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My Second Review of Vivian at the End of the World

Vivian Apple at the End of the World - Katie Coyle

The one where I talk about the last three chapters. And the plot hole.


This is a book that definitely requires willing suspension of disbelief, but even with that, I am troubled by the concept.


There are both too few Believers raptured, and too many. Let me explain (and this review is about to become spoilery, so if that bothers you, skip it).


According to the story, there are approximately 2,000 people who are raptured with Vivian's parents. According to the CDC, the number of people who die every day is 3x this amount - around 7100 per day (I got this by dividing the annual death rate of 2,596,993 per year, divided by 365). So, basically, on the day that the "rapture" occurred, there were an additional number of people who died of natural/accidental causes that is three times the number of people "raptured." That week alone, almost 50,000 Americans disappeared, forever, from the lives of their loved ones.


There are 300 million people alive in America right now. 2000 is a blip on the radar, and dot on the graph. The idea that the rapture was so tiny, but yet everyone seemed to "know" someone (or a couple of someones) who were raptured, well, it frankly defies common sense.


This is what I call a plot hole.


The other problem with the number, though, is more complex. Because 




It's all a fraud. We knew that, right? Through the whole book we're meant to believe that the missing Believers have fled to a secret compound where they are living in splendor and giggling at the chaos that their behavior has induced. But that isn't what happened - at least, not exactly.


Nope, they got Jonestowned. They were enticed to the compound under false pretenses, where they were murdered (sacrificed) because (and this is where it gets complicated and really unbelievable) there is actually a mentally ill founder, and a triad of evil capitalists (like Dr. Evil x 3) who co-opted the religion in order to sell guns, Bibles and canned goods. Also, misogyny, which is free. 




But there are no bodies, which is just, I can't. Do you know how hard it would be to secretly get rid of 2,000 human corpses? Like, really, really hard. And yet the mentally ill guy and his sidekick managed to burn them all? Without a crematorium? In California? Without anyone noticing the rank smell of smoldering human flesh?




And the reaction of the characters to the fact that their parents have been, essentially, sacrificed under false pretenses to the greater God of the Almighty Dollar is fairly indifferent. 


So, I'm of two distinct minds about the book. Love/Not love. I'll definitely read the sequel, though, because I want to know if Katie Coyle can really pull this off, plug the holes, solve the problems, and wrap up the story in a way that is convincing.