Agnes at the End of the World – 3 Star Review

This book ended up being difficult for me to review! I did really like parts of it but then others were a little too….bizarre? Not in line with my own views? That being said, I think this is a good book but tailored for a specific type of person and I wasn’t that person.

The book is broken up into four parts. The first part is Agnes and her sister, Beth, as they live their daily life on the strict religious compound. They must follow ridiculously strict rules that are outdated and exceptionally oppressive to women. I found this section to be engrossing and I loved this setting. It made a great opener for the story. In part two and three we follow Agnes as she experiences a spiritual journey once she leaves the compound and finds a word being ravaged by a viral plague. The POV alternates between her and Beth, who stays behind on the compound while Agnes is gone and is dealing with the aftermath of what their Prophet told them is the “apocalypse”. Beth finds herself trapped and panicked when members of her commune become ill with the plague.

Through Agnes’s POV, the story leans heavily on the idea of spirituality and the idea that God is not a “person” but more of a higher power that lives and breathes through things like nature, the stars and the wind, One who bestows powers and gifts to “chosen ones” and communicates directly to said person. I personally do not happen to hold the same views so it was much harder for me to connect to Agnes’s story line.
I found myself vibing more with Beth who questioned her upbringing and the strict rules and who longed to visit the world outside the compound. The book is a complete story but I felt like the readers got a little cheated at the end concerning the virus that was ravaging society. I wanted to know more about the plague but it was used almost as an accessory or vehicle for the spiritual journey. Very disappointing for me.

The writing was great and I felt like the pacing of the book was good throughout. If you have an interest in religious and spiritual awakenings then I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to you! My three star rating doesn’t reflect that this is a “bad” book or one not worth reading, it just simply ended up being not for me!

Review by Kelly

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