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The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales

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An astounding tale of a dangerous quest, a talking dog, and fragmented fairy tales in an eerie post-climate collapse future. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse sta An astounding tale of a dangerous quest, a talking dog, and fragmented fairy tales in an eerie post-climate collapse future. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse started picking through trash heaps in Toronto’s abandoned subway tunnels. Day in, day out. Now, years later, Jesse meets a talking dog. Fighting illness and the hostile world aboveground, Jesse and Doggo embark on a fool’s errand to find Olivia — or die trying. Along the way, Jesse spins a series of fairy tales from threads of memories, weaving together the past, present, and future into stories of brave girls, of cunning lads, of love in the face of wickedness, and of hope in the midst of despair.


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An astounding tale of a dangerous quest, a talking dog, and fragmented fairy tales in an eerie post-climate collapse future. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse sta An astounding tale of a dangerous quest, a talking dog, and fragmented fairy tales in an eerie post-climate collapse future. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse started picking through trash heaps in Toronto’s abandoned subway tunnels. Day in, day out. Now, years later, Jesse meets a talking dog. Fighting illness and the hostile world aboveground, Jesse and Doggo embark on a fool’s errand to find Olivia — or die trying. Along the way, Jesse spins a series of fairy tales from threads of memories, weaving together the past, present, and future into stories of brave girls, of cunning lads, of love in the face of wickedness, and of hope in the midst of despair.

30 review for The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales

  1. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷₈⁷ ♠

    oh, you mean The 2020 Book of Fairy Tales??

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wish to thank NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an advanced copy of this fantastic and enchanted book. Set in a grim post-apocalyptic world after environmental collapse, conditions make survival almost impossible. Winters are unbearably cold with lethal blizzards. Summers have become impossibly hot, turning the earth into deserts and intermixed with torrential rain and tornados. There is no longer any livestock, and edible vegetation is dying. Food is scarce, and people are starving. Former dise I wish to thank NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an advanced copy of this fantastic and enchanted book. Set in a grim post-apocalyptic world after environmental collapse, conditions make survival almost impossible. Winters are unbearably cold with lethal blizzards. Summers have become impossibly hot, turning the earth into deserts and intermixed with torrential rain and tornados. There is no longer any livestock, and edible vegetation is dying. Food is scarce, and people are starving. Former diseases that have been eliminated have returned, and new unknown plagues take their toll on human life. The Vanderchucks are living in a rural area in Canada. After their neighbours have perished or fled to the Underground in the city, their mother follows with her two children, Jesse, and his younger sister, Olivia. Their father remains behind. Living in the abandoned subway tunnels under Toronto, they begin picking through trash heaps for anything edible or useful. Olivia eventually runs away in search of the father, and their mother dies. As the years pass, Jesse suffers from isolation, loneliness, and semi-starvation. Some of the scenes are ghastly as people try to survive in this devastated world. Jesse is growing old. He is accident-prone and frequently ill, living in an impoverished state in the tunnel. One day he finds a talking dog. Doggo is a mangy, thin, ugly, misshapen mutt who becomes Jesse's friend and companion. Doggo is always hungry and names Jesse "The Food Bringer." Jesse considers Doggo to be stupid but loves him dearly. Their conversations are so hilarious I often found myself laughing out loud despite the hopeless circumstances. After becoming sick with an infectious disease, Jesse is banished from the Underground. He ventures into the outside world with Doggo for the first time in 35 years in the tunnel. He finds the state of nature and weather to have become even worse than he remembered. Jesse has been entertaining himself and the receptive Doggo by telling half-remembered fairy tales. When his memory fails him, he makes up wonderful, hopeful tales of beautiful women, handsome princes, animals, and mythical creatures. He wanders the desolate, ruined landscape with Doggo, hoping to find his long-lost sister and their father. Even with its anguish and gloomy background, I adored the story up to about the 60% point. I found the latter part of the book quite melancholy because most of the humour that relieved the post-apocalyptic tale was greatly diminished. I thought that Jesse deserved a happier ending. The change in tone, further illnesses and accidents by the elderly Jesse lead to a more sombre atmosphere. I greatly admired this debut book by Emily Brewes. This was a work of vivid imagination and fictional world-building. The storyline was well done, and the author managed to make the characters and the future world situation completely believable. I definitely want to read her next book! 4.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes is a dystopian science fiction fantasy. The main character in this one has grown up in his dystopian “after” world in which his family had joined others in hiding underground when the end of times came. However, one of the children runs away from the family and had never returned. Jesse Vanderchuck is now grown and has determined that it is time for him to leave the home he has known growing up and go in search of his sister that disappeared from t The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes is a dystopian science fiction fantasy. The main character in this one has grown up in his dystopian “after” world in which his family had joined others in hiding underground when the end of times came. However, one of the children runs away from the family and had never returned. Jesse Vanderchuck is now grown and has determined that it is time for him to leave the home he has known growing up and go in search of his sister that disappeared from the underground years before. As Jesse goes on his journey readers are told the “fairy tales” by way of Jesse’s memory. I have to say this was sort of a rather strange one as you go from the main story to each of the tales along the way. I found myself more caught up and wanting to know more of Jesse, his talking dog and his current world more so than enjoying the tales he told along the way and wanting a deeper story on that front. In the end I found this one to be an OK read that went by quickly. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Avani ✨

    The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes is a Fantasy Dystopian novel with the main character, Jesse who has been born in the world after the event, and is hiding with his family. I liked the concept where we get to read some fairy tales from Jesse's memory. But the book went by very fast without leaving any impact as such. A good one time read. ___ Thanks to NetGalley and Publisher for eARC The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes is a Fantasy Dystopian novel with the main character, Jesse who has been born in the world after the event, and is hiding with his family. I liked the concept where we get to read some fairy tales from Jesse's memory. But the book went by very fast without leaving any impact as such. A good one time read. ___ Thanks to NetGalley and Publisher for eARC

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alanna King

    I want to confess that I'm having trouble reading anything dystopian these days because the truth is just too imaginable during the pandemic. I absolutely loved the setting of this book....something homegrown where I can imagine the PATH system in Toronto becoming a shelter, and the wilds of Northern Ontario becoming a haven. The story itself is bleak and frustrating, and continuously full of dark imagery of survival. The relationships between our lady and her family and neighbours are fleeting I want to confess that I'm having trouble reading anything dystopian these days because the truth is just too imaginable during the pandemic. I absolutely loved the setting of this book....something homegrown where I can imagine the PATH system in Toronto becoming a shelter, and the wilds of Northern Ontario becoming a haven. The story itself is bleak and frustrating, and continuously full of dark imagery of survival. The relationships between our lady and her family and neighbours are fleeting at best. There are small sparks of human compassion and generosity but ultimately this main character is very alone, except for Doggo. The fairy tales themselves are brilliant and an oasis each time in this otherwise wretched existence. I very much enjoyed the structure of the book, and each phase had a satisfying transition into the next one. I would like to have a cup of coffee with Emily Brewes because I think we are remarkably unlike. Her philosophy on life must be very interesting to have accomplished such a book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dewi

    Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is set in a dystopian future in which the earth has been destroyed by people who have ruined the climate, resulting in extreme weather making it uninhabitable. Hence why people have started living underground. Jesse Vanderchuck moves underground with his little sister Olivia and his mother, but Olivia runs away at some point, leaving Jesse and his mom behind. Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is set in a dystopian future in which the earth has been destroyed by people who have ruined the climate, resulting in extreme weather making it uninhabitable. Hence why people have started living underground. Jesse Vanderchuck moves underground with his little sister Olivia and his mother, but Olivia runs away at some point, leaving Jesse and his mom behind. Upon meeting a talking dog, Jesse decides to go above ground to look for his sister while battling illness and the hostile climate. During their journey, Jesse tells all sorts of fairy tales. To be completely honest, I primarily requested this book for its beautiful cover art and its intriguing title. Even though it started off slow, I found myself not being able to stop reading once I had warmed up to the storyline. It definitely is not your typical dystopian novel. This book is very interesting and somewhat chaotic at the same time. The fairytales were definitely my favourite bits to read, they were truly refreshing. I was very neutral about Jesse as a main character because they were not written in a way that would have you form a strong opinion about them. To be honest, I am unsure of whether Jesse is a boy or girl (not that it matters for the story). Set on this gloomy version of earth, filled with anguish and despair, I really enjoyed the story. The tone of the story followed along accurately with Jesse's decline in health. Brewes' novel has a very interesting premise, and I think people should definitely give this book a go, even though I know it will not be everyone's cup of tea.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Shaw

    The Doomsday Book of Fairytales an original and haunting yet bleak shape-shifter of a novel. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future Ontario (some Toronto, mostly Northern Ontario) in which humanity has moved underground. Climate change has resulted in volatile weather patterns, food shortages, and the rise of new diseases. The protagonist, Jesse, is one of the many people just trying to survive. At the beginning of the novel, we get some background on Jesse's past: their mother ran away with Jes The Doomsday Book of Fairytales an original and haunting yet bleak shape-shifter of a novel. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future Ontario (some Toronto, mostly Northern Ontario) in which humanity has moved underground. Climate change has resulted in volatile weather patterns, food shortages, and the rise of new diseases. The protagonist, Jesse, is one of the many people just trying to survive. At the beginning of the novel, we get some background on Jesse's past: their mother ran away with Jesse and their sister, Olivia, to the underground, leaving behind their father on their northern property. Jesse's sister, Olivia, left the underground as a young adult. Decades later Jesse makes the choice to leave the underground in search of Olivia along with their pet dog, Doggo. The bulk of the story follows this journey, but the story also includes flashbacks to significant moments in Jesse's life. Most importantly, the main narrative is interspersed with fairytales of Jesse's own creation. I use the pronouns "they/them" to describe Jesse because their gender is never specified: this is an element that I really liked. Formally, I really enjoyed this novel and I think it is well done. The use of flashbacks and fairy tale interludes to break up the central narrative is effective. I also liked the use of magical realism throughout. All in all, it's a very original novel that combines dystopian fiction with magical realism and fairytales in a unique and skillful manner. For some reason, however, the story didn't entirely land with me all the time, and I feel like the end drags a little bit. I don't think this is a problem with the novel itself so much as a matter of personal taste. I also didn't feel personally connected to Jesse. At the end I was left wondering, okay, what did Jesse learn from this journey? What is the message? I don't know if there is one. The story definitely explores themes like connection and kinship, particularly between humans and non-humans. Further, being climate fiction, there is also an implicit exploration of climate issues and the structures that led to societal collapse. However, I wanted these elements to be explored a bit more or teased out more explicitly. And also, when I say it is a bleak novel, I mean it is BLEAKKKK. And this is coming from someone who typically enjoys bleak things. But at times it felt like an onslaught of heaviness without much of a reprieve. Overall, this is a very interesting story that combines genres in a novel way; however, there are some elements that I did not personally connect with. I would recommend this for people interested in dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction and dark fairytales.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales. Most readers would not be interested in post-apocalyptic books as our country struggles through a global health crisis and infections continue to soar but I'm not that kind of reader. I'm always up for a post-apocalyptic book whether it involves zombies, climate change, the end of the world or all of the above. Bring it on! ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Jesse Vanderchuck is one of the remaining survivors of his family. After cl Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales. Most readers would not be interested in post-apocalyptic books as our country struggles through a global health crisis and infections continue to soar but I'm not that kind of reader. I'm always up for a post-apocalyptic book whether it involves zombies, climate change, the end of the world or all of the above. Bring it on! ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Jesse Vanderchuck is one of the remaining survivors of his family. After climate change has turned the country into a desolate landscape and his mother dies, Jesse decides to leave the safe haven of his underground home in search of his sister, Olivia, who left over a decade ago. As Jesse searches this new world for his sister, he meets an unlikely friend, a talking dog, and encounters kind people at a time when survival means hurting others, and worse. To pass the time, Jesse concocts his own version of the fairy tales his father used to read to Olivia when their family was intact and the world hadn't ended. When the siblings meet, truths are revealed and Jesse and Olivia must decide the next steps in their personal journeys. If you're looking for suspense and drama and good old fashioned zombie whacking, this isn't it. This is a thoughtful narrative about facing the truth; the truth of the world and the truth of your family. The writing is good, introspective and thought-provoking. Jesse spends most of his journey discussing his past and how much his life has changed since humanity was irrevocably altered by climate change. His path and perspective on life is constantly shifting by the people he meets, mostly kind and helpful, and the support and care he gets from strangers boosts his spirits, and reminds him such kindness is rare. I loved Doggo, but I'm biased because I love dogs. No surprise, then, that Doggo was my favorite character. He is loyal (as dogs are) and mostly preoccupied with having a full stomach. But, his companionship is a comfort and solace for Jesse, and he soon realizes that he needs Doggo more than Doggo needs him. The tone of the narrative is surreal, but not mystical or magical. Why shouldn't a dog be able to talk during a catastrophic world event? The world has gone topsy turvy. A talking dog is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I also enjoyed the fairy tales Jesse told; a few of them were familiar with slight differences. I began to understand that the tales reflected Jesse's (bleak) optimism and his hope for survival despite his current circumstances. Happily, the fairy tales always end well, unlike the true endings of these tales. I'm not going to lie: I was really upset about what happened to Doggo. Why? I wanted to wail. Whyyy? When the siblings do finally meet, it's almost anti-climatic, not corny, no gushing or hugging. There's no time for that when humanity struggles to survive. Jesse and Olivia spend time together and as a result, come to terms with the unresolved issues that forced their mother to take her children, leave their father behind and seek refuge underground. The ending is honest, not hopeless, and positive in many ways. Jesse has survived up to this point, and so has the people he's met, including his sister. And he and they will continue to survive. This is not a typical dystopian novel, but if you enjoy those books and looking for something a little different to read, give this a try. I look forward to the author's next book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dollie

    Thank you to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. The Earth’s climate has collapsed. Floods, droughts, fires and extinction of life are happening everywhere on the surface of the planet. Fifteen-year-old Jesse Vanderchuck and her six-year-old sister, Olivia, live in Trout Creek, Canada, with their parents. Due to lack of resources, such as food and fuel, they must leave their home. Their father refuses to go, so their mother leaves with the girls and heads to Thank you to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. The Earth’s climate has collapsed. Floods, droughts, fires and extinction of life are happening everywhere on the surface of the planet. Fifteen-year-old Jesse Vanderchuck and her six-year-old sister, Olivia, live in Trout Creek, Canada, with their parents. Due to lack of resources, such as food and fuel, they must leave their home. Their father refuses to go, so their mother leaves with the girls and heads to Toronto on foot. There, people live underground, making homes for themselves in the subway tunnels under the city. Work and food are both hard to come by. Jesse gets a job sorting through junk heaps looking for anything of value to sell. Olivia is despondent over leaving their father and blames their mother for leaving him. After six years underground, when she is eleven or twelve, Olivia leaves without a word. After years underground, their mother becomes sick, which, because everyone is so crammed together in the tunnels, makes her a pariah. Jesse, who is now an old woman at thirty-five, stays with her until her mother's death. Before long, a little dog comes into her space asking her for food. She doesn’t think twice about taking in and feeding a dog who talks. She’s just happy for the companionship. Jesse soon becomes sick herself, and although she lives through the illness, there are dire consequences and she is banished to the surface. She and little Doggo slowly make their way back toward Trout Creek, to the only other home Jesse ever knew. Jesse regales Doggo with fairy tales to entertain them both on their journey. I won’t say anymore, so as not to spoil this story for future readers. There are no glass slippers or gingerbread cottages in Jesse’s fairy tales. Nevertheless, I thought every page of this clever and well-crafted tale was an adventure. Ms. Brewes is a thoughtful and creative writer and I’m so happy I read this book. It had its own unique vibe and I feel it’s perhaps one of the best books I’ve read this entire year.

  10. 4 out of 5

    C

    Upfront "housekeeping": Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this book. There are some spoilers in this review. Also, if you want to read my full (and probably somewhat verbose) but spoiler-free review, you can go to my personal blog. Don't worry, you'll get the highlights and baseline here, plus the aforementioned spoilers. You'll just get moar words on my blog. Overall, man, this was a slough for me. The description of the book (you can see it here) is not bad. It is, in fact, a credit to th Upfront "housekeeping": Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this book. There are some spoilers in this review. Also, if you want to read my full (and probably somewhat verbose) but spoiler-free review, you can go to my personal blog. Don't worry, you'll get the highlights and baseline here, plus the aforementioned spoilers. You'll just get moar words on my blog. Overall, man, this was a slough for me. The description of the book (you can see it here) is not bad. It is, in fact, a credit to the marketing department of Dundurn Press. Why do I say that's a credit to the marketing department? Well, to be blunt, for me, this book was not an astounding tale, about a dangerous quest, nor in an eerie world. Jesse did fight illness. (view spoiler)[In fact, Jesse's illness might be the biggest thing that the "or die trying" part of the description could point to. Which makes it seem much less like "danger abounds!" than "a preexisting condition that could help the protagonist shuffle off the mortal coil." (hide spoiler)] The world above and Underground was hostile, I guess, but it felt like it was hostile in the same way that hiking in the true wilderness can be hostile. The hostility of both above and Underground is, as you probably won't be the least bit surprised to see, also is rooted in interactions with humans and human society. Not to minimize the climate changes we're seeing today, but it didn't set off "THIS IS HORRIBLE, HOW COULD PEOPLE SURVIVE?!?" bells. It barely even made sense, based on the description of the changes provided, why people would say "Screw this, I'm going Underground to be safe!" especially when later in the book, Jesse, their sister, and so most likely others, were clearly living above those Underground and while there was serious degredation to lifestyle, it honestly still sounded better than what pioneers faced. As for the tale and quest, as I said above, they didn't do it for me. The fairy tales were nice and decently written, but as with so much else about this book, they were just there. They didn't seem more than vaugely (if even that) inspired by issues, dangers, or events during Jesse's journey and they didn't seem to add anything to anything.(view spoiler)[ They didn't even seem to reflect the possibilitiy that is hinted at, in a kind of throw-away manner, that Jesse is actually still in the Underground but getting the medical help needed to convert them into food or something else for those still in the Underground to consume. Even Doggo's ability to talk was thrown under the Miata of "Jesse could be completely off their rocker," because how else would you get a talking dog? (hide spoiler)] Can I just say that the denouement of this story really didn't do it for me? I can't get into it too much becase again, dun-dun-duuuun spoilers, but it was just so unrealistic to me, that I am ashamed I almost wrapped this review without mentioning it. (view spoiler)[To have Jesse just stumble into a location and have Olivia stumble across them there just boggles my mind. I get it, the area this story takes place might not have an abundance of small settlements all over the place, but then make that clear. Make it clear that the path between the Underground and the Vanderchuck family home has like 3 small cities and maybe 3 more smaller villages in between, so that the chances of them both (from different directions) ending up in the same location seem more likely but the probabilities seem just so miniscule that I honestly can't believe an editor didn't circle this in red ink with the annotation of "Really?! That's how you have Jesse and Olivia reunite?!" I mean, if Olivia was out scavanging and the landscape was so freaking dangerous, wouldn't she have been entering all places super cautiously, trying to make sure that she would be the only scavenger about? Wouldn't Jesse have left a trail an experienced scavenger would see and probably go "naaah, not safe, onto the next thing."? Even if she hadn't, once she saw a person in there who was either sauced or physically ill enough to possibly be a danger to others, wouldn't she, instead of going to investigate further, have noped on out of there? Especially when it's been so long that she probably wouldn't be able to see that person as her sibling Jesse? The fact that she could correctly identify Jesse after such a long time and after Jesse suffered such significant physical issues is almost as unlikely as how they meet up. The whole idea is just nonsensical to me. (hide spoiler)] Maybe this is more of a reflection on me than on the book, but I didn't connect with the characters, their world, or the point of this story. At all. I barely even connected with Doggo and trust me, that should be ringing warning bells to you, if you know me. That Doggo became a kind of guiding beacon, a reason to do something besides give up and die didn't even really reach me on an emotional level, although I think a lot of dog or pet owners, myself included, can identify with. (view spoiler)[I know Doggo's death was one of the biggest things for some other readers and don't get me wrong, yeah, that wasn't cool, but it was barely a blip on my radar. "Dog dies due to eating something that wasn't safe" just.. well, dogs do that. It's sad, it's even more sad when that could've been prevented by their human caretaker, but in the case of Doggo, it's not like Jesse let him eat something that he knew would be the end of Doggo or with intended malice. I can feel some of you judging me as a cruel, heartless [beep] but... it just didn't have much of an emotional punch to me. Which, honestly, my dog is probably very thankful for, she doesn't like it when I'm sad. (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mab

    Brewes’ novel has an exciting premise, with climate change ultimately leading to an increase in disease, severe storms, and food shortages, causing many to migrate underground in Toronto’s subway system. The story follows Jesse Vanderchuck as she looks back at how she got to the underground, her sister running away, and her mother’s death. Once her mother dies, Jesse decides she needs to leave the underground to find her sister, and while doing so, she comes across Doggo, a talking dog, who tags Brewes’ novel has an exciting premise, with climate change ultimately leading to an increase in disease, severe storms, and food shortages, causing many to migrate underground in Toronto’s subway system. The story follows Jesse Vanderchuck as she looks back at how she got to the underground, her sister running away, and her mother’s death. Once her mother dies, Jesse decides she needs to leave the underground to find her sister, and while doing so, she comes across Doggo, a talking dog, who tags along with her. Jesse tells Doggo fairy tales to distract her and Doggo from hunger until the dog eventually falls ill and dies on the surface. Jesse’s sister, Olivia, stumbles upon her, and the two are reunited spend a few seasons together before Olivia leaves to search out the family she built in her years on the surface, leaving Jesse to fend for herself. The novel has a slow start, and I struggled to get into the story, but the fairy tales between the main storyline were entertaining and helped keep me going until it gained more momentum. Towards the end, the chapters were jumbled and sporadic in both length and context, coordinating with Jesse’s decline in health. From the time in the book when Jesse meets Doggo, I wonder if she has fallen delirious ill and is imagining everything from that point onward. There’s are mentions of dreams she has about being in the elevator shaft with other sick people and her body being prepped for production. This reinforces that Jesse never made it to the surface, never meet Doggo, and never reunited with her sister. Also, she never finishes the tale about the lonely king, though she starts it multiple times; this reiterates to me that she’s alone somewhere, rather than with a talking dog or her sister. Brewes’ novel is interesting though a little chaotic. The fairy tales are a nice touch to break up the main storyline, and being from Canada, I loved that there were mentions of locations I’ve been to and have first-hand knowledge of (who doesn’t love that?). In the end, the book is definitely worth a worth. If you've enjoyed my review, please visit my blog, Mab's Musing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anita Fajita Pita

    Publication set for June 2021 The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is a surprising dystopian story that got into my head. Jesse searches for his runaway sister, 35 years after the fact, from The Underground where his mother fled with them after global disasters heralded an end of times scenario in the works. Olivia never forgave their mother for spiriting them away from the sky and their dad. The memories of his younger life clash with the reality that he is a sick old man, barely capable of scroungin Publication set for June 2021 The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is a surprising dystopian story that got into my head. Jesse searches for his runaway sister, 35 years after the fact, from The Underground where his mother fled with them after global disasters heralded an end of times scenario in the works. Olivia never forgave their mother for spiriting them away from the sky and their dad. The memories of his younger life clash with the reality that he is a sick old man, barely capable of scrounging enough food to survive one more day by scavenging heaps of trash for things he can barter. He's something like 50, sick with a racking cough, and emaciated. But, he comes across a talking dog and a will to search and live wells up in him, and so he finally undertakes the search for his sister. Interspersed with memories blended into fairy tales, Jesse and Doggo trudge across The Underground and find the entirety of it almost as miserable as Jesse's life has been. Their journey is perilous and strenuous, and Jesse forges each step with these tales to keep them going. Inside the fairy tales are lessons and memories that also tell a tale. 3.5 Would recommend for fans of character centered dystopians and fairytales. The tales in it are quite good. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early e-copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leah M

    Rounded to 3.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. I am providing my honest opinion voluntarily. CONTENT WARNING: death of a parent, gore, death, death of an animal, suici I was definitely intrigued by the combination of a dangerous quest, a TALKING DOG, and the prospect of fairy tales combined with a dystopian story. However, the premise didn’t quite deliver as promised. Jesse lives in a post-apocalyptic world caused by climate change. The world has been decima Rounded to 3.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. I am providing my honest opinion voluntarily. CONTENT WARNING: death of a parent, gore, death, death of an animal, suici I was definitely intrigued by the combination of a dangerous quest, a TALKING DOG, and the prospect of fairy tales combined with a dystopian story. However, the premise didn’t quite deliver as promised. Jesse lives in a post-apocalyptic world caused by climate change. The world has been decimated by extreme weather conditions and new diseases, and this hit home … hard, after the events of the last few years. Within the first few pages, it had me wondering if we’d be living in abandoned subway tunnels in the not-so-distant future. But that was about as deep as my thoughts went while reading this book. The characters are difficult to connect with, since there isn’t much personality to them. I loved Doggo, who is basically your average dog, given the ability to speak. He just kind of focuses on food and belly rubs. Jesse just kind of goes about his day, doing what is expected of him, and not having any desire for anything else. Until one day, he decides he wants to go find his sister. I’m not sure why he waited an incredibly long time after she booked it (35 years), especially since it was decades since he actually had any ties to anyone or anything in the underground. Along the journey, there are snippets of these strange fairy tales interspersed with the main story. But I didn’t really understand why — they didn’t seem to have any bearing on the story. Maybe it was signifying that Jesse was slowly losing touch with reality? Along with the presence of a talking dog? I did like the fairy tales themselves, especially since they weren’t the typical and familiar ones that I’ve heard of in the past. The story was a fast and fairly enjoyable read, but it just didn’t feel as satisfying as I had hoped. There weren’t really great moments of action, there weren’t a lot of plot twists, and there wasn’t a lot of resolution or closure. I found myself unable to put down the book as I got close to the end, hoping to find out for sure what happened … only to discover that I wasn’t going to get that kind of ending. And the only thing that was going to stick with me about this book is an even larger sense of concern about climate change, and a greater sense of dislike of wild rats.

  14. 4 out of 5

    James

    A strange story of a Canadian family destroyed by climate change as told by the oldest sister who tries to cope by inventing fairy tales. As dark as anything Margaret Atwood writes, minus the intentional cruelty. An interesting read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales Author: Emily Brewes Publisher: Dundurm Press Publication Date: June 8, 2021 Review Date: January 16, 2021 From the blurb: “An astounding tale about a dangerous quest in an eerie post–climate collapse world. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse starte Book Review: The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales Author: Emily Brewes Publisher: Dundurm Press Publication Date: June 8, 2021 Review Date: January 16, 2021 From the blurb: “An astounding tale about a dangerous quest in an eerie post–climate collapse world. A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse started picking through trash heaps in Toronto’s abandoned subway tunnels. Day in, day out. Then, years later, Jesse meets a talking dog. Fighting illness and the hostile world aboveground, Jesse and Doggo embark on a fool’s errand to find Olivia — or die trying. Along the way, Jesse spins a series of fairy tales from threads of memories, weaving together the past, present, and future into stories of brave girls, of cunning lads, of love in the face of wickedness, and of hope in the midst of despair.” ——— I was initially drawn to reading this book because I read the words in the blurb: “Jesse meets a talking dog.” That’s all it took for me. I realized about half way through the book that the interspersed telling of fairy tales reminded me of The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights. The dystopian part of the book was quite depressing. Life in the Underground, working the scrap heap. I can see how we’ll get there, and am grateful that I’ll be long gone before it gets to that. I loved the book because of the fairy tales. The book is worth reading because of that. The rest of the dystopian plot, it wasn’t for me. However, the writing in the book is gorgeous. The imagery is sublime. The characters are well done. The plot is perfect, despite me not caring to read any more dystopian novels. What especially impressed me was the fairy tales, the tales themselves, and how they were interspersed with the story. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Dundurm Press for allowing me early access to this book. Best of luck to the author, Emily Brewes. This review will be posted on NetGalley and Goodreads. #netgalley #thedoomsdaybookoffairytales #dundurmpress #emilybrewes #dystopian #fairytales

  16. 4 out of 5

    Justin Bowers

    This book was provided to me by NetGalley in return for a fair review The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is the story of a boy and his talking dog in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the effects of humanity on the climate. Sounds quaint, right? The bigger aspect of the well-woven story is that our protagonist, Jesse Vanderchuck, is a very flawed individual and has let his life be swept by routine and happenstance until he does not. At his breaking point, Jesse sets out to find the sister who This book was provided to me by NetGalley in return for a fair review The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is the story of a boy and his talking dog in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the effects of humanity on the climate. Sounds quaint, right? The bigger aspect of the well-woven story is that our protagonist, Jesse Vanderchuck, is a very flawed individual and has let his life be swept by routine and happenstance until he does not. At his breaking point, Jesse sets out to find the sister who ran away from him and his mother years ago as a way to possibly regain some sense of normalcy and stability in his life. With him, of course, is his talking dog, Doggo, who pretty much kick-starts Jesse into realizing that he has just been wasting away in the Underground waiting to age and die. Along their voyage, Jesse spends some time crafting a series of fairy tales which he tells Doggo. These tales, typical in the standard format of child in distress or magical intervention, really were the highlight of this book for me. Some are very light while some are very not. As the book progresses, the reader begins to see how all the pieces fit together as reality and fable-dom become not too dissimilar. I very much enjoyed the journey this book took me on. Yes, it’s definitely not a “rainbows and sunshine” story, but the aspects of true joy found throughout really do accentuate their intention. In this tale, Ms. Brewes punctuates that there is no standard by which to live one’s life, and that obstacles are ever-present. Ultimately, it is how we choose to address and deal with said obstacles that defines who we are.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Red🏳️‍⚧️

    The eyeballs demand my service. Mine *and yours*. All praise be to Lord Oculon, to whomst I swear my fealty. https://bookshop.org/books/the-doomsd... The eyeballs demand my service. Mine *and yours*. All praise be to Lord Oculon, to whomst I swear my fealty. https://bookshop.org/books/the-doomsd...

  18. 5 out of 5

    The Old Book Barn

    Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. The Doomsday Book of fairy tales is the story of Jesse who grows up with his family underground in the post apocalyptic world. After sometime, Jesse's sister Olivia ran away. And after the death of their mother, Jesse sets out with a talking dog Doggo to find her, unsure of whether she's alive or not. The story is fresh and interesting. I couldn't make out the gender of the protagonist as Jesse was addressed as "they" throughout the story. The story turns chaotic Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. The Doomsday Book of fairy tales is the story of Jesse who grows up with his family underground in the post apocalyptic world. After sometime, Jesse's sister Olivia ran away. And after the death of their mother, Jesse sets out with a talking dog Doggo to find her, unsure of whether she's alive or not. The story is fresh and interesting. I couldn't make out the gender of the protagonist as Jesse was addressed as "they" throughout the story. The story turns chaotic at moments, but it is enjoyable. It is a fast read, emotional and thought provoking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Merissa

    Thank you to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This is such an interesting book! It follows Jesse, before and after, the world as we know it collapses from climate disasters, while intertwining with Fairy Tales, which were as equally charming as the book itself. It's unique in such an over-saturated post-apocalyptic genre. I loved the descriptions throughout, which really set the tone of the story. It was easy to read, charming, as well as exciting. Th Thank you to Dundurn Press and NetGalley for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This is such an interesting book! It follows Jesse, before and after, the world as we know it collapses from climate disasters, while intertwining with Fairy Tales, which were as equally charming as the book itself. It's unique in such an over-saturated post-apocalyptic genre. I loved the descriptions throughout, which really set the tone of the story. It was easy to read, charming, as well as exciting. The main character is relatable, as well as the settings themselves. (I might be slightly biased, since parts are set in areas I know.) I don't want to give too much away, so I'm trying to be vague... But if you like post-apocalyptic books, this one is a keeper!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becky Hansen

    I really liked this book. Dystopian fiction is one of my favorite genres and while I'm not usually impressed with new authors from publishers I don't know, something told me to give this one a chance and I'm glad that I did. Dystopian fiction always tells us about who we are now and I think Emily did a great job of highlighting our current situation with climate change. Jesse is a compelling character and the way humanity has "survived" is very interesting but my favorite part were the fairy tal I really liked this book. Dystopian fiction is one of my favorite genres and while I'm not usually impressed with new authors from publishers I don't know, something told me to give this one a chance and I'm glad that I did. Dystopian fiction always tells us about who we are now and I think Emily did a great job of highlighting our current situation with climate change. Jesse is a compelling character and the way humanity has "survived" is very interesting but my favorite part were the fairy tales and how they were woven into the story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaux

    Thank you netgalley, and the publisher for providing me with this book. When I stumbled upon this book on netgalley, what allured me first was the cover which is truly beautiful.. Then the title intrigued me, and then the description: a post-apocalyptic world where people are living in the Underground, until the main character meets a talking dog with which he will go back to the surface to find someone he has lost years ago. What I liked most about the book was its originality. There are plenty o Thank you netgalley, and the publisher for providing me with this book. When I stumbled upon this book on netgalley, what allured me first was the cover which is truly beautiful.. Then the title intrigued me, and then the description: a post-apocalyptic world where people are living in the Underground, until the main character meets a talking dog with which he will go back to the surface to find someone he has lost years ago. What I liked most about the book was its originality. There are plenty of post-apocalyptic worlds, but in Doomsday Book the story is intertwined with beautifully told fairy tales which creates an atmosphere I've never experienced before, thus it makes the reading experience really interesting. The writing style was very different when the story shifted from the actual story to the fairy tales, which shows that the author has a true talent with words. The author succeeded at drawing me into the story, and making me emotional during some parts. I really loved the relationship between the main character and Doggo, the dog, as it was funny but also sad. In a nutshell, a really original (but short) story which will make you go through all the emotions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nola

    This book is super, super weird, and I loved it! It makes you think, makes you uncomfortable, and has a great message in the end. Really worth the read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna Bull

    A truly unique story that is a combination of science fiction and fairytales. It is a dystopian journey through a world brought to its knees by climate change and how mankind choose to press on. Jesse Vanderchuck and his family fled their rural farm for the Underground of Toronto when society melted down from the world's lack of any cohesive fight against a climate catastrophe. With his mother and sister Olivia, they make a new life with other refugees who have set up a new society in the tunnel A truly unique story that is a combination of science fiction and fairytales. It is a dystopian journey through a world brought to its knees by climate change and how mankind choose to press on. Jesse Vanderchuck and his family fled their rural farm for the Underground of Toronto when society melted down from the world's lack of any cohesive fight against a climate catastrophe. With his mother and sister Olivia, they make a new life with other refugees who have set up a new society in the tunnels and subways. It really is a stark look at just what we would be forced to do to feed people when the climate has destroyed any types of farming or civilization "outside." Years after Olivia has run away and the death of his mother, Jesse realizes that there is nothing holding him Underground anymore and when he meets Doggo, the talking dog he embarks on a perilous journey outside to find Olivia. I found myself not only pulled into this story by Jesse and his journey, plus the often gallows humor of his relationship with Doggo, but also by the completely plausible, yet dark, dark possible future described here. It may seem odd to blend in the different fairytale stories but as the journey moves along and the stories change it really does all come together in a remarkably touching ending. The fact that it leaves you also questioning everything that happened is also completely surprising as well. So many things about this story will stick with me long beyond finishing it. ARC provided by Dundurn Press and NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Two thumbs up for originality. I have read many post-apocalyptic dystopian novels. This is the first one to incorparate fairy tales. I was excited going in and it ended up being a decent read. Not bad for a debut. It was a good start.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Farah Asche

    This is a post apocalyptic tale of the world after climate change has ruined the surface of the earth. Jesse lives underground scrounging through trash to survive. When Jesse gets a talking dog they decide to go above ground and find Jesse's sister. Their sister left when she was a teenager and they haven't heard from her since. During their travels Jesse tells Doggo stories to pass the time. The stories have nothing to do with their travels but are quite interesting. This makes you think about This is a post apocalyptic tale of the world after climate change has ruined the surface of the earth. Jesse lives underground scrounging through trash to survive. When Jesse gets a talking dog they decide to go above ground and find Jesse's sister. Their sister left when she was a teenager and they haven't heard from her since. During their travels Jesse tells Doggo stories to pass the time. The stories have nothing to do with their travels but are quite interesting. This makes you think about the state of the world, and what life could be like in the future. I really hope it's nothing like this. I liked the fairytales more than the actual story. I had a hard time connecting to Jesse and the purpose of their journey. I wanted more detail about the world. The fairytales were entertaining and engaging, but constantly took you out of the main story. If you like dystopian/ apocalyptic stories, and fairytales (odd combination I know) you may like this. Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather Miller

    The world as we know it has ended. Humanity has retreated to underground dwellings and lived for decades in a dim half-life. Only the crazy people opted to stay topside. Until now, when Jesse Vanderchuck decides to leave the relative safety of the tunnels and make his way to the world aboveground. . Thus begins the story of a man and his dog and a journey, a modern day fable of discovery and acceptance. Along the way, Jesse makes up stories to tell Doggo, to pass the time and to keep his mind fro The world as we know it has ended. Humanity has retreated to underground dwellings and lived for decades in a dim half-life. Only the crazy people opted to stay topside. Until now, when Jesse Vanderchuck decides to leave the relative safety of the tunnels and make his way to the world aboveground. . Thus begins the story of a man and his dog and a journey, a modern day fable of discovery and acceptance. Along the way, Jesse makes up stories to tell Doggo, to pass the time and to keep his mind from focusing too much on the difficulties ahead. This story is a quiet hero's journey, a middle aged man's coming of age, a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of loneliness and friendship, family and forgiveness. The whole book had a hard to pin down quality about it, a magical feeling both dark and delightful. There are deep issues to unpack here, butted right alongside humorous and almost childlike moments. Truly a wonderful and thought provoking story, strange and desperate and hopeful and brave.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sucharita Biswas

    'Marvellous, Emotional and Stupendous” The book, Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes can be defined in these three words. A book which takes you on a fairy tale ride in a post- apocalyptic world scenario. I, totally loved reading the book. For me it was the best book I read this year. The book not only connects you emotionally but also reminds you of your childhood with its fairy tales. To read full review, please visit www.bibliophileverse.blogspot.com 'Marvellous, Emotional and Stupendous” The book, Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales by Emily Brewes can be defined in these three words. A book which takes you on a fairy tale ride in a post- apocalyptic world scenario. I, totally loved reading the book. For me it was the best book I read this year. The book not only connects you emotionally but also reminds you of your childhood with its fairy tales. To read full review, please visit www.bibliophileverse.blogspot.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    I received an early e-book copy of this through Netgalley for my honest opinion. The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is another book where the cover was the first thing that caught my eye, and the synopsis pulled me. I was interested to see how the fairy tales were going to weave into the stories, and what this new world was going to look like. Mostly because not a lot of information was given in the synopsis, and I don't mind going into books blind. It adds to the excitement at the start of any boo I received an early e-book copy of this through Netgalley for my honest opinion. The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is another book where the cover was the first thing that caught my eye, and the synopsis pulled me. I was interested to see how the fairy tales were going to weave into the stories, and what this new world was going to look like. Mostly because not a lot of information was given in the synopsis, and I don't mind going into books blind. It adds to the excitement at the start of any book. This was a weird one, and not just because in order to outrun the destruction of Earth people basically turned into mole people. It was weird because I never really got a sense of this who Jesse was, or if he really actually felt anything. When we first meet Jesse I assumed they were a teenager, but then you found out the character in his thirties. Okay, but then he'll say things, or act, like he's still just a kid despite the fact living in this Underground, and losing his mother, aged him. Then there's the lack of any real emotion when he finds Doggo, a talking dog. I mean, it's a talking dog. A talking dog?! Then as Jesse and Doggo start their adventure on the topside we start to get a look at the Underground and the way people are living. This is where it got kind of cool seeing how people have adapted, and seems ways regressed back to old traditions, like a barber as a doctor. I really liked the fact they'd found a way to break down the human body into the mushroom patches to help feed those still alive. But, this is where more confusion hits because apparently there are trolls, or ogres, or some sort of creatures also leaving in the Underground. What?! Full stop now I have questions, but there are no answers. However, I did like the fairy tale part of this book. They are woven in very cleverly as a way to pass the time as Jesse and Doggo are walking. I think the thing that annoyed me the most about this book is how it just sort of ends. Jesse goes on this weird adventure with no food or water, hearing the voices, and probably having seizures. They just walk toward the mountains and they have a moment and the book is just over. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting here like so what was the point of this entire journey. So why three stars? Because despite the fact I'm not even a little sure what I read, the fairy tales were masterfully written, and there were some really amazing parts of this book. But, I'm just not really sure if what I read was the story of a man dying in a mushroom patch or the last adventure of a dying man. I honestly am not for sure. It is wonderfully written, and the fairy tales were my favorite part of this story. I also felt like this story had more potential if the book had been longer just under three hundred pages.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Korbin

    Thank you to the publisher for giving me an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This, unfortunately, was not for me. Which is a shame because the post-apocalyptic world and the fairytales made it sound exactly like it would be. First of all, I would say this needs a content warning. I read the first half of the book in like a day, curious about where the author was going with it. I enjoyed the presence of the talking dog even if for some reason the author tried their hardest t Thank you to the publisher for giving me an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This, unfortunately, was not for me. Which is a shame because the post-apocalyptic world and the fairytales made it sound exactly like it would be. First of all, I would say this needs a content warning. I read the first half of the book in like a day, curious about where the author was going with it. I enjoyed the presence of the talking dog even if for some reason the author tried their hardest to make him as disgusting as possible (I mean, seriously). But then the thing happened (and I'm putting the content warning here (view spoiler)[ content warning: animal death (hide spoiler)] ) and it took me two weeks to force myself to pick it up again. But if that was my only issue with this story I would have forgiven it. My real problem was that nothing really seemed to lead to anything. The fairytales lacked any real substance and I thought at least they would be relevant to what was happening in some way, especially because there was a hint early on where the doctor seemed to resemble a character from the stories, but nothing came of it. Unless there was some hidden meaning that went right over my head for some reason, they were just there for Jesse to pass the time. And the ending (view spoiler)[ was very anti-climatic. Nothing really happens, except the sister suddenly and out of nowhere decides to leave, which as another reviewer pointed out was kind of out of character for her. Then Jesse goes out on their own, except the author also tried to make it ambiguous where Jesse dreams of being in a medical facility that could perhaps mean they've imagined the entire thing without any hint as to when that could have happened or why since we're also lead to believe that Jesse imagined the dog talking so where does it start? It was all a bit... messy for my taste. (hide spoiler)] Honestly, there were so many interesting threads that were put in place that could have made for such a great story. I equally loved and was horrified by some of the things people did post-apoc to survive and I commend the creativity. It was why I was initially taken by this story. Unfortunately, the book as a whole was not a satisfying experience for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (more.books.than.days)

    You need to be okay with unresolved endings to enjoy this book to the fullest. Unlike many of the fantastical fairy tales told within its pages, there is no clear 'happily ever after' to the story. It ends with more questions than answers. From beginning to end, The Doomsday Book Of Fairy Tales centres on relationship; It is a post-apocalyptic fairy tale of sorts. A dystopian novel that reveals the clear and possible consequences of climate change, while examining familial ties, community bonds, You need to be okay with unresolved endings to enjoy this book to the fullest. Unlike many of the fantastical fairy tales told within its pages, there is no clear 'happily ever after' to the story. It ends with more questions than answers. From beginning to end, The Doomsday Book Of Fairy Tales centres on relationship; It is a post-apocalyptic fairy tale of sorts. A dystopian novel that reveals the clear and possible consequences of climate change, while examining familial ties, community bonds, and human nature. Are we naturally good, basically kind? Or are we intrinsically selfish? What lengths will we go in order to survive, and if we have no companionship, is survival even worthwhile? What is a human without someone or something to love, and receive love from in return? That connection or lack of connection characters have to one another, and to the natural world are major themes. The dystopian narrative reveals our perhaps fatal flaws as humans: a perpetual need to tell ourselves stories with happy endings to mask the nastiness of reality, and of our decimation of this earth we take for granted as our home. It also seems to reveal a genuine goodness, deep within us. An ability to self-sacrifice for the ones we love, or even for a stranger. The interplay between loneliness, desolation, community, and regrowth are what make the story so powerful. I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

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