Early March might seem like too early in the year to state 'This is one of the best novels of 2023,' but when it comes to Jacqueline Holland's The God of Endings, I'm willing to make that statement. Heartbreaking, gorgeously written even if its darkest passages, and truly epic in terms of breadth and scope, The God of Endings chronicles almost two centuries of one woman's journey while also exploring the beauty of brevity, the power of love, and the importance of art ... The God of Endings chronicles almost 150 years of changes, heartbreak, adventures, being on the run, death, and grief. In its almost 500 pages, Holland, with a strong voice and impeccable prose, delves deep into what it means to live forever and watching everything and everyone you love eventually — and unvaryingly — succumb to the inherent entropy of all things ... An exploration of the human condition that transcends genre. It is a deep, multilayered, complex, sprawling narrative about love, loss, old Slavic gods, history, otherness, and sorrow.
Holland seems determined to avoid the eroticism of other recent vampire tales ... In fact, The God of Endings and its protagonist so vehemently refuse to be defined by the monster of it all that it’s hard to tell whom the book is for. It’s too vampire-evasive for the monster crowd, too ethereal for the supernaturally averse ... The 1830s, the 1940s and even 1984 don’t feel all that different. Lacking in immersive world-building, these sections are repetitive ... Holland’s lush descriptions help to transcend the familiar beats and cyclical structure of The God of Endings.
In showing the ways that many of us perform public selves not at all reflective of our personal natures, Holland challenges the ways that we tell stories about ourselves. In doing so, she has infused the vampire novel with new blood. The God of Endings becomes a meditation on the ways that eternal life requires a constant reckoning with the sins of the mortal.
The novel is full of the suspense of living a double life and figuring out how to go on when you have very little left to give. Recommended for fans of literary vampire stories that focus on the struggles of immortality.
A reflective and poetic take on the nature of immortality ... Holland’s refreshing vampires lean philosophical as they struggle with immense grief and loneliness. The intrinsic magic of her worldbuilding, meanwhile, creates a consistent feeling of mystery.
Through decadently vivid prose—which could have been streamlined at times—this hefty novel meditates on major themes such as life, love, and death with exceptional acumen. The final questions in the book—'How presumptuous is the gift of life? What arrogance is implicit in the act of love that calls another into existence?'—serve as an anchor to meditations on these themes found throughout.