So This Is How It Ends

Reviewer: Carissa Skye

Author: Tui Sutherland

Published: 2007

Reviewed: 2019-02-02

Publisher: Eos

“So This Is How It Ends” is the first book in the “Avatars” trilogy, which
follows a group of people chosen as the avatars of various pantheons; the
beginning of the novel introduces Kali, Venus, Amon-Ra, and Catequil (an Incan
god of thunder and lightning). They are frozen in time as the gods drive the
world into ruin, and reawoken about seventy years later, where they must
survive in a strange mid-apocalypse landscape, largely devoid of humans except
in small, often hostile enclaves. It is a young adult novel, probably aimed at
mid-teenagers as most of the characters are around 15 to 17.

The mythology is dealt with with significantly more care than I expected; the
characters, and the ways their personalities relate to the gods they act as
avatar for, are both interesting and consistent. The major exception is
Catequil; he is referred to as the avatar of “the mesoamerican gods” despite
being Incan. “Mesoamerica,” which is a fairly reasonable term to apply to a
pantheon, refers to an area whose southern boundary is around Honduras, and
definitely shouldn’t include Catequil. He also gets a “neoquetzal” as a
companion, despite Quetzalcoatl being a mesoamerican god.

That reservation aside, I much enjoyed the novel. There’s a bit of action, some
horror-suspense in aftereffects of the apocalypse, and a hefty dose of the sort
of interpersonal interaction that my recent experience with the game “Octopath
Travelers” has led me to think of as travel banter. The characters are distinct
and well-fleshed-out individuals, who I found myself liking and caring about.
The worldbuilding and information are hidden, hinted at, and revealed in
compelling ways. All in all, a fun, quick read; not quite in the
now-stereotypical YA Dystopia genre, but drawing inspiration from it, and
introducing some new themes and ideas.

I was asked to include this, and so must report that “So this Is How It Ends”
is, sadly, not gay.