing where he gets a certain feeling from looking at something or experiencing something, but he can't quite explain it with plain adjectives, so he tries to describe around it using imagery and comparisons to other things, and I just had to pause and stare at my tablet because it reminded me so much of myself and I rarely come across characters who think like this.

But the most brilliant part of the story is how Griz rebuilds this ruined world into something new--something quiet yet wondrous--just through his narration. He comes across empty bridges and crumbling buildings and old dusty records, but he doesn't see them as the loss of a civilization. He doesn't think, "Look what's become of humanity." He thinks, "Look what humanity has achieved." It's one of the most beautiful examples you can get of a character creating the world.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), there aren't a ton of speculative book characters that I actually want to pull into this world and be best friends with. But with Griz? Sleepovers, baking sessions, camping trips, movie nights, book discussions--I want to do them all because he is my kind of people.

That being said, I did want more scenes of Griz bonding with his dogs; I kind of thought this would be a dog story first, post-apocalypse second, but the dogs felt more like catalysts for plot development than actual characters. And the ending wasn't as meaty as I'd hoped it would be. I wouldn't say "disappointing" but I was expecting something with a bit more impact. I think these complaints are fairly small in the grand of scheme of things, though.

A Boy and His Dog is the feeling of snuggling under your blanket fort, listening to the rain patter outside. A book that shines a light on the small everyday things we take for granted and says, "How magical. How beautiful. How extraordinary." And if the world ends in a fiery inferno tomorrow, I'll rest happily knowing that Griz will be narrating the life that comes after.
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Many Thanks to NetGalley, Orbit Books and C.A. Fletcher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy.

There is a note from C.A. Fletcher that says, and I’m paraphrasing, that is would be a kindness to other readers that the discoveries you make while you follow Griz’s journey remain a secret between us, meaning the reader and Fletcher. Who am I to go against an author’s wishes, and after reading, I understand why he is making this request. I almost think this is a disservice to categorize it as science fiction/fantasy genre, because there are readers, yes I know hard to believe, that will discount a book simply because they don’t “enjoy” that genre. I am telling you, this book is a must read, for everyone, no matter what genre you think you read. It is about love, family, loyalty, doing the right thing even when it is hard and all sorts of other things that make it so much more than a stereotypical science fiction/fantasy novel. 

If you haven’t gathered, I loved everything about this book. I really found it compelling, suspenseful, touching, endearing and everything else you might want in a novel. It has adventure and heart. I think kids of all ages will enjoy this but there are scary parts, so sensitive kids and the young should wait to read this one. There are so many ways I could use this in a classroom setting, I would pick this as a classroom novel and do a whole unit on this. It is so rich. There are so many themes to explore, and it brings up so many questions, I would love to do this with a classroom of kids and hear their ideas. Griz is a noble character with great qualities and equally great flaws. The pacing of the book is tense and exciting. The story is one that will stay with me and I will be sorry to say goodbye to the characters. 

Do yourself a favour - child, young adult, or adult and pick this one up.
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This a very gripping title. It is hard to put down and is very satisfying. The underlying theme of truth and the perception of truth are woven through the narrative making it hard to guess what will happen next. 
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Griz's world isn't like our own. There are fewer people now, thanks to the Gelding, a sharp and sudden decline in the ability to have children. Griz lives on an island with family and dogs and they rarely venture beyond their own shores. But when a stranger arrives offering trade, Griz's guard is dropped. Which is why the visitor is able to steal one of Griz's dogs. 

Griz will do anything to get Jess back, including traveling beyond the furthest reaches and into a world that's completely foreign. 

Oh, how I loved this book! I'll admit, a story about a search for a missing dog was maybe not completely in my wheelhouse. But it is a post apocalyptic setting, which is. And after receiving both a physical copy and an audio copy for review, I figured the world was trying to tell me something. 

And boy was it! This is hands down one of my favorite books this year!

So the Gelding is, as I mentioned, a sharp (dramatic, drastic, devastating) decline in babies being born. Obviously this isn't an issue for Griz's family as there are a total of four children, one lost in a tragic accident. And the family keeps to themselves. Beyond a trip to the mainland years ago, the family doesn't go far. They subsist off of the resources their island provides and that's about it. 

Then Brand arrives. With red sails, which immediately sets everyone at ease. As Griz notes, no one sneaking around would sail with red sails! And yet, Brand makes off with one of Griz's dogs in the middle of the night. 

What comes next is a journey of survival and an attempt to save Jess, one of Griz's dogs. Because, as Griz notes, "If we're not loyal to the things we love, what's the point?"

Griz is a fabulous narrator and the time that's passed between Griz's present and our own is quite significant. Griz is a reader so there's no bizarre imaginings of what any remains of our world were used for or mean, but Griz's exploration of that world is fascinating nonetheless. In part because of the lack of people. For much of the book, beyond Brand, the only people Griz comes into contact with are already dead. Which would make this a bit of a lonely book were it not for Jip, Griz's other dog, who is also part and party to the quest to save Jess. 

Fletcher's debut is a story about friendship, loyalty, and adventure and it's enormously wonderful. If you're a fan of dog books, post apocalyptic books, adventure books, or any books at all, you should read this one!

And, if you are a fan of audio books, you should absolutely read this one in that format. It's narrated by the author himself who has such a fabulously theatrical voice!
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The world has ended. However, this post-apocalyptic story does not occur as the world is ending, or immediately after the world ends. Instead, the story follows the descendants of those survivors; these people are living in what remains of the world 100 years later. And yes, the novel is about a boy who goes on a journey to recover his stolen dog. Before you judge the plot of this book, recall the plot of the movie, "John Wick."
	Griz is the protagonist and we follow the events of his adventure after they happen. Griz lives with his family—parents and brother and sisters—on an island. There are other people who live in this big world, including their neighbors with whom both families make supply runs together. As mentioned in the summary, a thief—named Brand—“stops by the island” and takes one of the family’s dogs. Griz, who believes in family and doing the right thing, takes off after Brand in order to get the dog back. Throughout Griz’s journey, he explores what remains of our world: buildings, wildlife, landscape, etc. Griz learns more about the world because he must survive alone with his knowledge and his instincts to guide him. The few people Griz meets throughout his journey presents both the struggle and the complications surrounding each individual, including Griz. 
       Anyone who is a fan of post-apocalyptic stories will enjoy Fletcher’s novel. As I mentioned before, there are no zombies or first wave attacks in this story; and, this does not happen immediately after the events at the end of the world. And, that’s the appeal of "A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World," the aftermath of the apocalypse! Given the approximate age of Griz (16?), adolescent readers will find this novel appealing as well. I can see this novel becoming an assigned book in schools.
	"A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World" is an entertaining dystopian bildungsroman novel that puts a lot of emphasis on the atmosphere of the Earth over the characters. Readers learn from Griz’s experiences that both knowledge of survival and knowledge of people go hand-in-hand. My only issue with this novel is that while Griz learned and accomplished much on his journey, he doesn’t seem changed by it that much. It could be because Griz is telling the story in his journal. The “story doesn’t end with the journey” notion that left me wondering whether or not Griz and his family has more to tell us about their world. Other than that this novel was fun to read.
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I read the preview of this book and was hooked. It left me craving for more and was happy when I was approved for this book.
I'm usually no fan of dystopian novels but this was very good. 
I loved how the book was told and, even if the pace is quite slow for most of the time, I was hooked and I had to read as fast as I could till the end.
It's a moving, entertaining and fascinating book. I loved the world building and how the characters were written.
It was the discovery of a new author (new to me) and I look forward to reading other books by this writer.
Many thanks to Orbit Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Thank you so much to Orbit books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.  

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a post apocalyptic, dystopian novel where a great gelding seems to have reduced the population to a handful of hardy stragglers. 

 Griz, his family, and their dogs live on an island.  They are a resourceful bunch, who hunt and fish and go "a-viking" to scavenge from the mainland.  When a traveller shows up to trade some goods, everything goes to hell for Griz when he wakes up, drugged, to find his dog gone.

The story is told as Griz pursues the traveller and his dog across the continent by sea and land.  I love the regard that C.A. Fletcher obviously has for dogs, I found myself nodding and smiling as the loyalty and bonds were described.  Also the love of books - one unique concept to me was Griz candidly remarking that all the old books had the end of the world wrong.

The writing was a little hard to follow, Griz wrote it like a diary but I guess he didn't pick up punctuation from his books.  I am not sure how many others will love the book due to that style, it could be hard to follow at times.  The plot felt a little slow sometimes but never boring, and had a few surprising twists.

I did enjoy the premise, the plot twists, the friends he made along the way, all the dangers....and the other plot twist :)

Would recommend for fans of dystppian type novels. 3.5 actual rating
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I've always loved apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic tales. In this story, Griz is a teen surviving well on an island a few generations after the end of the world as we know it.  The world didn't end with a bang, but slowly, because of a lack of new babies.  Only a VERY small percentage of people can have children so the world is empty now and everything is in ruins.  The same thing happened to the dogs so those are also very few and far between.  But Griz's family are the lucky ones and can have kids and have dogs who can have pups.  

Enter Brand, a traveling trader who delights the family with his story telling and then makes off in the night with Griz's beloved dog, Jess.

Griz sets out after Brand to get Jess back and ends up on a journey of a lifetime.

The story is told by Griz as written in a letter format. It's told slowly. Very slowly.  But the end makes up the wait to see what will happen next.  Overall, I did enjoy this book.

*Thank you to NetGalley and to Orbit Books for the advance copy!*
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Not quite what i was expecting, but quite an enjoyable book and well worth a read.  I seldom write what a story is about as i prefer one to read the book for themselves.  

I would like to thank Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.  This is my honest review.
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Never mess with a boys dog ! That is something everyone should know, right ? This boy, Griz, loves his dog and will do anything to get it back.  That's not the whole story just the stick that poked and poked till things got way out of hand.
The story is about a boy who lives on an island with his mother, father and two sisters. In this post apocalyptic  world were very few survived including animals.,  The old world is only known through books now, technology, communities, and safety are things long gone. Humans must now forage, hunt and go a Viking to find useful items to help make living easier.
When a stranger arrives on their island after so many years of being alone they meet him with fear, distrust and excitement. he comes bearing news and gifts and leaves with a dog. This dog belongs to the boy, Griz.
This is where the adventure begins, Griz follow determined to reclaim his dog. His aventures take him to a world he has never seen, far from home, far from the protection of his island and it's isolation. 
What a journey ! It was a slow start but slowly building, a bit too slow. I struggled to get through the first 3/4 of the book, the last 1/4 was a rollercoaster ride. Oh and there is a wowzer of a twist. It was griz's tiring same old line, and extreme focus and drive it took away from the other happenings. There was another thing that just bugged me. The lack of feelings, signs of love, emotions for his dogs. I was projecting sure but it read so dramatically yet the character was so cold and calculating. Overall  I liked it, and think it would make a great movie.
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I started by reading just the first chapter of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World to see if it was something I would enjoy. I then spent every waking moment where I wasn’t driving, working, or taking a shower, reading it until it was over.

The world is ending with a whimper. Seventy years previously, mankind stopped being fertile and multiplying. Griz is one of the few teenagers left. Living with his family on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, Griz’ friends are his two dogs, who are siblings Jip and Jess. Jess is a rare female dog in a world where dogs were eaten for food.

Griz’s family includes his father, his brain-damaged mother, his older sister and brother. When a stranger, world-traveler Brand, lands on their island, he is welcomed suspiciously for the possibility of trading food for a much needed windmill motor. However, when Brand leaves like a thief in the night, he takes Griz’s beloved dog, Jess, with him. Griz decides that that act is his line in the sand that no one should cross. He takes the family’s boat to give chase to Brand and bring Jess home.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is more Homer and less Walking Dead. There are no zombies in sight (thank goodness). It is a first-person coming of age quest novel. While I mentioned Homer, it can also be compared to several of the superhero movies so popular right now. There are clear heroes and villains. Griz is focused on his goal and is willing to put up with any challenge to achieve it. The ending is excellent too. While this has a rather slow pace, it is never boring. However, it has more of a literary fiction vibe and so may not be a good fit for thriller fans. In addition, the foreshadowing was annoyingly obvious. But it is definitely worth the time invested. 4 stars!

Thanks to Orbit Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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The publisher has asked that no spoilers be given prior to publication and I will do my best to respect that request.

The book is written by a boy named Griz who lived with his family on Mingulay island off the coast of what used to be Scotland. The world is post-apocalyptic as a result of the Gelding. Simplified, fewer females were born, and over time, the world's population declined as a result.

Griz writes the book in journal-style addressing it to a boy he saw in a photo once. Someone now long dead. While his age is not stated, it seems he is in his mid-to-late teens.

A stranger comes to their island, and after drugging the family through food which Griz didn't eat, makes his pre-dawn escape taking with him, among other things, one of Griz's dogs. Enraged, and telling no one of his plans, Griz gives chase hoping to get his dog back. Oh the impetuousness of youth!! Thus starts an adventure the likes of which Griz never expected.

The book immediately drew me in with the boy's unique voice. There were times when I was fully engaged and other times when things just seemed tedious.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Orbit for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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This book is all together introspective, post-apocalyptic and full of cute puppers. I mean that’s the trifecta, right?

Griz, is a boy who has grown up after the end of the world as we know it. His parents can recall the old days, back when the world was crowded. When dogs were plenty. When everything was electric. Now it’s mostly quiet. Griz has grown up on an island off the coast of Scotland, just him, his family and his two dogs. The island is hard to find and secluded (translation: safe), until a traveler shows up unexpectedly. He repays the family’s hospitality by drugging them and stealing their goods, including one of Griz’s beloved dogs.

Griz, for all his quiet thoughtfulness, is also bright, bold, courageous and loyal. He chases after his pet, knowing that the possibility of return to his home is slim. What follows is an adventure through a world that is familiar to us but nearly devoid of people, disused and falling apart. It gives the landscape an almost otherworldly quality, interesting to see how quickly things fall apart when we aren’t there to use them.

This is an excellent book. The main character is truly a delight and the puppers are, as will surprise no one, quite wonderful. If you liked Station Eleven, or books of that sort you will enjoy this one. I fully recommend it.

By the way, I’m really starting to love Orbit Books. I have not been disappointed once with the books I’ve gotten from them on Netgalley. They are one to watch!

Song for this book: The Call by Regina Spektor
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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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