My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gee, nice title. Spoilers…
As an entry in this year’s New Bizarro Author Series, Tiffany Scandal gives us something very different with the standout There’s No Happy Ending. This series is something I’ve looked forward to every year since its inception because it gives us new authors and new voices in fiction that we haven’t read before, and the results are often unique and in some ways challenging.
This is the case with There’s No Happy Ending. The story revolves around Isobel and Dresden, and couple who plan to get married. However, Dresden comes from money and his mother does not approve of his plans to wed Isobel. In addition, the entire world, buildings and people included, are literally falling apart for reasons unknown.
To start off, the book is bleak. It doesn’t let you down with its title or description. This is not a book I would recommend for the seriously depressed. Or maybe I would, and say “Remember, at least the world isn’t falling apart.” Yet there’s still something that grabs the reader. One thing that makes this book so different from the other entries is the lack of humor. That’s not say that there aren’t a couple of funny moments to be had. But the humor is used sparingly, and it’s a far more serious book than the others in this year’s series.
It’s a love story in its purest form, as Isobel tries to find Dresden and Dresden tries to escape the clutches of his mother to reunite with Isobel. Even as the world is falling apart, the characters never lose sight of their desire to find one another. And, despite how it may sound, this central character trait comes off as endearing rather than annoying, something that isn’t always easy to accomplish. You find yourself rooting for the main characters and wanting them to find each other before the end of the world. And it’s not a cheesy love story by any means. This is probably why this otherwise bleak book is so tolerable: In a world suffering from the worst case of entropy imaginable, the author gives the reader something to hope for, to watch two likable characters do everything they can just to be with one another, even as the world ends around them.
The prose flows beautifully. While not lyrical, it’s clean with few errors and the words roll over your eyes and mind smoothly with no discomfort. It makes it very easy to read and enjoy the book. As I’ve stated in other reviews, technical errors really bug me, but there are very few to break the flow of the prose and keeps the reader trapped in the book.
That’s not to say that everything is hunky dory. There is an unanswered question or two that leave the reader at a bit of a loss. It’s probably supposed to be left up to interpretation, but it still becomes an annoyance. An oddity and a minor blemish on an otherwise great first novel.
If you’re looking for a book that, while part of the bizarro genre, is rather bleak and yet manages to inspire the reader to hope in its own way, this is the book for you. Simply keep in mind the usual bizarro humor is kept at a minimum and remember that, of course, there’ no happy ending.
There’s No Happy Ending by Tiffany Scandal earned 4 entropic zombies out of 5.