When the World Ends by J.L. Forrest

by Justine Bergman

My Rating: 4

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://jlforrest.com/
SERIES: Songs at the End of the World
PUBLISHED: August 26, 2018 by The Robot Cowgirl Press
PAGES: 121
GENRE: Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy



Bett wants more than anything to survive.

But how do you survive the end of the world?

A plague called Blight.

Violence, fire, and zealotry.

Fear, floods, famine, and war.

Bett must overcome these, and she must keep moving. If she reaches the coast, crossing half of Canada, then she must decide-

To the north, survivors of Blight will hole up as long as possible. A generation or two is all the Earth’s got left, but maybe they can make the best of it?

To the south, a King is offering everyday people a one-way ticket off Earth-he’s the only trillionaire who doesn’t seem anxious to leave the poor behind.


Or south?

In the crux of her decision, Bettina encounters a bewildering, witchy woman who speaks with animals and who listens to whispers on the wind. Mystifying things walk the enduring forests, and rumours of Old Gods spread terror.

Old Gods who want Bett on their side.

Join Bett on her journey. Read When the World Ends today.



When the World Ends is a somber tale set in a dark, haunting, and plausible post-apocalyptic future of our own world. A world ravaged to its core, where mysterious dangers lurk in the shadows. Humankind has been defeated and decimated through a series of cataclysmic events and those remaining struggle to survive. Their worries not only include a broken Earth, but cruel cults, fanatical extremist groups and enigmatic folk magic. We embark on a harrowing trip across North America, witnessing hardships through a series of journal entries as a woman journeys to find some semblance of a safe future.

This novella is a terse and staggering assessment of human behavior and its effects on society and the planet, with an underlying focus on the famous philosophical question of “what if”. It also highlights the socioeconomic injustices that currently exist in our own world that many choose to turn a blind eye to. Of all the dark fantasy stories I’ve drowned myself in over the past few years, this has to be the most terrifying of them all, because it hits so close to home.

I really appreciate the unusual writing style and format as it only adds to the trepidation of a seemingly hopeless quest. You can truly feel the narrator’s desperation and numbness to her surroundings in a very dismal way:

Wish I could say this guy was our first kill…Wish I could say it was exhausting, that I was sad, that I cared.

The thought of living in a world where we’re forced to think this way is horrific.

The seamless blend of fantasy and science fiction made this a really unique and enjoyable read, revealing just enough to leave you wanting more. While it uses the building blocks of many post-apocalyptic tales, it has a fresh voice that makes it feel new. I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into this world Forrest has created – I need answers!

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