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Matt Bone
Astro Impossible Books, 375 pages

Matt Bone
Matt Bone lives and writes in Bath, UK, where he is steadily working through the city's supply of caffeine. He has degrees in both Astrophysics and English Literature, supporting his ambition to be entirely unemployable.

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A review by David Maddox

The realms of fantasy genre can sometimes feel too crammed with information, forced, stilted, and filled with cardboard, repetitive characters. This is not the case with Matt Bone's Endless.

John, a non-descript, average graphic designer in England, awakes to find that everyone on Earth is dead. No plague, no virus, no apocalyptic event, everyone just keeled over and stopped living. John then spends the next two years taking care of his former neighbor's cat and trying not to go insane or kill himself. The sheer desolation described in the silent, dead Earth is truly chilling.

While this story of loneliness on a dead world is happening, the reader is swapped over to another world, similar to Earth but with different laws and at a different stage of development, called Crescent. Here, a warrior woman named Telde is trying to get a mystical girl named Ceria to a safe location, avoiding the half-man Senthis' evil warriors, the Endless, creature of light and malice. We're also introduced to Manvedian, a traveling warrior who's attempting to intercept Ceria on behalf of the evil creatures, but is currently undercover as one of the rebels.

While at first it's a little confusing on why these drastically different stories are occurring in the same book, everything comes together when John gives in to the constant headaches he's been feeling and suddenly finds himself in a field on Crescent! He fortunately meets Jago, a Brazilian and the only other apparent survivor of Earth, who's been on this new world a little longer than John.

While the story does start off rather slowly, it becomes apparent, as the reader progresses, that Matt Bone has done a fantastic job of creating the world of Crescent. It's not described as just another world having one climate, this place has varying terrain, weather patterns and its own geology. There are rules, opposing governments and rulers, and, most importantly, a full history and backstory much of which is only hinted at, but gives the reader a real sense of history for this land.

One of the main differences on this new world is the Primitives. These are people that have magical powers. Nothing quite on par as Harry Potter, but the ability to read minds, or see the future or, in Ceria's case, either drain or heal life energy. John and Jago both seem to possess Primitive powers as well, though it's hinted that these were granted by the Endless when they transported the Earthmen to Crescent. And John is continually haunted by the feeling that his powers are "wrong."

The story starts intertwining these tales as the characters meet up and form a little band, hoping to reach a supposed safe harbor. There are definite elements of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring most notably) in the quest. But Bone has really done his work, creating the field of play upon which the characters are performing. Early critiques have pointed out how long the story is, but this is not a negative. There are few really good epic adventures released these days, and Endless seems poised to become one.

While the story is mainly told with John being the reader's eyes to this new world, it does switch between other characters, giving their internal monologue and motivation. This helps the reader grasp some of the more fundamental changes between Crescent and Earth and allows the history of the world to become something easily accepted, instead of everything being one discovery after the next.

The story contains many twists and turns and the ending does come as rather a surprise, especially given whom the overall hero turns out to be. In fact, although the conclusion is fairly satisfying, it does leave the reader wanting more, which is good as Bone apparently has more books planned for the Crescent universe.

Copyright © 2012 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been Star Trek characters, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show and holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. He has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and playing Norman Bates.

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