The One without a Next One

Fabrice Colin, La Fin du Monde (French 2009)

This is a book I finished last year, and one, I’m afraid to say, that I probably shouldn’t have started at all, if I’d been reasonable.

Repeat after me: if you hope to sleep at night, you shall not read apocalyptic novels anymore. Especially about any nuclear disaster. The end. (of the world)

I have a much too vivid imagination when it comes to post/apocalyptic novels. It took me years to realize that, and yet I still fall for it. I know once and for all that The Road is not for me, but strangely I couldn’t resist this book, because it is YA and short. I probably hoped that it would be less gruesome than others, I guess.

Well, guess again. Yes, there are no detailed, lengthy description of the horrific consequences of a nuclear bomb, but it was already too much for me. Fabrice Colin is a very prolific YA and middle grade writer, with many sci-fi or fantasy collections, but this one is definitely on the dark side, and on the sadly realistic side.

I liked that the action is not focused on Europe or the US. I liked that the many different characters all over the world are not super-aware of the international reasons why some countries would decide to use their nuclear bombs, because let’s face it, who has a complete, clear and unbiased understanding of the situation between the US, China and Russia nowadays? I liked that this is not a one-time cataclysm, but a series of bad decisions where countries react to a nuclear attack by yet another more terrible nuclear attack. All too possible.

To say that I didn’t like the ending is an understatement. First, there were hints towards some supernatural reason for some characters surviving the whole ordeal (too different from the tone of the rest of the book) and the last paragraph cheesily indicates that there would be a sequel (in a totally clumsy way: “Will x survive? Will y find z again?”), whereas it seems that this sequel was never published. If this isn’t sloppy editing, I don’t know what that is.

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