A skilful and ambitious merging of the epic fantasy and dystopian fiction genres.
As you will no doubt have already ascertained from the above sentence in bold, I enjoyed Matt Bone's Endless a great deal. I found it to be a skilful and ambitious merging of the epic fantasy and dystopian fiction genres by an author whose writing talents matched their impressive imagination.
Matt Bone, who has degrees in both Astrophysics and English Literature, writes out of Bath, and as Endless (his debut novel and the first in the Crescent fantasy series) begins we are introduced to John Bridgeman, a man forced to live a solitary existence following an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth. The streets of the UK are desolate and unchanging, yet he cannot escape the feeling of being hunted. Are his debilitating headaches and glimpses of an impossible living light symptoms of what happened to everyone else? Or are they an indicator of what the universe has in mind for him? And then the location switches to a world named Crescent, where two women flee their subjugated city, chased by an agent of the sinister half-man. Crescent shudders with the threat of a monstrous war... The Endless have returned. And John's fate is entwined with that of Crescent: a world teeming with life both human and supernatural, where Spirit storms rack the skies and rumours of a terrible army in the North have the great nations in unrest….
I had no idea what to expect from Endless and I found the journey - first through a post-apocalyptic world reminiscent of Stephen King's The Stand (although now I write this review I realise that Richard Matheson's I Am Legend would be an even better comparison), and then into a fully realised and finely detailed fantasy world - amongst the most rewarding I have experienced this year.
Bone, as I have already mentioned, has an impressive imagination and through his writing he is able to produce characters that come to life and locations that are full of energy. And around and supporting this is a fascinating story arc of subtle complexity and a narrative that is both fluent and precise.
So why should you read Endless? Well, it brings together the most interesting aspects of books like I Am Legend and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (although John is a lot more likeable than Mr. C.,not unsurprisingly, after all, who isn't?) while still allowing the author to stamp their own mark on a story as inventive as it was involving. If that doesn't make you want to read it (and it should) then I am pleased to say that there are others who are just as positive towards the books as I: "You'll be suitably rewarded with some quite brilliant writing," enthuse the British Fantasy Society, and "There are few really good epic adventures released these days, and [Crescent] seems poised to become one," adds The SF Site. Both these sources know their fantasy, and they are correct on both counts.
Matt Bone is a new and talented author whose next work I am already looking forward to. In Endless he has written a wonderful fantasy/dystopia that was a joy to read, and I highly recommend you read it too.
Review by Floresiensis
9/10 from 1 reviews
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