Book Review: When October Ends by by JM Lee Fantasy
When October Ends, by JM Lee, is a novel about a middle school werewolf named Zaina. She grows up on an isolated Island after an environmental disaster has changed the earth and killed off all the humans. Now the earth is inhabited by strange beasts like werewolves and carnivorous butterflies. In this first novel in the series, Zaina begins to transform and become more animalistic. She also learns she is part of a prophecy that predicts she will save the world. Will she for fill her destiny or will the world succumb to an unknown force threatening to destroy everything.
I read an older version of the book so I'm sure the book has improved since then and is even better than it used to be.
Zaina is a twelve year old werewolf isolated on an island and only knows about werewolves. During this novel, she discovers other lifeforms exist, like carnivorous butterflies and witches. She suspects that humans may still exist as well. She meets a host of new friends who help her on the path of for filling the prophecy predicting she will save the world.
This book is not a stand alone novel so you will have to read the other novels to get the full story. What Zaina is saving the world from is not uncovered in this first book, nor are the specifics of the prophecy. Hopefully, the reader will discover these answers in books two and three.
The book jumps around quickly so you really need to read closely to stay with the story. The book was written by a twelve year old and published when she was thirteen so I was expecting to move fast compared to a similar book written by an adult. The fact that the book was written by a twelve year old was what initially drew me to read the novel. My curiosity of what a twelve year old would write about had to be quenched. I'm glad I read it, considering her age, she did a remarkable job on her first novel and I can't wait to read the second one. It's wonderful to see a young person committing to a task as hard as writing a novel. Most adult writers I know can't finish a first novel where as JM Lee has finished two and is currently working on a third.
The novel portrays middle school kids accurately, down to the way they talk and think, even petty things they would tease each other about. One problem I had was how easily Zaina took the death of her mother in the beginning. She was off to school the very next day. Zaina's character does reflect on her mother's death throughout the novel, but I think a child of her age would be more devastated.
The novel currently is self-published and does have numerous punctuation and word misuse problems throughout. I heard when I met JM Lee that a publisher has picked up her trilogy so I'm sure newer versions of the story put out by the publisher will have these errors fixed. Other than the typos, I thought the story was well put together, and as long as books two and three answer all the readers questions, will be a good series to read especially for readers eleven to fifteen in age. I do recommend, When October Ends, especially to the age group above, but adults may enjoy the novel as well so give it a try.