Cover Image: The End of the Line

The End of the Line

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Member Reviews

This was a very good book but I struggled with all of the jumping back and forth. 

I don't know why authors have to jump around so much.  Just write in order - of if you do need to mention things that happened in the past, fine - just don't do it too often. 

It really ruined the book for me.
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This book was difficult for me. I couldn't get into the story and it took me a long time to get through. I don't know what it was or if it just wasn't the book for me, but I struggled. It did seem to pick up towards the end though.
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Sadly not a book for me, I found the back and forth timelines a little too much and a bit confusing at times.
The story just didn't hold my attention and I couldn't connect with any of the characters.
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I have problems with books which keep jumping backwards and forwards in time. There were some very good concepts but not set in such a way that made for a good read.
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A phenomenal new voice in urban British fantasy!

The End of the Line is a gripping and tautly told tale that hold son to its secrets tightly! Amanda Coleman is an not entirely unsympathetic protagonist, twisted since a young age by her father who has given her a jaundiced view of magic and the people that wield it. The back story trickles out slowly, between chapters where we find Amanda and her crew on a train to nowhere, struggling to hold themselves together and a demon captive and out of their thoughts, but the clock is running out and a Russian winter is waiting outside the doors.

I loved it and am hoping for more!
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The story line was good, but there was far to much back and forth timelines, would have been better starting at beginning then fast forwarding to next major life event, I’m not against short recalls but this is a personal dislike of  the back & forth in storylines.
The characters I didn’t feel I understood with the exception of Amanda, probably just not the right author fir me
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I have been wondering when someone would write a book based around this particular natural and scientific phenomenon. Now it's here and every bit as terrifying as it should be. I have a few personal qualms but nothing major. The book itself reads as well as any Chrichton novel and has the science to back it up. If you were a fan of The Hot Zone and similar books then i highly recommend this.
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Loved this book. Great characters, easy read, uplifting, funny, romantic and charming. A really nice story that is the perfect sumer read.
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This was a full-on black and white Gothic horror story about magic and evil.  It demanded that you turn the page just to see what happened next,  and took a long hard look at a conflicted magic user and mum who did terrible things for the best of reasons.  In this world, magic is everywhere - like the internet - and a goodly slice of the population can use it,  some much better than others.  It was difficult not to like the central character,  or at least to feel sorry for her,  and understand why she was driven from one crisis to the next.  I normally dislike storied with flashbacks,  especially those with chapters headed "Two years Ago..." but in this case Gray Williams nails it perfectly.  Each interlude highlights the reasons why a character acts in the way that they do - even if they're reacting in ways that you might not think reasonable.  (Difficult to explain without spoilers).  The author is 'new' - in terms of 'writing for 10 years and more,  but only just published' new,  but works in publishing,  so (presumably) has plenty of access to good books as learning material.  I'll look forward to more from this individual!  Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read the story in exchange for an honest review,  and to the author -
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When I start reading a new book I am excited and anxious at the same time. It wasn’t any different when I started reading The End of the Line. 

To put it simply the book is about magic. It is set in a world very much like ours but in this one magic exists. It is outlawed though. People who can do magic are called Abras. Amanda Coleman’s father was one of them. Amanda hates magic and does everything she can to keep it out of her life. But she has to deal with it and even magic herself to stop the demon an Abra raised. Amanda and her team have to travel to Siberia to banish it. But things are never that easy, are they?

The story is told from the teammembers points of view. They tell what happens in the present - during the travel to Siberia - and what lead to them being there. It was confusing from time to time but after I got the hang of it, it was okay. I liked that the story is told from different points of view because they all perceive things differently. As the story goes on their pasts are revealed slowly. 

The main charaters are Amanda, Steph, Caleb and Skeebs and the demon called Reeves. When there are this many characters getting their own chapters the story always becomes that much complicated. Gray Williams gave them their own stories, their own complicated relationships with each other and that made the book so much more depth. This is what I liked about the characters, their stories. They felt like real people.

Thank you to NetGalley, to Canelo and Grax Williams for my copy.
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Well.....this was a strange one and no mistake!

The basic gist is the transportation of a demon to Siberia-ish so a ceremony can be carried out to send it back where it came from (I think it only works on demons, so don't be crating up your bothersome neighbours....unless you absolutely must).

The action takes place in a world where magic is a thing and bad guys use it for their own ends, much as you'd expect. It starts with a fairly startling RTA and fails to cheer up from there! The story is told from the point of view of the remaining transporters in turn, focusing on Amanda, whose father was a magic user and family abuser. He became addicted to blood magic which, of course, is more powerful when you use someone else's nice, fresh blood! Preferably unwillingly given.

I won't give away too much about the story, except to say that the demon is the standard mind control, body-jumping type so beloved of horror writers. This is not necessarily a criticism - the making tea, hugging puppies demons are few and far between and not terribly frightening - unless you're allergic to tea, or puppies, or (horror of horrors!) both!

I would semi-agree with the 'Lock, Stock/American Gods' comparison on the author's blog, though this implies more humour than there is - if you're laughing your ass off reading this you should probably consider psychiatric help!

Don't get me wrong, I read it in one sitting, without breaks for sleep! The author gives it a very effective feeling of claustrophobia. You really feel like you're trapped in the train with them, not knowing if you'll make it in time or indeed, at all. The characters are a little on the unloveable side, even Amanda - she's had a rough trot, but she is a bit of a cow. Fortunately, there's no need to like them for the story to work, and work it does! I'll be interested to see what the author comes up with next!
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Fantasy and paranormal fiction do not have the popularity of a few years ago. The current trend for fusion in genres allows for paranormal and fantasy themes, to fuse with the crime fiction genre, something which has always been popular in graphic novels.

‘The End of the Line’, is a crime based story set in a dystopian world, where magic is outlawed, and paranormals are used to further criminal ends, often, as in this case, with disastrous results.

The violent world setting of this novel is immediately apparent. The leader of the gang is ruthless and emotionally damaged having suffered a personal tragedy. The violence is vividly described, indeed this story would make an excellent graphic novel.

Understandably, there is a great deal of world-building in the main part of this story, which adds to the complexity, and takes the reader away from the main story. If you are a fan of fantasy worlds, this will not be a problem, but if you find it difficult to merge into someone else’s creation, this will reduce the book’s appeal.

The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and dark. There is little to dissipate the noir world, some of the characters do have redeeming features, but these cost them dearly. The picture painted, is of a world without hope.

So, not an uplifting read, but something to try, if you enjoy fantasy crime in a dark dystopian setting.

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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This was definitely a slow read for me. The sheer darkness of the story felt oppressive and I had to put it down after a while, but the narrative kept me reading. The plot can only be described as dark, summoning a demon and the consequences from that propelling the book along. Amanda the lead protagonist is not a likable character. You see those she loves die due to her and she has the stubborness of someone who believes they are always right even when they are to blame. She will do anything for her child and that includes losing those around her. Williams builds the  backstories to the characters, Skeebs and Caleb in particular and I grew fond of them but their deaths paled them into insignificance as the other  characters just continue onwards regardless. The demon, Reeves's demise the same all very anticlimactic. The story has emotion but it's almost fleeting in its appearance, the shock factor seemingly more reactive. Overall I liked the story enough to keep going to the end but was disappointed on how anticlimactic it was from the build up.
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I found the premise of this novel deeply impressive and disturbing. An uber-capitalist contemporary world where magic, practitioners of magic and Demons exist but are co-opted by those at the top and organised crime.
The first few pages of this novel are a very good taste of what you're going to get. The beginning was so abrupt that I thought for a moment that I was reading a second novel in a cycle. I loved it.
There are no goodies in this book, just characters who are grey to varying degrees. And a Demon who has managed to escape from the influence of his summoner who is the darkest pitch of black. Readers should also be warned that it is incredibly violent.
The basic plot is a simple one, a daemon has been summoned, manages to escape, and we follow a group of shady characters, who, for various reasons, have been coerced by an organised crime boss into the attempt to eliminate him. This is no small task given his extreme powers and his ability to possess human minds and thus wreck havoc.
The characters are hit and miss, our protagonist has her memorable moments, curiously it is the second time in a few months that in a modern fantasy book I have found an ethnic minority female protagonist called Amanda... Guys, yes we have to love "Amanda", but please find some more original names! On the other hand I really did like that the name given to the Demon's not fancy nor Greek nor Hebrew nor Latinate.
The story lags somewhat towards the end, cycling back and forth between the same group of characters in the same confined area does get somewhat tedious. And the resolution struck me as rather contrived, but for all this, this novel has strength, the power to shock and an almost daemonic energy... One scene in particular sticks in the mind.
I'm hoping for second helpings!
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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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