SFF

A Beginning at the End

Mira: Harlequin. Jan. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780778309345. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488055355. SF
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It’s been six years since the MGS pandemic took out much of the world’s population. In America, urban areas are rebuilding their culture, but governmental rules have tightened around stabilizing the future of family units, with strong oversight and intervention by the Family Stability Board. In San Francisco, former teen pop star Moira has been building a new life and identity, until her father decides to use the media to find her. Event planner Krista throws herself into helping those who were traumatized to move on with life, whether they want to or not, and avoiding the losses within her own family. Rob raises his young daughter, Sunny, after losing his wife to the pandemic, and tries to keep them a solid, under the radar, family unit. However, when the Family Stability Board threatens to separate Rob and Sunny, he must find ways to connect with other people, crossing paths with Krista and Moira and forcing them all to confront their family issues as a new outbreak threatens to take away everything.
VERDICT Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s (Here and Now and Then) prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.

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