By Emily Kallas
Fans of V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue will be understandably drawn to The God of Endings by Jaqueline Holland.
At a time when superstition and tuberculosis were equally rampant, Anna was surrounded by death as a child. Then her father, who was the town’s gravestone carver, fell ill and died. As she and her brother started failing health, Anna sent for help from her distant grandfather. While he couldn’t save her brother, the grandfather made it just in time to save Anna, or so she had believed at the time. But he had other ambitions for her.
And so she died and was reborn as Anya, now immortal and with a dietary restriction for blood. “You will bloom, but never decay”, her grandfather told her, shortly before sending her away to his old homeland, a place filled with even more superstition and even larger shadows. This was just the beginning of her journey.
Spanning and masterfully interweaving more than 150 years, The God of Endings shows us how Anna became Anya who became Collette, from the past to her present day in 1984. Long gone are her days of childhood. Collette, now an adult, runs a French art school, teaching preschoolers in her grandfather’s former home. The place where she became a vampire.
This story is not one of sensationalized vampiric lore. In The God of Endings, the vampiric way of life proves to be an extension of the Old Slavic tales made real - companion to Czernobog and the Saker, amongst others who lurk in the runes and shadows.
Flowing like the river of time and memory itself, The God of Endings is a novel that ambles along while still retaining tension at its foundation. With stunning prose, from the first paragraph to the last, I just wanted to slow the world down, so I could take everything in.
It is both impressive and bittersweet that this is Jaqueline Holland’s debut novel, as I am already hungry for her next book.
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