The Proper Order of Things
Review of EFC Book 1: Avinon
Review by Tom Pahlow
Ever since I came across the Earth’s Final Chapter series, I have been devouring each of them voraciously. It’s been a bit of a hodgepodge on my part though and I thought that I really should start at the beginning. Enter Avinon by Julian Fernandes and illustrated by Sergei Kritzien, Earths Final Chapter’s first chapter. As far as introductions into the world of post-World War Three earth, Avinon is great. It gives enough context to the concept that puts us firmly in the world that Fernandes has built.
Avinon is a lone survivor in the wastes of what used to be America. Everything changes when he comes across slavers leading Tara, Tone and a hairy mutant named Jax. After murdering all of the slavers and sending Jax off into the woods like Bigfoot with a mechanical arm, Avinon takes his new charges home. Young love, family bonds that transcend blood and lots more murder ensue as the three are caught up amongst Planetary Council operations.
Throughout the book, I was struck by Avinon’s character. He is a survivor and a hardened man who barely thinks twice about regularly being outnumbered in his fights. Despite this, he is almost childlike in his interactions with Tara and her brother Tone. Flirting, acting almost like a father to Tone and dreaming of a family in a way that felt like the naivety of someone far younger. I loved pondering this strange combination. Was it the result of youth? Isolation? Lack of parental figures? Who knows?
The titular character plays something of our guide to EFC, even as we read about him guiding Tara and Tone, explaining the world we have found ourselves in. He knows survival, he knows combat, he knows tech, he stumbles a little on flirting. Fernandes does a good job of giving us a plausible character who is the best kind of know-it-all.
At times I feel there was a little of the worldbuilders curse sprinkled throughout the book. A little too much obvious exposition so that we explicitly know who everyone is and how robot armed bigfoot exists. It might be a personal preference on my part though, I always love the suggestion of something more so that I can let my imagination roam free. Having said that, it’s a common thing to find in any Sci-fi or Fantasy work. How else is your reader supposed to know how the world of the story works?
Finally, the ending gave me the feeling I am beginning to associate heavily with EFC. A sense of curiosity. Partly because the ending of the story didn’t involve the beloved trio. Mostly because of its cliffhanger, the setup to show us that there are more things in heaven and Earth’s Final Chapter than are dreamt of in our philosophy.