Tala and her little brother, Hototo, have to travel through many dangers to reach the Beacon, an alien rendezvous that will rescue five thousand children from the coming disasters which will cause the extinction of all humanity. They are attacked by wild animals and greedy humans, but Tala vows to protect her little brother. Hototo wears a cape and pretends to be a superhero. Along the way they team up with Humbo and Alice, who are also trying to reach the Beacon. But time is running out, and the countdown for the end of the world has already begun.
I was so intrigued by the apocalyptic plot, and every chapter sparked my imagination. It was really interesting to learn about this strange new earth where humanity is limping along in the last days. There are weird mutant animals with strange abilities, and human cults who attack each other. There are just a few major cities left in the world where humans can live safely, and that is where the Beacons will appear from the aliens who have promised to help.
One of the really cool things about this book is that there is a soundtrack on Youtube that you can play while you read the book. There are QR codes for each chapter in the book, so that you can follow the link to the song that fits the scenes you are reading. The music is beautiful and it creates such an atmosphere as you read. It makes for a really immersive experience.
I loved the sweet sibling relationship between Tala and Hototo. They have lost both their parents, and Tala is very good at shielding little Hototo from knowledge about the true nature of their world. She pretends that dead neighbors are only gone away on a visit. She pretends that a girl bit by a zombie will only go to the hospital to be made well again. She pretends and pretends that she will go with Hototo when he is rescued at the Beacon. Gradually, all these lies wear on them, and Tala cannot shield Hototo from everything that is going on. It’s so beautifully bittersweet!
I did not like that there are so many violent scenes with a lot of blood and gore. People get shot, mutilated, decapitated, and turned into oozing zombies. People get their arms torn off or their hearts torn out of their chests. And then a monster/human/zombie hybrid dude eats the heart. That’s just nauseating.
I feel like the story could have been just as scary and suspenseful without all the violence. It was just a bit too much. You could have people die meaningful deaths that are important to the story, but it didn’t have to be quite that horrific. Sometimes an “off screen” death is actually more scary than if we have to see all the gore and blood.
However, I understand that the violence is an important part of the story for these characters. They are truly fighting for their survival while people around them are suffering and dying, and that fuels their determination to get to the Beacon. It also makes it more meaningful for the few children who have been promised a rescue. The world is falling apart, and humans and beasts alike are running rampant. We get to see just how far the world has fallen into chaos, and just how much they need a rescue.
I really liked that the story takes time to reflect about the state of the world. We get a few different perspectives and philosophies. There are monuments to the dead, and the characters cherish their memories of their loved ones who are gone. It puts a lens of nostalgia over the story as they contemplate their own deaths. I like how thoughtful the writing is.
The ending was really cool! It’s so imaginative and unique. I never imagined that the story would take that direction, and I loved it!
The artwork is incredibly beautiful! Every page is so colorful and wild. It brings each vivid scene right into your heart.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.