Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Beginning at the End Blog Tour

Today I'm thrilled to share mwith you my thoughts on Mike Chen's new release A Beginning at the End.  Thanks Harlequin Trade Publishing for the opportunity to be a part of the Winter 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour.

TITLE: A Beginning at the End
AUTHOR: Mike Chen
PUBLISHING DATE: January 14, 2020


How do you start over after the end of the world? 

Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs. 

In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again. 

Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.

Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going. 

MY THOUGHTS:  When I started this book, I had no idea how much I would end up loving it. While it is classified as a science fiction/post apocalyptic tale, it's actually that and so much more.  Because I found A Beginning at the End to have a lot of heart.

The book is set in the future, six years after a global flu pandemic wiped out much of the world.  The nation is now divided between cities trying to rebuild and wastelands where those who don't trust the government and want to live by their own rules can be found.  Chen's story takes us to San Francisco where we meet our cast of individual characters and during the course of the novel, we see how much their lives are destined to intersect.

We have Moira, who before the collapse was a pop sensation known as Mojo.  She has lived in hiding for the past six years in order to stay off her father's radar, as he was determined to make her a star whether she wanted to or not.  Then we have Krista.  Krista is an event planner who has been hired to plan Moira's wedding to Frank.  Krista desperately needs the money because in this world, you have to make payments and buy licenses in order to stay in the rebuilding cities.  And finally we have Rob and his daughter Sunny.  Rob works for an internet news agency, which has seen it's better days since the intranet has basically collapsed, and his wife Elena died during the initial wave of the pandemic - something he has yet to share with his seven year old daughter.

So pretty much the new government system is obsessed with familial ties.  It believes that the only way for the future to have any hope is with the children, so they overstep their bounds and encourage things like procreation, adoption of the many orphaned by the pandemic, and making sure the existing children are adjusting. Rob has been closed off  and going through the motions of life but when the government starts to question his ability to raise his daughter, he ends up being helped by a ragtag cast of people.

A Beginning at the End is primarily a character driven tale.  Sure, the reader learns a lot about the fall of civilization as we currently know it, and learns of all the scientific advancements and technological breakdowns that have lead San Francisco to its current state.  But first and foremost, it's a story about people and what they do to survive and it does a find job at displaying that family isn't just the people you are biologically related to.

It was hard to have a favorite character throughout this book as I really enjoyed them all.  If I had to pin one down though it would be Krista. I loved he cynical attitude and really enjoyed seeing her open her heart to Sunny.  I also enjoyed the scenes with Moira/Mojo and Rob as it was clear they made a connection early on, despite her engagement to Frank.

If you love science fiction, or even if you are like me and are still dipping your feet into the genre, A Beginning at the End is definitely a book you should consider picking up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek culture websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist), covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets, and ghostwritten corporate articles appearing in Forbes, Buzzfeed, Enterpreneur, and more. A member of SFWA and the Codex Writers group, Mike calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, where he can often be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals.


  1. This book has been getting phenomenal reviews from all of my favorite bloggers. I guess that means I should pick it up.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I really think you'd like it. It was so well done I'm glad it's getting lots of praise.

  2. Wow, you've really tempted me with this review! I didn't really have this on my radar, but now I need to reconsider!

    1. While I was reading it I kept thinking why hadn't I seen it on your blog :)

  3. fabulous review. you have convinced me. i have been reading more scifi in the last year and really enjoying it
    sherry @ fundinmental

  4. This sounds really good and like something I would enjoy. Will add to my wishlist.
    Lynn :D

  5. You have convinced me. I need this book! I am off to see if I can put my name on the list at my library.

  6. Sounds like you really enjoyed this one! :)

    1. I really did. Maybe I needed a romance break.

  7. This one sounds a bit different. I might add this to wishlist.

    1. You might find it a tad slow though as there isn't a lot of action.

  8. I liked his previous book, and I'm always up for a post-apocalyptic story, so I should check this one out!