Thank you to author William Nkemdirim for providing me with a copy of Two at the End in exchange for this honest review.
This novel is going to be pretty difficult to review. Here’s the problem, it’s unfinished. I was given a published paperback copy of this book but it desperately needs an editor. The entire book is completely overrun with typos, grammatical errors, content issues, and egregious mistakes such as an entire section of the book being repeated word for word towards the end.
I am so disappointed that there are so many technical issues with Two at the End because I think the story does have promise. At least, what I could piece together through my confusion.
Most of the author requests for reviews I get are from the same demographics, I was thrilled to accept this one from a Nigerian born author and get to see his perspective on writing fiction. When I started the book I was even more thrilled to see several elements of afro-futurism at play. This under-discovered genre has become of great interest to me after I found some wonderful Ethiopian films to watch that enlightened me to it. Check out the movie Crumbs (2015) for an introduction.
The book begins in The Abyss, essentially a hole to hell. These holes have opened up all over the world and going inside one changes a person. These people are known as Hierodules. They seem to be a kind of mutant in the vein of X-Men. They all have unique powers of varying levels.
As is the style in so much science fiction and fantasy, these mutants with all their powers, are overpowered and undervalued by the society in which they live. The regular humans are afraid of them and therefore outcast them. Why the powerful mutants don’t immediately use their powers to stop this has always been beyond me.
The main character, Folashade, is on a mission to find her sister. Let’s briefly discuss her name. It’s not mentioned until page 153. Some people refer to her by Fola and some refer to her by Shade, without ever knowing her full name this is very confusion and sounds like two completely different people. If it weren’t for checking the back cover for mention of her full name I would’ve been even more lost until 2/3 of the way through the book.
Additionally, there are two (maybe more?) other characters who are given narratorial voice throughout Two at the End but they all have the same voice so it requires the reader to check the chapter titles repeatedly to understand who is speaking. Once again, very confusing.
Somehow, I was curious enough about the plot to actually finish the book. The sci fi and horror elements that are there piqued my interest and I kept holding out hope that it would come together by the end and I could just ignore the editing issues. So it gets points for still being somewhat interesting.
I’d love to see Two at the End given to a professional editor and republished with a lot more polish. As it stands right now though it doesn’t even seem like the author himself read it before sending it to print.
2/5 abysses 🕳️🕳️
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