Review: The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland

The God of Endings is a 2023 release book about a vampire. It covers almost two centuries of her life.

Reading from the Beginning

Today, #Skeleanor reads from The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland. This is a #horrorbook I’m reviewing shortly. #booktok #bookstagram

♬ original sound – Skeleanor
Video Review

Please note: Most of this is spoiler-free. There is a warning near the end before the any spoilers. The spoiler is about the ending of the book and is the last thing shared in the video. I also swear in that section of the video.

Written Review: The God of Endings

I am very conflicted about this book. The writer has a lovely, fluid writing style that pulls you in and carries you along. That’s one of the best aspects of this work.

Then, there are the subjective factors to consider. While the writing style is nice, the material is dense. How you respond to it is a matter of taste. It can feel a bit overdone at times, and it does make the narrative feel slow because of the volume of set up and description.

Stories about eternal beings have the disadvantage of sometimes covering a lot of time, and this is one of those stories that covers multiple decades. Some earlier events do influence the character in the end, but most of the settings are disposable, by which I mean they have little impact on the story and, with a few exceptions, the events could occur almost anywhere. The losses do explain her loneliness, which is a key motivating factor for her decisions. 

My biggest criticisms center on two things. One is a language choice, referring to people with “chocolate” skin. It’s 2023, and we should be beyond writers using food terms to describe Black people. Maybe 15, 20 years ago it wasn’t as widely known that this is offensive, but there’s been plenty of commentary about this for years now, and between the author and editor, this never should have happened in a 2023 release. Frankly, given the writer’s dense style, it’s also awfully simplistic. They mainly describe the skin of characters who aren’t white (with the exception of the sallow skin reference) giving us the presumptive “white characters are the norm” mentality at work here.

The other big criticism I have has to do with the ending. Here’s the non-spoiler opinion: I hated it with a passion. It took a book hovering between 3.5-4 stars down to 2 stars.

Here’s a slight spoiler opinion. The fact the protagonist had such strong views about what happened to her, and then she did what she did in the end … I found that hard to believe and I despised her for it. She learned nothing. And frankly, there’s always a way to kill something, even something eternal. She had options. She chose to carry on and blame others for being unhappy and then to inflict that on a child after her multiple lifetimes of resentment? WTAF? No. Characters don’t have to be likable. But this is pure hypocrisy. There was no shift in the character’s thinking about her own experience. And although there’s an attempt to somehow justify this as a better outcome for the boy, it was just plain wrong. There are always options in the scenario created. She went straight to nuclear after almost two centuries of resenting everyone involved in her turning. Obviously, I didn’t buy it as fitting the character or story. Your mileage may vary.

A personal note: I am a slow reader. This was a long 480-page review. Since the ending did not work for me, my reaction to it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I spent a lot of hours reading this book, only to feel completely let down.

Sandra Ruttan

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