Home > Rayne > Book Review: The End In All Beginnings by John F. D. Taff

Book Review: The End In All Beginnings by John F. D. Taff

December 11th, 2014

51DbccRXT+LOoo, what’s that?

So a while back, M read a really good book with a few tiny quirks, and the author asked his readers for criticism.

I don’t think you’re understanding the magnitude of my statement, here. In an era where authors are accusing critical reviewers of bullying, the author asked for criticism. So M responded. The author was grateful! And the rest, as they say, is history.

Then this book came out, and it got way more press than I think anyone was expecting, and then we all realized it was totally worth it. Totally. So I planned to review it, and then M said I had to review it because John’s having a contest, and the winner will be written into his next story.

I could die happy as a character in one of John’s books. ~nods~

Anywho…my review:

Titles

  • What Becomes God
  • Object Permanence
  • Love in the Time of Zombies
  • The Long, Long Breakdown
  • Visitation

What’s it about?

What Becomes God – A boy with a dying friend.

Object Permanence – Memories.

Love in the Time of Zombies – A love affair after the zombie apocalypse.

The Long, Long Breakdown – The world after the ice caps melt.

Visitation – The relationship between the living and the dead.

How is it?

Rayne’s Rating:
Pros: Cons:
realistic characters
plausible situations
makes you really uncomfortable
kicks you in the feels
If you don’t fall in love
with John’s writing, I’ll eat
my hat. That’s gotta be
some sort of “pro”, right?
not long enough
No, really, John. I need more.

I have a love affair with John Taff’s writing style. He lulls you into comfortable conversation. You know you shouldn’t fall for it. That around the next page, he’s going to step all over your comfort until you aren’t sure how you should feel. But you can’t help it.

He has this way of holding back his biggest secrets until he wants you to know them. You spend the whole story wondering what’s the point, and then it happens, and you’re like, “OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!”

John is placed in the horror genre, but his stories aren’t ever what you expect to find in a horror novel. There’s monsters, and ghosts, but very little blood and gore. I think M said it best, when we were discussing a better label for John’s type of stories, and he said, “He makes you uncomfortable.”

Really, really uncomfortable. And not in the “oh, that is disgusting,” way. In the way that socks you right in the feels like a gut punch that knocks the wind out of you for what seems like days, but is really only a few minutes.

Which brings me to the first story in this book.

What Becomes God – The best part of this story is how much of John is in it. Before reading the author’s note, I felt John in Brian at almost every turn. It’s in the emotion behind the writing, and the way he captures details you wouldn’t know about unless you were there. The realism is phenomenal. It makes the end almost plausible.

Object Permanence – “Object permanence” is what they call the way babies experience the world. Show something to a baby, and as long as it stays within their field of vision, it’s real. Remove the object, and to the baby, it no longer exists. Think about what would happen if two adults with opposing views had an ability based on that concept. Object Permanence is just as messed up as you can imagine.

Love in the Time of Zombies – The love in this story is disgusting. It makes you wonder what’s wrong with the fella doing the loving. You spend your entire read going, “What the hell?” And then, WHAM. It ends, and you “get” it. The end is shocking, and once again reminds you what John’s really good at: making you uncomfortable.

The Long, Long Breakdown – This one’s a little…weird. Instead of freaking you out with the thrilling twists and creepy love stories, it touches on some intense emotions with which anyone can empathize; hits a nerve in a place we all feel. And all the while, you’re just strumming along like, “Yeah, this is normal,” because you could totally see parent and child behaving this way after the polar ice caps melt. The “normal” interactions almost make you forget how terrifying is their situation.

Visitation – Oh, Visitation. I want to say so much about this one that I can’t say because it’ll ruin the end. This one is probably my favorite. There’s extraterrestrials, and ghosts, and space ghosts, and AI, and I’m a total geek with an obsession for the paranormal, so I was sucked right in. But the end makes it. Totally.

Would I read it again? Hell yeah. In fact, if I didn’t have so many books that require my attention, I’d read it again right now. I was tempted as I was going through the book for this review, and even reread a few of my favorite passages. It’s that good.

Where’d ya get it?

We actually bought two copies of this book. Yes. Two.

A while back, M was looking around for new horror authors to read (he’s been on a REALLY long horror kick, of late, that extends to even our video games), and stumbled upon John Taff. M read one of his books, insisted I read it, and since, we’ve become friends with John via the Intarwebz. He rocks hardcore. So when M said, “I am not touching this signed copy of The End In All Beginnings and neither are you. We’ll read the book when the Kindle version comes out.” I was like, “Duh!” I mean, who would want to accidentally spill coffee on a signed copy of a friend’s book? Plus, Kindle reading is so much easier. And so, we bought two copies.

You can pick up the Kindle version for $3.99 on Amazon.com, unless you’re a subscriber to Kindle Unlimited, and then you can get it for free.

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  1. RynJ21
    January 4th, 2015 at 18:46 | #1

    Sweet! I’m a big lover of fantasy and sci-fi, but I’m trying to branch out. Stories that make me uncomfortable?! Yes please!

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