The End of the Line

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This is a must read for fans of science fiction. Magic and demons abound. The fight of good and evil lock horns in this dystopian type tale. The story is told with glimpses into the past and then back to the present but right up to the end, it doesn’t give away who will win the battle of wills. There was something quite futuristic and chilling about this story.
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A good thriller. Don’t be put off by the “magic” content - I don’t think you need to be a “fantasy” fan to enjoy this even if it is stuffed full of demons and spells. I enjoyed it and would read further novels by this author.
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DNFed at 15%

I just couldn’t get into this at all. The writing didn’t work for me, it just couldn’t hold my attention. I did like the bits of the world that I managed to grasp onto though. The characters felt really flat and impossible to care about. 
I could have kept forcing myself through this, but I need to learn when to give up for my own reading health. 
Some reviews do state that this one gets better as you get further in, but I just couldn’t put myself through anymore of what I found quite boring writing. I do admire that the author was trying to do something a bit different with this, and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, it may still be yours.
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Mobsters capture a powerful demon and regret it pretty quick!

Sometimes you read a book and almost give up on it and then after a while you’re happy you never threw in that towel, The End of the Line, the debut novel of Gray Williams was one of those books. I found the first 25% both confusing and frustrating, but once the many character points of view and timelines became slightly clearer the book became more enjoyable. The action is set in an alternative version of our world where magic has been outlawed since the Second World War. However, when the plot starts moving we realise there is a new movement attempting to legalise magic for the first time in decades. Because I found The End of the Line muddled in the way in laid out the background circumstances of the story it took me a while to figure this basic premise out.

Amanda Coleman is the principal character, but the story is also seen from other points of views across several time periods, ranging from thirty years in the past to eighteen, twelve and eight months, all of which added to the confusion in the early stages as there were too many of them. In the present story Amanda is on a train in a remote part of Russia and is leading a small group who are responsible for keeping a very powerful demon captive and when they reach their location, killing it. Ultimately the story revolves around how Amanda and her sidekicks ended up in Russia with an evil demon named Reeves. To control the demon, they use powerful magical wards and a steel coffin to cage it, but Reeves has other ideas, which I’ll leave to your imagination.

Once I got my head around how the magic worked I found the world-building aspects of it cool and creative. Much of it was connected to ink and tattooing which is a key facet to any ‘Abra’ (magician) who sell their spells on the black-market. All spells have side effects, depending on how complex it is, for all but the most powerful magicians. Practiced Abras used ink on their skin; positioned on the body in exact locations, their geometry precise to counteract any side effects a particular spell might have. The ink also had to be carefully treated, blessed and administered for maximum effect. Some tattoos offered protection, others limited bad side effects or enhanced powers in certain areas. When blood is mixed into spells their power is increased substantially, but it brings other types of addictions and dangers, one of the main reasons Amanda despises Abras which is a key aspect of the plot. Perhaps the author had read the classic Peter Brett fantasy novel The Painted Man as tattoos worked in a similar way in his terrific series. 

Magic lurks in the underworlds and city mobs of which Amanda owes powerful gangster AK after a botched job. He believes he has an Abra powerful enough to summon and control a demon which will do his bidding and his killing. However, nobody has ever successfully summoned one of these creatures, but Abra Bridget is cocky enough to take on the job. This sequence of the story, told in flashback, was very entertaining and could have played a more prominent part in the story. This also connects to another equally powerful part of the tale; the fate of Amanda’s family, three children and husband as soon the demon begins to hunt everyone involved in his incarceration. 

The Russian train sequence featured a 90+ hour countdown and this unfortunately dragged as it became repetitive and I found myself wishing the story retreated to some of the earlier parts which led to the present predicament. Other than Amanda the story was also seen from the point of view of some of the other characters on the train including her long-term sidekick and enforcer Cabel; Skeebs, who is the younger brother of Danny, an imprisoned former member of Amanda’s gang who still holds influence over Skeebs. But perhaps the most interesting was Steph, the daughter of Bridget, herself a powerful Abra, but she is only fourteen years old and no match for the vicious Reeves. Steph was an outstanding character, neglected and forgotten by her Abra mother, but at the same time is brave enough to step up to the plate and take on Reeves.  

Amongst the flashbacks we are afforded a glimpse of Amanda’s family life; her husband Simon and three children Michaela, Emily and Darren and they play a key part in one of the novel’s most convincing story threads when things go horribly wrong. Much of this is revealed early on and then detailed more clearly in reverse.  Amanda is a feared figure in the underworld as she is also known as the ‘Abra Killer’ another intense backstory which harks back to her childhood. 

Interestingly The End of the Line is never seen from the point of view of the demon, that might have been an interesting angle as Reeves oozed menace and threat. Also, the author’s vision never connects the demons to those of The Bible or Christianity which was a clever idea. Gray Williams has created a fine supernatural world and now that he has set the foundation stones I would be interested to see whether he decides to revisit it for a second outing. It is certainly something worth considering, perhaps with a story which was slightly more linear with less jumps backwards and forwards over time periods.
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This fantasy thriller finds 5 characters trapped in a train carriage attempting to expel a demon. Three criminals, one Abra and the demon himself. The story jumps between characters and between past and present so you get a glimpse of how they all got here. 
For me this had a real dip about halfway through when it seemed to get really repetitive. There's only so many times you can all try and outsmart a demon and fail.
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A really enjoyable read. Would recommend this to my friends. I particularly enjoyed the magical element to the story, I had no idea what it was about so I was pleasantly surprised.
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It's unfair but this suffered in my mind in comparison to another paranormal crime novel (the excellent Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso). Consequently I was primed for things this book wasn't going to deliver. The concept is good and the plot is well thought out. I just wasn't a massive fan of the setting and the flashback story telling. I think the author has great style. This book just didn't work for me.
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This was an excellent read. Not something I would usually pick up but It had me hooked from the outset and throughout. Will be keeping an eye out for more in the future.
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This is a book set in a world were magic is real but illegal in the UK. In the background of the story you hear of a movement to legalise magic. Here the story focusses on a group of people brought together via a criminal gang to try and kill a demon that they summoned and lost control of before the demon can destroy them.

This all takes place over a train journey to a stone circle in Siberia and the story of how they got there is told via flashbacks from the characters viewpoints. It's a dark and intense story.

An enjoyable tale that has enough world building to have some sequels.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC
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I read this book in a day. Once I picked it up I couldn't stop. The storyline pulled me in deeper and deeper, my need to find out what would happen next driving me onwards.
The End Of The Line is a thrilling tale of magic and the depths people will go to in order to harness the raw power of it, even summoning a demon. But for Amanda Coleman magic is the root of all evil. Her father was a powerful Abra - the name given to powerful, magical practitioners- he used his power to get what he wanted, both for himself and others, by using Amanda and her mother's blood to enhance his abilities. But one day Amanda snapped and killed him, earning her the legendary title of Abra killer.
Amanda and her associates are con artists and they go on heists for their criminal boss, but when he dies and a younger newcomer takes over the gang the crew are hired to trap a demon and banish it in a remote part of Siberia. The cost of doing so will take everything they have, including the lives of their loved ones.
Well worth a read. Highly recommended.
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Amanda is a member of a criminal gang which has recruited a magician to summon a demon to employ in their crimes.  The trouble with demons is that they are difficult to control, and if they escape they wreak havoc.  the demon duly escapes his bonds and kills most of Amanda's family, leaving her remaining daughter to be taken hostage by Amada's boss while she is tasked to escort the recaptured demon up to the arctic where he can be despatched whence he came with the aid of more magic.  Much of the narrative takes place on board the train taking them to the arctic, interspersed with flashbacks.  There's not really enough action to make it really gripping, and the magic component is not brilliantly imagined.
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I normally steer clear of books that have magic as their central theme as they are not really my cup of tea, but I am really glad that I gave this one a go, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While it's central story is about a demon that needs to be banished by magical means, it's actually a character based story that is much more about the people and the journey that they take to get to their goal. 

The book starts with a bang and a bunch of characters who you know very little about. As they embark on a journey through wilderness Russia, you start to learn their back stories, motivations and much more of the version of the world that they inhabit. All of the characters go on a journey, and none feel short changed, you feel real empathy for them all by the end of the story even if some of them seem eminently unlikeable at the start. 

The author also pulls no punches, this is a brutal plot that reveals it's nasty side as the book goes on, things are hinted at early on but then it gets revealed that the reality of events that have been alluded to are far more horrific than you expect. The last third of the book is an absolute page turner, it's impossible to put it down as the revelations and the action move towards a brilliant conclusion. And the ending is impossible to predict. The way the author has dealt with the characters and situations up to that point leaves no certainties that this is going to be a 'happy' ending, and the ending and aftermath is well written and believable. 

In short, a white knuckle read that I would recommend to anyone who likes their novels a little on the darker side.
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I'm sorry to say that this book just wasn't for me. It's not a genre I particularly like so that might be why I didn't enjoy it. I was expecting something quite different so a little disappointed to discover it was a mixture of fantasy and magic.
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Initially, I thought it was going to be a thriller judging by the cover, but I was very shocked to find out it was actually fantasy. 
It was an interesting read for me, even though I think it lacks something. It was intriguing, but it was kind of messy.
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One star is a little unfair because I didn't read enough of the book to give it a proper rating. I read mostly physiological thrillers, but they are usually based in reality. I'm afraid the magic and fantasy just didn't work for me. The last magical fantasy books I read as an adult were the Harry Potter books which I loved, but they flowed with ease. I tried to read this on many an occasion, and had to re-read a couple of times since time had passed enough to forget. The characters did not grip me for a moment. I couldn't connect and therefore did not care enough to go on. I felt the scene was never sufficiently set to launch into this journey across Russia with dark magical forces to make any sense at all. I have finally admitted defeat. This is most definitely not my genre. If it's any consolation, I also could never get my head around the Game Of Thrones novels, which I suppose to some are vaguely similar in that they are full of fantasy and dragons and prophesies and magic. I suspect if this genre of books is to your liking, it may well be an entertaining novel.
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The End of the Line is a dark, gritty, supernatural thriller.  For me, the book got stronger as I went on, the final third being a tense, violent, psychological thriller with supernatural elements and some fascinating characters exploring the questions of how far would you go and what would you sacrifice for ideas and people who are important to you.  Bravo indeed.  This final third would not have been possible without some excellent world-building and character development in the previous part of the book.  However, I did find that the pace was uneven and although there was some great atmospheric description, a tighter edit could have made the first part of the book leaner and more enjoyable.  The plot devices of start in the present and then fill in the back story with flashbacks and tell the story from the perspectives of multiple characters are both generally used well here but there were scenes/characters that could have been left out or reduced without detracting from the story and lessening the possibility of confusion.  Overall good, worth a look if you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind violence and profanity but could have been even better in my opinion.
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An intriguing concept but the constant flashbacks to different time periods made it very difficult to follow. The characters were well matched but didn't feel fully fleshed out - the lack of depth made it hard to relate to or connect with any of them, which in turn made me less invested in the outcome.
There was so much potential in this book, I'd be very interested to see what the author gives us next.
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To say I struggled with this was an understatement.  From the first page I was confused,  has this been translated from another language??

The synopsis was misleading, to say it was based in London was completely wrong unless you count the 10 minutes in the book it was!

The characters weren't developed enough as you only having flashbacks of their past and the Demon wasnt strong enough in character.

The writing was 'ok' but just not in depth enough for me.

Thanks to netgalley and Canelo for the ARC.
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Ugh, I made it.  I marked it as DNF for a few days but it broke my heart to not be able to push through it.  So I read some stuff I liked and then came back to just put up with it and marathon read it tonight to get it off my list. 

It took me 10 minutes reading the first page and I was thoroughly lost.  This story uses the technique of starting in the present day and then giving you flashbacks to fill in the history as to how we ended up here.  It also tells the story from multiple perspectives but that's also easily followable.  These techniques were not a problem in and of themselves, but the execution was horrendous.  So much history was missing at the start that you instantaneously hated every single character and I couldn't recover from that.  Every character is a selfish criminal with very foul language.  It's hard to want anything positive for any of them involved.

The plot synopsis is also grossly misleading - this is set in London for about 10 minutes of reading and in fact the overwhelming majority of the time we're confined to a cargo carriage on a train rolling through Siberia to an Abra version of Stonehenge.  The story blurb lures you in with the idea of magic in the back alleys of London but it just isn't that at all.  I love stories of magic mixed in with reality and the ability for writers to almost convince you magic is real.  This was not one of those stories.

The idea was there - the book that should have been written based on the synopsis would be amazing.  What this turned out to be was not it.  You need at least one positive character - one person you want to root for to make it worth devoting your time to read about their struggle.  There wasn't a single one for me.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this - I'm so sorry this just didn't measure up to what I had hoped for it.
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This one was really interesting to me. As a big fantasy reader, I was quite shocked that this book was fantasy, considering the 'thriller-esque' cover design. Simply looking at the cover, I'd think that this was a serial killer thriller set in some snowy wilderness. Having now read the book, I think it would portray the story a lot better with some sort of demon figure/face included in the image. But anyway, back to the book review.

I found this book very intriguing. It throws you in this chaotic, dark and desperate suspense almost immediately, and you sort of have to take a moment and be like 'okay, this is where I'm at'. I like the chronology, the way we flit between different protagonists and different times. It could have easily been quite confusing but I think it was done really well. I do think the intense suspense of the whole story is so heightened from the very beginning, that it doesn't allow for much of a climax. It keeps the same tense level throughout the entire book, so the ending just doesn't feel as impactful as it should. 

I do think this is written and edited very well, however I need some moments of calm to juxtapose the moments of suspense. I did feel scared through some of it, which I enjoyed, but it sort of feels like the middle of a story. It's almost as if there's no beginning, no introduction for the reader; this does produce the interesting idea of throwing you straight into the mayhem, but it's almost too much too soon, and not something that I would want to read often. 

Overall I'd give this 3/5 stars.
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