If you’re me, there’s no way to read this book without thinking about Harry Potter. And I think that’s the easiest sell! What if Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, didn’t actually go through with killing Voldemort? What if the prophecy was wrong, and Ron was the one to kill the Dark Lord? A Hero at the End of the World is the absurd and hilarious followup to that situation.
Claiborne clearly delights in fantasy, and her parody of a wizarding Britain was the perfect blend of skewered detail. Her world makes sense, even though the bad guy is named Duff Slan, and the dark magic is called Zaubernegativum. It’s all ridiculous, and I loved it.
If you’ve read enough middle grade or YA fantasy to know the familiar tropes and plots, you will probably enjoy A Hero at the End of the World. It is a great palate cleanser before diving back into the familiar world of heroes, magic, and the end of the world.
Seventeen-year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: According to prophecy, it’s his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain for as long as he can remember. Although he’s just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan’s big moment comes and his best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, Ewan’s bright future crumbles before his eyes.
Five years later, while Ewan is living at home and working a minimum-wage job, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government’s Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. A routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult…one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.
A deftly plotted, hysterically funny journey through magical London and beyond, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry takedown of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy.
Release Date: November 2014