Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

I’d not heard of We Begin at the End before I bought it. I bought it because it was £2 on Amazon. But wow – it blew me away and it may well be the best £2 I’ve ever spent on anything ever. Read on to find out why.

We Begin At The End
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We Begin at the End tells the tale of Walk, Duchess, Vincent, Robin, Star and a whole cast of incredible characters from a backwater town in America. It tells two tales: that of a murder in the town and who the killer might be and that of Duchess and Robin, two children who deserve so much more from life.

Plot – 4.5/5

We Begin at the End tells the tale of Walk’s attempt to solve a murder in the town after Vincent King returns from 30 years in jail for a questionable crime. Duchess and Robin are scraping through life with their less than role-model mother too. It’s difficult to try and explain as it’s more of an incredible journey you have to experience.

The plot itself isn’t fast-paced but the way it is written and the incredible journey that these two young children go on, intertwined with the murder case and court proceedings make for a book that you simply cannot put down. The book also builds up a simply phenomenal finale

Chris Whitaker’s way of writing is utterly phenomenal – at times almost poetic. The way he describes scenery is often metaphorical and the bluntness with how he delivers emotions and interactions between characters is simply brilliant. To say I want to read more from Whitaker would be an understatement.

Characters – 5/5

Duchess Radley, possibly the main character throughout this novel is quite possibly one of my favourite characters I’ve ever read. She’s a thirteen-year-old girl who considers herself an outlaw – she’s had to learn to grow up by herself with a distant mother and this has made her harsh and cold towards others. But on the very same surface from which she expells hate and anger, she shows such devoting and undeniable love for her brother. She cares for her brother Robin and will care for Robin in such a stubborn and resilient way until the very large page with every decision she makes being for the bettering of his future. She will make you laugh and she will make you cry – Duchess Day Radley is an utterly brilliant young protagonist.

Alongside Duchess, we have Walk, arguably the other main character in the novel who’s a kind, genuine soul who Whitaker writes as the slightly broken paternal figure of the two children despite having no blood relation to them. He’s smart, determined and loyal to the core.

As well as these two brilliantly written characters, nearly everybody in this book is really believable, they take things into consideration differently, they react to situations differently and they all add to the story in a genuinely useful way.

Summary – 5/5

I loved We Begin at the End. I loved the story, I loved the characters and I loved the wave of emotions it made you feel. Chris Whitaker has written a simply stunning book here that incorporates the best of all ingredients of making a really good novel – it’s believable, enjoyable, emotional and written in a way that makes you truly appreciate the English language.

If you’ve not read We Begin at the End, I genuinely can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t. If you like words, read this. I mean, even if you don’t like words, I implore you to pick this book up and read it.

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