Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Year Of Publication: 1st May 2017
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Pages: 336 ( Hardcover)
My rating: 5/5
“Every time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is…”
It is the summer of 1727 and nine boys and three men from Hirta (an island with no trees) find themselves marooned on the “Warrior Stac” (a sea stac in the St Kilda archipelago ;the highest sea stac in Scotland and the British Isles. Originally known as “Stac an Armin”).
They believe the world has ended – the only explanation they can offer for being abandoned with no one to come and fetch them.
Hysteria gradually begins to set in and everyone is struggling to survive in the cold, harsh climate. They become delusional and start hallucinating.Only one boy ensures their sanity in this dire and strenuous time – Quill (short for Quilliam) spins stories out of thin air; doing his best to keep the small group preoccupied so they can take their minds off their distressing circumstances.
“After the world ends,only music and love will survive”
He tries to restore some semblance of “normality” to their lives but, Quill too is human and soon things begin to get out of hand…
He is haunted by the future and whether he’ll be able to see his “one true love” – Murdina Galloway , again.
“…Dark-haired with winter pale skin, she bore no resemblance to the women on Hirta. Their eyes were screwed into creases from peering into rain and mist or the sea’s brightness.Hers were huge and round and peat-dark.Her hands were not rough or crab crooked,but smooth and pale and long-fingered. She gestured with them. They talked,those hands-as she did”
In trying to keep everybody else’s demons at bay he puts on a strong front and struggles to keep his fears hidden.
“Quilliam, who had balanced fearlessly on many a cliff-ledge, suddenly knew what it was to be falling through fathom upon fathom of fear……A visiting boatman had once confided to him that drowning was not so very terrible.The secret was to stop struggling for air and take a single deep-water breath.”
Then follows an account of survival, hope and despair that shows us the true meaning behind “human resilience” and how we can be the best of ourselves in the worst of times.
I really loved reading this book.
My favourite character had to be Murdo. His quest to find love was equal parts hilarious and equal parts frustrating.
“Sensing how much love had brightened Quilliam’s life,Murdo had wanted very much to follow his example,and would have, if it hadn’t been for the entire stock of girls and women getting taken up to Heaven while he was away across the water…”
This is another example of what goes inside Murdo’s head (one of the hilarious exchanges he has with Quill):
“So if you love a lassie,does that make her your sweetheart? D’you not have to – you know – have prospects?”
“Nah, man.Once you have her inside your head,that’s like you’ve put a wall round a cow,so the cow canna wander off.She’s your cow ‘cos you built a wall round her”
(Well done Murdo. Well done.
Can’t blame you really. In the old days women were lucky enough to be even considered worth cows. So you get a +5 on that analogy. -_- )
Geraldine McCaughrean has done an excellent job describing the harsh realities of life experienced by the people living on Hirta (the “St. Kildians”) and how the small group of fowlers had to struggle everyday for their survival on the “warrior stac”.
This book tells us that with the power of imagination and a strong will we can overcome any obstacles set in our path.It did a superb job of depicting how people get consumed with the need for power ,becoming greedy and selfish and failing to see reason.
My favourite part in the book was that plot twist about one of the characters which caught me off guard.I loved seeing that play out ( can’t divulge too much information here. To find out what I’m talking about you need to read this book a.s.a.p.)
Luckily for you “Where The World Ends” comes out on the : 1st of May 2017
So mark your calendars and let me know what you thought after you’re done reading it and whether you learned some really cool facts about some of the (extinct) birds mentioned in the story like I did.
If you live in Pakistan you can purchase this book from http://www.libertybooks.com
*I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review