The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James – Book Review

Title: The Quiet at the End of the World

Author: Lauren James

Genre/Themes: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Humanity, Apocalypse, AI Robots, Falling in Love, LGBTQ+

Blurb from Goodreads

How far would you go to save those you love?

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

My Review

Lauren James just writes the most intelligent and thoughtful YA books out there. The Next Together and The Last Beginning were fabulously time twisty with memorable characters. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe provided some great deep space chills…

And this most recent YA release of hers is yet another compelling and memorable read.

It follows the tale of Lowrie and Shen who are the two youngest people left on earth after a global infertility event. They live in a much changed London of the future and are cared for by an incredibly ageing community.

The book explores the pressures on their shoulders at being the youngest people left alive, it explores the depth of love that can form in relationships between humans but mostly it asks one of the biggest questions of all… That of what does being human actually mean? What is it that makes us us?

I truly loved this. It was just such good storytelling. It was thoughtful, smart, funny, sweet…

Just a thoroughly engaging read.

The main characters felt incredibly authentic. There was so much pressure on Lowrie and Shen… Because these two are the last generation of civilisation. And James’ writing 100% got the tone of these characters right. They both had moments of freaking out but also paired with moments of sadness and then other times they were tremendously strong… I guess what I’m saying is that I could identify with them both. I was able to understand why in one moment Lowrie in particular would be incredibly facetious or flippant but then in the next she was focused and goal oriented. They just felt like I could know either one of them because they were so believable. And just applause for the natural diversity of the two leads. Bisexuality for Lowrie and mixed race and minority cultural identity for Shen. And fabulous STEM rep!!!

Also yes. I 100% shipped them. I ship, I ship, I ship!!!

And you’d think that a book that was post apocalyptic in its tone and focuses on the end of civilisation as we know it would be terrifying and scary… Well not in Lauren James’ hands. She is like the YA version of Becky Chambers with her speculative fiction. The future that she paints for humanity gives me hope (much like Becky’s sci fi does). She dreams of worlds that are naturally diverse and inclusive, realities where people let go of materialism in favour of taking care of each other and of the planet… And she truly explores the good and the bad types of relationships that humans can have with technology and AI.

And the fact that the book also had a lifeguard robot named after Mitch Buchannon (of Baywatch fame!) was just the most inspired character naming ever.

The plot was brilliant. Very touching, supremely smart, teasingly twisty and just a whole lot of fun.

A highly recommended YA read

Other Works by Lauren James I’ve Reviewed

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20 thoughts on “The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James – Book Review

  1. Damn. I love the title. I would buy it on that alone.

    However, the content seems quality and seems to resonate with the inexplicable feeling of being alive.

    Plus robot friends!
    Plus an awesome cover!

    I am sold.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. holy wow, THIS COVER though! i reckon i would’ve picked it up based on that alone because it’s gorgeous 😍 but your review has me really wanting to pick this one up because it sounds so good and diverse and about something that i’ve never read about before (or maybe just not often)! wonderful review, Emer 💜💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lauren James is just effortlessly diverse. I love her for that. Because there’s no such thing as tokenism which is a style many authors slip into but with her…. GAHHHHH she’s just the best Dini!!!! I love her books so much. Just a great ya author :)))))


  3. This book sounds amazing,love me some good YA with a twist,definitely adding this to my tbr list


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