At The World's End by Catherine Fisher
From the author who brought readers The Ghost Box comes a tale about a frozen world destroyed by a poisonous star, a sealed shelter and the choice each of the inhabitants face. The shelter called the Store is home to a small bunch of people who have not left for nine years since the star did its terrible work. Caz and Will live in fear of Marky, he's the one who controls what they do and as Caz is trying to make it so her and Will can look out of a window, Marky might just cut their food rations - or worse. Everyone is afraid of Marky as he is the leader and makes all the decisions about what they do in the abandoned department store. This time Marky has ordered another "sacrifice" meeting even though two have already been killed to make the rations go further.
Marky sets up the sacrifice by placing their names in a vase and the one who gets one with a cross on it is sent out into the wilderness. This is supposed to be seen as fair, but they know better as they are not in their clique. It could be them at any time and it is never Marky and his cronies. Marky believes that outside means danger and death as the air is polluted, packs of animals roam wild and no one has ever survived. Caz however thinks Marky is sadly deluded as she thinks she has seen a transport vessel outside and some people hanging around, so she is ready to leave the place she has seen as a prison for the past few years to brave the harshness of outside, hoping she will find other people out there. Plus, she doesn't have to take orders from Marky anymore if she and Will leave. So for her that's a bonus.
Caz and Will face untold dangers, yet manage to evade them with use of their wit and intelligence as this is a different world where an apocalypse has happened and the people who are trying to survive it are in two different places, the Store where there is shelter, and food is limited, or the outside which Caz and Will are told is a place where they will surely die if they get chosen.
Not everything is as certain as Marky and the Twins believe. If dogs are out there then there could be clean running water and a food source as well. Or maybe Caz is mistaken and there really is nothing out there and everyone around them has died of starvation. Will tries to act like the voice of reason as he is a practical kid, but Caz tries to use her intuition when it comes to times like these, and he sees that she isn't always right.
At The World's End has a good set of characters who would not feel out of place in a disaster movie as there are always some people in a group who make the choices and who aren't even elected to do so. Marky and his cronies are cruel and care nothing for the people they supposedly rule and don't deserve to be safe, or that is how the reader might feel. Caz and Will are the ones who deserve to live, but the real point of the story is seeing what happens to them, as it's their journey right up until the very end.
This At The World's End book review was written by Sandra Scholes
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