________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 22 . . . . June 22, 2007



Timothy Carter.
Woodbury, MN: Flux/Llewellyn Publications, 2007.
299 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-0-7387-1066-2.

Subject Headings:
End of the world-Fiction.
Science Fiction.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Uncorrected Proof.


"Demons?" Vincent said, the old dread returning. "They actually exist?"

"Not the way you're probably thinking," Nod said. "For one thing, they don't use pitchforks. They don't need them."

"And they're not from Hell," Clara added. "They're part of a natural cleansing process of the Earth."

"Say what?" Vincent said.

"Their purpose," Clara explained, "is to destroy the dominant species whose epoch has passed. It's the only way to prepare the world for the next species."

"You do not want to be stuck behind when the demons come," Nod said. "You see, kid, every few thousand years or so the planet needs to rejuvenate itself. Have a fresh start. The demons are part of that process. So are the Portal Sites. First you'll get some earthquakes, then some really bad weather, then volcanoes, and then the portals close and the demons come out. It's all about clearing the dominant species off the planet.""Clearing off." Vincent said. "You mean a bunch of demons are gonna come to wipe out all humanity?"

"That's about the size of it, yep," Nod replied.


The world will end in 48 hours, no question. And only you can find the magic portals which will transport humanity to another plane and save everyone from total annihilation. That's a lot of responsibility for a 14-year-old boy to handle. But Vincent Drear seems reasonably well-prepared;  his family belongs to a fundamental religious sect which has been preaching the imminent apocalypse as long as he can remember.

     Vincent and his small band of helpers contend with almost every being imaginable during their quest to save humanity: pixies, elves, trolls, demons and even a centaur. As the end draws near, they withstand both the forces of nature in the form of volcanoes and tornadoes as well as the human forces of evil as embodied in the multinational Alphega Corporation which, as its name implies, appears to be both the beginning and the end of everything.

     Timothy Carter has filled this young adult science fiction/fantasy novel with heroes and villains, epic battles, and magic such as astral flying and 'obyons' which are inhaled and then force the recipient to obey all orders given to him or her by the controlling force. Fans of both genres will love the fast pace and the adventure as the world heads toward final destruction, clearly indicated by a book which begins with chapter 30 and ends with chapter 1! Reluctant readers are another likely audience for Epoch since the prose is easy to read and often conversational, the chapters are short, and the excitement just keeps growing.

     With its vivid prose which allows the reader to easily visualize events Carter's book feels like a superhero comic strip without the pictures. As well as offering a good solid adventure, Carter pokes fun in a light-hearted and satirical way at almost everything he describes - from Vincent's science fair and his relationships with fellow students to fundamentalist religions and environmentalists. Nothing is beyond his humour, and yet the satire remains more gentle and amusing than biting. For the observant reader, even the clever choice of names (Alphega Corporation, the Drear family, Chanteuse) produces a smile.

     Whether labelled as science-fiction, fantasy or a quest adventure, this novel is sure to please most young adult readers and will have particular appeal for younger boys, typically an audience whose needs can be challenging to meet.

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and teacher of high school English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.