Mini Review: Violent Ends

Written by: Shaun David Hutchinson (Editor), Kendare Blake, Steve Brezenoff, Delilah S. DawsonTrish Doller, Margie Gelbwasser, E.M. Kokie, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tom Leveen, Hannah Moskowitz, Elisa Nader, Beth Revis, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Brandon Shusterman, Courtney Summers, Blythe Woolston, Christine Johnson
Release Date: September 4, 2015
Pages: 384, Hardback
Series: standalone
Add on Goodreads

 

Mini

This is one of those books where I like what it was trying to do more than I like the book itself. Violent Ends tells the story of a school shooting through seventeen different perspectives, written by seventeen different authors. I picked this book up at ALA because the names of some of my favorite authors were attached to it: Neal Shusterman, Courtney Summers, Hannah Moskowitz. Picking up anthologies is always a risk, though; there will always be stories you won’t be able to get into, and that makes it hard for me to get through them.

In this case, every one of the stories was actually good, which is pretty rare for an anthology. However, a lot of the stories ran together; they didn’t have the power or complexity I was hoping for.  I liked the book as a whole more than I liked most of the individual stories, if that makes sense.

I also thought there were a few too many stories where the protagonist is for some reason obsessed with Kirby Matheson, the shooter, even before the shooting happens. I know he’s the focal point of the book, but come on.

I still think the book’s best quality is its format. The many different voices heard in Violent Ends set the book apart. We never hear from Kirby Matheson. Instead, we see him entirely through the eyes of others, and we are given bits and pieces of his story to put together from their impressions of him and the marks he left on their lives. The stories also connect–we see the narrator from one story show up in another, and we get a whole different perspective on them. That’s always fun.

However, there were some stories that stood out to me, and they made this book worth reading. These include:

  • Survival Instinct by Tom Leveen, for the intensity and excellent writing
  • The Girl Who Said No by Trish Doller, for making me tear up the most
  • Presumed Destroyed by Neal and Brendan Shusterman, for making an unconventional POV work
  • Grooming Habits by Elisa Nader, for the twist at the end
  • History Lessons by Courtney Summers (my personal favorite) for the emotional complexity and strong voice

Violent Ends is a different take on a pretty common subject, and a reminder that everyone has a story to tell. It does a lot of ambitious things (multiple POV! Time jumps!) that end up working. Although this book wasn’t quite as mindblowing as I expected, it is still very much worth reading.

 

Polina 

Other Posts You Might Like
ARC Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Written by: Sara Raasch Release Date: October 13, 2015 Pages: 479, Hardback Series: Snow Like Ashes #2 Add on GoodReads Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC! It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, ...
READ MORE
Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Written by: Marie Rutkoski Release Date: March 29th 2016 Pages: 484, hardcover Series: The Winner's Trilogy, #3 Add on GoodReads Some kisses come at a price. War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with ...
READ MORE
Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Written by: Jodi Meadows Release Date: March 10, 2015 Pages: 391, Hardback Series: The Orphan Queen, #1 Add on GoodReads Wilhelmina has a hundred identities. She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina ...
READ MORE
ARC Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Written by: Kathleen Glasgow Release Date: September 6, 2016 Pages: 416, hardcover Series: standalone Add on GoodReads   Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But ...
READ MORE
ARC Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Written by: Kathy MacMillan Release Date: January 19, 2016 Pages: 384, hardcover Series: Sword and Verse, #1 (BUT written as a Standalone) Add on GoodReads Thank you to Harper for the eARC! In a sweeping fantasy debut that ...
READ MORE
ARC Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
ARC Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
ARC Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge