Open Mic Night at the End of the World, by Jessica Meyers
Description: (from Goodreads)
The end of the world was supposed to come with zombies attached, or maybe a flying meteor, but Dell finds that the reality is much less exciting—and infinitely lonelier.
In the wake of a virus that decimated the population, the place she calls home has turned into a ghost town. She hasn’t talked to anyone but her cat in weeks and finding an unopened bag of chips while looting the local grocery store is the only thrill she’s feeling.
There must be other survivors out there. But finding them means leaving behind her carefully organized stock of canned goods and burgeoning gnome collection.
Expected publication: October 17th 2017.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the author. Some things might change in the final copy.
Adverstised on twitter as “post-apocalyptic cat lady fiction“, I was sold immediately and took the chance on reading this early. I didn’t have any big expectations appart from having a nice time. Spoiler alert: I did have a nice time!
We first meet Dell in her sad wandering around her desert city, after everyone has died or disappeared. She thinks about what might be happening elsewhere, who might be dead or alive, struggling to find food, and being rightfully anxious about her situation.
“There could be an entire resistance led by John Connor, for all I know. They didn’t invite me.”
I liked that she tried to find beauty in the things that are still there, and I found that so beautiful, almost bittersweet at times. Still, you can feel her slipping away slightly, quoting and singing and dancing around, letting go of reality at times.
The suicidal ideations the author mentions in the content warnings are very present, more than I had expected, but I “liked” that it was there. While I do not read that much post-apo, I feel like the psychological effect it can have on people is often overlooked, so it was really interesting that this story took a look at this.
This novella swings between peaceful moments and very stressful ones. At first it’s really from Dell’s point of view, and I was able to distance myself and keep a cool eye on the situation. But then there were a time or two where I was frozen to the bones, worried this would turn nightmarish, being as frighened as her (the fact that I seem to be as anxious as her of the dark might explain it) but it never goes too far, this is not a horror story. Dell also manages to pull out some very thoughtful thoughts and made me smile and laugh on several occasions, the kind of sentences you highlight to quote on you review or re-read later!
“All these animals used to belong to people who called them names like Lucky. Damn right, your dog was lucky. He outlived you.”
I also really liked John. When we meet him, I was afraid he’d turn up the kind of man I don’t like but he instead was such a sweat soft person who loves his garden, who’s suffering just as Dell is, who is not afraid to talk about his emotions… that I could only like him.
I also love that this story does not involve any romance, the relationship between the characters is really deep at times, really tender, but never crosses the romance line. Which is a big plus for me since I often find that stories take the romance route too fast or easily, when there are way more interesting relationships a man and a woman can have.
The pace is very slow, it’s mostly atmospheric and a lot of the thought process of being a “survivor” after the end of the world caused by a plague. I really like this kind of pace, and it still managed to make my heart race even without action scenes.
Do I have any regative thoughts? Well, very mild ones!
There was not enough of the cat in my opinion, I would have loved to see more of him! Still loved that he was there though ❤
I also have to admit I do not 100% understand the title, though the main character does like to sing.
“How can a cat get jealous?”
“Obviously you’ve never had one.”
There are a lot more things that I loved about this novella, but I feel I already have said a lot and I should let everyone discover those things for themselves. It’s not too long nor too short, very cheap on all ebook supplier: So if you’re intrigued in a fresh look on a post-apocalyptic story, I’d greatly recommend reading this!
Content warnings (written right after the table of content of the book): mentions of death, mentions of suicidal ideation, brief scene of animal related violence: character interrups fighting dogs and is bitten, runs away.