The End of the Ocean – Maja Lunde: Review & Recommend | LATEST RELEASES

A couple of months ago, I read and reviewed The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. The End of the Ocean is the second in the series, tied together thematically rather than with characters. The End of the Ocean explores the effect of development and climate change on water supplies and the natural landscape across different time periods, 2017 and 2041. The End of the Ocean was also my first book that I read for read-a-thin in February, so I’m happy I can tick that off my list. The rest of my TBR for read-a-thin can be found here.

I really enjoyed The History of Bees, so I was really excited to find out that The End of the Ocean had been translated into English and released in the UK a couple of months ago. I’m also a fan of the concept of the series. I’m not generally a big fan of series of books, but these are really stand alone novels, or could be read in either order. As I mentioned before, they’re connected thematically rather than with characters, so they both tackle very different storylines while the central concern remains climate change. The End of the Ocean was a bit different to what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. Similarly to The History of Bees, I did find the changing of perspective every chapter a little bit confusing and I occasionally found myself rushing through Signe’s sections to get to the sections on David and Lou. Signe’s chapters were also a little confusing with the constant back and forth between her childhood and later adulthood.

The characters of David and Lou, however, I found particularly compelling. The father and daughter were separated from David’s wife and son, which caused tensions throughout their storyline. I definitely felt more of an interest in their struggle than I did in Signe’s. I found Signe a harder character to connect to, perhaps because rather than having a single chronological narrative the chapters on Signe jumped around to different periods of her life. I also wished that some of the secondary characters David meets in the camp got a bit more development, in particular the three men he strikes up a friendship with. Some of the most touching scenes in the book occurred between these men, yet they didn’t get a lot of page-time (is that a thing?).

Formulaically The End of the Ocean was very similar to The History of Bees, with the different, yet somehow interconnected stories told across different time periods. I’d also seen in a synopsis the way the different characters were connected, which gave away a little of the plot, but nothing too drastic. Having the same trick used across the series does make it feel a little old-hat, but I also see it as a useful vehicle for telling the kind of stories Lunde is trying to tell with the Climate Quartet. The series is also very timely given the crisis we’re in now, which was presumably the reason Lunde is writing books like these. Having part of the books set in the present, with scenarios we can easily imagine happening in the present day and then showing the future repercussions offers a realistic, if terrifying, vision of a potential future.

Overall, I did really enjoy The End of the Ocean. It was much more in my wheelhouse than Solar, the last book I reviewed. Stylistically, it’s pretty straightforward, which makes it a fast read — always nice when you’re trying to work through a TBR pile. I enjoy Lunde’s writing, and she’s addressing an incredibly important issue. It’s also nice to read more literature in translation, which was a goal for my 2020. So far out of the three books I’ve read this year, only one was by someone with English as a first language. The other book I’ve read aside from The End of the Ocean was No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg, who I believe wrote her speeches in English, or at least translates them herself before giving them, but still has a language other than English as her first language.

Rating: 4 stars.

This review also published on my goodreads,

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