Welcome to the last Book Club post of the year. Hopefully, you read and enjoyed at least our recommendations from this year. The last book we will talk about this year is my favorite so far. Honestly, I haven’t been this obsessed with a series in a long time. The Beginning after the End is what I’ve always wanted from a fantasy series. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
I know. I chose a book series over a single book. I must be crazy to think that people would read all eight books in a month. That was never my intention, unless you did it, then go you! Ok, now on the meat and potatoes.
My hype for this story might be recency bias, but The Beginning after the End is now a top 5 series for me. I’m going to have to wait until the series finishes to solidify where it stands, but this series is everything I’ve ever wanted from a fantasy series. The concept and the way the author writes their story make it feel like an isekai anime, one of the great ones, though. I’ve always wanted an isekai anime story in a book, but I never thought it would translate well. So I’m not sure why I doubted it.
I don’t know what to start with first. I don’t know what’s better, the characters or the worldbuilding. The characters are unforgettable. The older I get, the harder it is for me to believe that a 15-year-old will save the world like in most fantasy books which is why I was surprised when Arthur’s age didn’t bother me. But I think it’s because the author addresses that Arthur is an adolescent and how awkward it must have physically felt to go from being a killing machine in Grey to a literal child.
Am I going to compare the world of Dicathen to the world of One Piece? Yes, yes, I am. Even if you aren’t a fan of One Piece, there is no denying the fact that Oda has created one of the best examples of worldbuilding. Is The Beginning after the End as deep as One Piece? No, but I would say that it is just as rich in characters, nuance, and joy. But not only did TurtleMe, the author, write one amazing world and another.
This story is an isekai anime in book form, but instead of Arthur coming from our modern-day world, he came from a world where kings fought one on one duels to settle matters between countries. How freaking cool of an idea is that? Could you imagine, instead of war, two people would enter an octagon and slug it out to resolve disputes between conflicting countries? Imagine the PPV money those fights would bring.
But the more I read about Arthur’s old world, the more I caught myself thinking how much I want a separate book about it. Of course, we eventually get more information and story in the later books, but it still isn’t enough to satiate my curiosity.
The Magic System
Like any great fantasy series, The Beginning after the End has an easy-to-understand but unique spin on classic fantasy magic. The idea of magic cores and their stages of color to determine power level are perfect. (My friend is trying to incorporate the magic system in his next DnD game.) And within the colors are levels of clarity that further rank your power. There is nothing quite like understanding the gravity of a fight by quickly understanding where each character stands with the other in power. And while there might be power levels to the story, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone of a lower color will lose a fight. It may be tougher but not impossible for the most part.
5 out 5 Starbucks Holiday Drinks
I haven’t loved a story like this in a long time. It makes me feel like a kid reading Percy Jackson or Eragon. It’s escapism in the best and most wondrous way possible. I read the first four books in 36 hours, give or take. I started reading Friday night, and the next thing I knew, the sun was coming up, and it was Sunday. (I swear I don’t have a self-control problem.)
Also, I’m usually not a huge fan of fantasy series that are more than five books long. I get burned out from the story by the fourth installment, so for me to praise a series that has eight books and counting, then you know it must be amazing. I really can’t praise The Beginning after the End any more than I already have. And if you don’t believe me, give the first book a try. It’s only 193 pages.
And if you don’t like fantasy books, give Survive the Night by Riley Sager a try.
P.S. Thanks for reading along with us this year. I hope you had as much fun as us.