So This Is How It Ends (Avatars Series #1)

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Overview

Something was different. She stepped hesitantly out of the subway car, her boots sounding even louder now. What was it? The graffiti. Had that been there before? Emblazoned across the far wall in huge silver letters: The end has come.

In New York, Kali wakes to an empty subway car, and an even emptier city. Venus and Gus survive an earthquake in Los Angeles and realize they have to deal with more than just the aftershocks. In Chile, Tigre finds himself in an unfamiliar jungle, ...

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Overview

Something was different. She stepped hesitantly out of the subway car, her boots sounding even louder now. What was it? The graffiti. Had that been there before? Emblazoned across the far wall in huge silver letters: The end has come.

In New York, Kali wakes to an empty subway car, and an even emptier city. Venus and Gus survive an earthquake in Los Angeles and realize they have to deal with more than just the aftershocks. In Chile, Tigre finds himself in an unfamiliar jungle, and strangely not alone. And Amon, in Egypt, can see his path but is blind to the full picture.

They are suddenly trapped in a deserted world, five teenagers with no hope of escape. Why have they survived? What force—or intelligence—connects them? Drawn inexorably toward one another, they only know their future involves an experience outside anything they could have imagined. Fantasy newcomer Tui T. Sutherland creates a future in which teens have the power to complete the destruction of Earth—or to save it.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Compelling action melds effectively with religious mythology, a well-developed cast, and terrifyingly realistic future world elements.”
Publishers Weekly
With a premise reminiscent of Lost, Sutherland's apocalyptic time-travel fantasy kicks off her Avatars series with a far-flung cast of characters, each with something to hide-then casually introduces the end of the human race. Eighteen-year-old Kali can psychically start fires or touch off explosions when she loses control of her anger; Gus, who is infatuated with preteen singing star Venus, becomes her protector when strange events begin to happen; Tigre, a Chilean veterinary assistant, discovers that he can control the rain. Chapter heads tell of an "extrication" in progress, and soon the majority of people on earth seem to have vanished. Kali finds herself alone in the New York subway system, Tigre is taken by strange monkey-like creatures to a nearby town where all the people have disappeared, and Gus and Venus find a letter from his brother implying some great catastrophe in the past. Each of the travelers begins hearing voices in their heads, telling them to move in a certain direction, toward an ultimate "gathering place"-and accumulating friends along the way, such as a giant bird named Quetzie and an ominous elderly man named General Pepper. Sutherland dispenses pieces to the puzzle in small drips, including the "Great Wipeout of year forty," which purged the earth of technology, and leads up to an outcome that recalls P.D. James's The Children of Men. The author answers some questions at the conclusion but leaves many more unanswered, making volume two as much of a must-read as this one. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
It's the end of the world as we know it, and five teenagers are feeling anything but fine. They've been plucked from their lives in 2012 and thrown ahead 75 years into the future. They aren't your usual teenagers, either. Kali has survived a number of disasters. Tigre has an affinity with animals and runs without a goal during the storms that dog him. Venus is a wildly popular pop star who got her start as a preteen. Gus, orphaned at 14, lives with his older brother in Los Angeles. The fifth teenager, Amon, has always known just how special he is. All five are drawn together from around the world for a special purpose. The title says it all: they are avatars, mortal incarnations of gods from various pantheons, brought together to determine which pantheon will reign supreme through combat. That the rest of the world's population had to be devastated in the process is a minor issue to these gods, traditionally unconcerned with the fate of humans. Gus, however, is the monkey wrench in the mix. He was never intended to be an avatar, but has become one nevertheless. Sutherland is an innovative and eloquent writer, creating complex characters and handling a complicated plot told from different perspectives with ease. She has a keen ear for convincing dialog, and she injects humor and hope into what seems to be a hopeless and humorless situation. The mythological elements are handled well, and readers with a passing knowledge of them will enjoy searching out the allusions, which are not always obvious. The story ends with a cliffhanger; readers will be simultaneously satisfied and clamoring for more. (Avatars, Book One.). KLIATT Codes: S*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high schoolstudents. 2006, HarperCollins, 353p., $16.99.. Ages 15 to 18.
—Donna Scanlon
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Mankind has finally outwitted itself, and crystal technology rules the day. From three corners of the world, five diverse teenagers seem to be the lone human survivors, until they begin to meet very strange pockets of people who cause them to believe that a significant time warp has occurred. What fate brings the teens together? Are the guiding voices heard only in their heads friends or foes? Can the rock star, Venus, forge an honest friendship with the lighting crew man, Gus? Can Tigre, who has always been more comfortable with animals than people trust the giant quetzal that promises him her protection? What about Kali, who seems plagued by strange disasters; does trouble follow her, or does she possess supernatural powers yet to be unleashed? And, what is the role of Amon who seems to be undaunted by the cataclysmic destruction that all are facing? This multi-layered futuristic novel offers a unique perspective for the science fiction audience. Designated as "Book One," the author promises more beyond what seems to be the end of the world.
KLIATT - KLIATT Review
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2006: It's the end of the world as we know it, and five teenagers are feeling anything but fine. They've been plucked from their lives in 2012 and thrown ahead 75 years into the future. They aren't your usual teenagers, either. Kali has survived a number of disasters. Tigre has an affinity with animals and runs without a goal during the storms that dog him. Venus is a wildly popular pop star who got her start as a preteen. Gus, orphaned at 14, lives with his older brother in Los Angeles. The fifth teenager, Amon, has always known just how special he is. All five are drawn together from around the world for a special purpose. The title says it all: they are avatars, mortal incarnations of gods from various pantheons, brought together to determine which pantheon will reign supreme through combat. That the rest of the world's population had to be devastated in the process is a minor issue to these gods, traditionally unconcerned with the fate of humans. Gus, however, is the monkey wrench in the mix. He was never intended to be an avatar, but has become one nevertheless. Sutherland is an innovative and eloquent writer, creating complex characters and handling a complicated plot told from different perspectives with ease. She has a keen ear for convincing dialog, and she injects humor and hope into what seems to be a hopeless and humorless situation. The mythological elements are handled well, and readers with a passing knowledge of them will enjoy searching out the allusions, which are not always obvious. The story ends with a cliffhanger; readers will be simultaneously satisfied and clamoring for more. Age Range: Ages 15to 18. REVIEWER: Donna Scanlon (Vol. 42, No. 1)
VOYA - Laura Panter
This first book in the new Avatars series finds five teenagers from different continents catapulted seventy-five years into the future where they are alone in deserted cities after a tragic fate has befallen the human race. Kali is a teen from Brooklyn with a major chip on her shoulder and a secret that keeps her from becoming close to anyone. In Chile, Tigre suffers from missing blocks of time, preferring the company of animals to the people around him. In Los Angeles, Gus accidentally meets pop star Venus backstage before her concert, changing both their fates. In Egypt, Amon eagerly awaits the chance to claim what he believes is rightfully his. As a mysterious force coaxes all of them toward New York City, the teens try to figure out what has happened to everyone else and why they were the ones chosen to survive. Sutherland creates a web of intrigue as each teen's fate is revealed. Mythical powers and experiments gone wrong keep readers guessing as to what will happen next. Several secondary characters are a bit too one-dimensional and a few situations are too quickly resolved, but for those readers just getting into the science fiction/fantasy genre, this purchase is recommended for both school and public libraries. Readers who enjoy a mix of science fiction and mythology with their everyday trials of teenage life will enjoy this fast-paced, action-packed novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-This creepy, futuristic title opens on the lives of five teens from various parts of the world. Through alternating narratives, readers learn that they all have strange powers that affect those around them in various ways. Then they suddenly find themselves among the few humans alive-what has felt like a day to them has been 75 years to the rest of the world. Lured to New York City by mysterious voices inside their heads, they discover why they are the only teens left and what it will mean to the world. Dealing with robotic crystal monsters, genetically altered animals, and old people with no hope, these young people must come to terms with what being an avatar means and how their powers will play out. The end of the world takes on a very different twist from series such as Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins's "Left Behind" (Tyndale House) or K. A. Applegate's "Animorphs" (Scholastic). Readers will be drawn to the well-written characters and intrigued by the unexpected, cliff-hanger ending.-June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In an opener that's stronger on character development than internal logic, Sutherland introduces a handful of teenagers with supernatural abilities who are suddenly cast seven decades into a future nearly devoid of humanity but well populated with robot predators and gene-spliced chimeras. For no evident reason beyond boosting the page count, all but one of the scattered protagonists have to travel thousands of miles, surviving various attacks in often-contrived ways in order to meet one another in New York's Central Park. There, they learn that they are each members of a particular ancient pantheon, reborn to fight one another in an upcoming struggle for supremacy. Though dropping hints of this from the series title on, the author keeps both characters and readers in the dark too long. She is also inconsistent with details and invests scenario and cast alike with a glossy, designed feel reminiscent of classier video games. That last may actually draw some readers, but so far Sutherland only promises the level of imagination and humor that Rick Riordan delivers in his similarly premised Lightning Thief (2005) and Sea of Monsters (April 2006). (Fantasy. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060750299
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Series: Avatars Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tui T. Sutherland is named after a rather noisy New Zealand bird. She loves lost civilizations and postapocalyptic stories, and she has recurring end-of-the-world dreams (perhaps a side effect of being a Buffy fan!). Tui was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and lived all over the world before ending up in Boston, where she now resides with her husband and her dog, whose superpowers include hiding half-chewed things in the couch and woofing at noises no one else can hear. Tui is also the author of the first two books in the Avatars trilogy as well as This Must Be Love.

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Read an Excerpt

Avatars, Book One: So This Is How It Ends


By Tui Sutherland

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Tui Sutherland
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060750299

Chapter One

Beginnings

Nine years ago . . .

By the time he got there, the hair salon was a smoking hole in the ground. Flames darted toward nearby buildings and then back as if they were alive. Strangely, nothing else nearby had caught on fire. It was as if the salon had spontaneously combusted inside a bubble.

Officer Bill Nichols pushed back his hat and rubbed the bridge of his nose with a sigh. A contained fire was good news, certainly, but it was going to be tough to explain in the report.

"Where's the girl?" he said.

The fire chief pointed to a small shape huddled near one of the ambulances. The area was crawling with activity—people shouting, stretchers rolling, emergency lights flashing. Around the girl, however, was an island of empty space. The emergency workers were giving her a wide berth, whether deliberately or subconsciously, Nichols couldn't tell.

"Why isn't someone taking care of her?" he asked angrily.

The fire chief shrugged, his face pale. "She didn't need taking care of," he said.

"A nine-year-old survives a fire like this and she doesn't need taking care of?" Nichols shook his head and walked away before the other man could answer.

All he could see of the girl was a long curl of dark hair snaking out from under the orange blanket.

"Hi there," he said, crouching beside her. "I'm Police Officer Bill."

No response.

"Can you tell me something about yourself? What's your name?"

Still she said nothing. The poor child was clearly traumatized.

"Listen," he said, "we're going to take care of you. You don't have to be scared."

Slowly her head lifted, and he felt a chill run through him. Her eyes were deep, pools of darkness.

Shock, he told himself. She's in shock.

"I'm not scared," she said. "My mom is coming."

Was her mom on one of the stretchers? On her way to the hospital right now? How could he begin to explain this tragedy to a nine-year-old?

"Sweetheart," he started.

"There," she said, pointing.

At that exact moment, a panicked voice called, "Kali! Kali!" Nichols turned and saw a woman fighting her way through the crowd. "My daughter was in there!" she screamed, shoving two of the perimeter officers aside.

He leaped up as she stumbled over to them. She was petite, blond, and delicate, nothing like the wiry Indian girl in the blanket. But she seized the child and clung to her, with a gasp of terror. Something about the woman made him want to protect her, even more than her daughter.

The girl wrapped her arms around her mother's shoulders. He barely caught the words as she whispered, "They were mean. I told you I didn't want a haircut."

"I know, darling, I'm sorry," the woman said, stroking her daughter's hair. "I came right back, didn't I?"

Kali buried her face in her mother's neck and nodded. The tiny woman lifted her as if she weighed nothing and turned to face Officer Nichols.

"Thank you so much," she said, her eyes huge and blue. His heart did a strange little backflip. "Thank you for taking care of Kali."

The fire chief's words popped into his head: She didn't need taking care of.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to ask your daughter a few questions," he said. "Once she's had time to recover from the shock, of course."

"Of course," Kali's mother said, smiling. "But I'm sure she doesn't remember much. And we wouldn't want to make her suffer through it all again. She's so young."

There was something oddly rehearsed about the words, as if she had said them before, but he barely registered it. He felt like he could dissolve in the blue of her eyes. Cheesy metaphors now, he thought. I wonder if she's single. I wonder if she would date a cop. I wonder how long I have to wait before it's appropriate to ask.

"Could I take her home now?" she said. "I could give you our phone number and you could come by to talk to her anytime you wanted."

It wasn't quite protocol, but it was the opportunity he'd been hoping for. He could talk to the child later, find out what she saw, and also see the mother again.

As the two of them walked away through the smoke, he caught a glimpse of dark eyes watching him over her mother's shoulder. Uneasily, he turned back to his job.

It was time to count the dead.

Six years ago . . .

The tray of instruments clattered to the floor, and Dr. Harris let out a frustrated sigh.

"Vicky, go find Tigre and have him come in here."

"No, Dad, I can help, really I can." She crouched and began picking up the scalpals, but one slipped out of her hand again with a crash. The patient on the table whimpered.

"Vicky." Dr. Harris gently took her shoulders and moved her aside. "I need Tigre."

"Fine," she spat. She slammed out of the operating room and stomped down the stairs as loudly as she could. She didn't care if she woke the whole place up. It would serve her dad right. And that stupid kid who helped him. Tigre (and what kind of name was that?) was only eleven too, just like her. He wasn't smarter than her or better than her. He was just the first kid they'd met in Chile, and now he got twenty bucks a week to help translate into Spanish for the clients.

"TEEEEE-GRAYYY!" she hollered, banging into the back room. Sure enough, all the boarders leaped to their feet and started barking. Stupid dogs. She didn't even like animals. She had to be, like, the worst veterinarian's daughter ever.

At the end of the rows of cages she could see Tigre lying on the couch, snoring away. The two feral cats that had been brought in yesterday were curled around his head . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from Avatars, Book One: So This Is How It Ends by Tui Sutherland Copyright © 2007 by Tui Sutherland. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Addicting and Creative

    This book was amazing! It is hard to find a really creative and one of a kind book these days- but I found one! Avatars So This Is How It Ends is creative and engaging. It has all the aspects of a fantastic book- romance, mystery, action/adventure- and some other cool aspects- mythology, and sci-fi. This book kept me turning the pages until the very end. A fantastic book.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Good for Teens and Adults

    As an adult who loves to read sci-fi and fantasy and who also dabbles in YA lit, I found "So This Is How It Ends" to be an enticing and exciting start to what is sure to be a series filled with adventure, self-discovery, and vivid imagery. Sutherland writes so that you can really picture the places and characters: they are your friends and the places you've traveled and the fantastical elements are the stuff of your dreams. She doesn't talk down to her readers but instead challenges them with mysteries, puzzles, and moral dilemmas.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

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    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    Kali lives in New York, and has a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe. Tigre lives in Chile. He likes animals better then people, but rainstorms make him a little twitchy and he usually ends up running in them. Sort-of. Venus is a perfect teenage pop-star that everyone adores. Almost. Amon is an Egyptian boy who thinks he's got it all figured out. And Gus is a normal teenager who lives in LA with his older brother. <BR/><BR/>You'd never imagine that any of them would ever have anything to do with each other. Much less something in common. Or that there was any way that most of them would ever meet. Most of them would agree with you. <BR/><BR/>But when the world seems to end, they are the ones left standing. <BR/><BR/>I just have to say, this was a really good book. In fact, the main reason I didn't give it a Gold Award was because the ending cliffhanger was so huge and dramatic and cliffhangery that I threw the book. It's just mean to do that when I don't have access to the next book! So, I suppose I'm being selfish in withholding the Gold Award, but it's frustrating! That, however, is a horrible reason to not read this book. Just be forewarned, and maybe have the next book coming soon. <BR/><BR/>Two more things: <BR/><BR/>Aside from the fact that there is a TV show called Avatar, and a movie in production called The Avatar, neither of which have anything to do with this story, I could totally see this as a movie. *Hint, Hint* <BR/><BR/>Tui Sutherland's website is adorable and hilarious, and I definitely recommend checking it out. <BR/><BR/>And no, I don't know her, but I bet she's cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2007

    Promising!

    I really enjoyed this book. There were some good moments of action and the ideas are very promising. I truly hope she can live up to it. I can't wait for the second book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is an outstanding tale of 5 teens who learn that they are the mortal versions of immortal gods. This book is an incredible and imaginative way to show how the world will end. This book leads of towards the second. It is a must read. I cannot wait to read the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2007

    Solidly recommend this

    This book is a nice set up for what should be a really entertaining series. We're getting sci-fi, fantasy, and what should add up to a lot of mythology in a sweet little road trip scenario, with great big battle scenes in store. Although one is ever aware that this book will only begin the story, its a pleasant serving of characters and exposition that never resorts to monologue-esque narrative, and moves honestly through environment and emotion at a pace and depth that makes it a great story on its own. I think it's a great read for about eleven yrs old through adult (accepting that the adult is a scifi/mythology fan), and is perfect for road trips, commuters (nice subway references for New Yorkers), and summer vacation. It's very tempting to read it in a weekend, you don't want to leave the characters for long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Perfect Blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction

    This novel gripped me from the first page and I don't think it ever released me even when I finished it because I'm now eagerly anticipating Book Two: Shadow Falling. Parts of the book are hauntingly realistic and it made me wonder what lays in store in our real future. It's easy to identify with the characters and I really felt their angst as they were thrown into a horrifying and twisted situation that kept getting stranger and more captivating by the page. Along with the characters, I became more and more uneasy as they tried to piece together all they knew to figure out what had happened. I don't know how Tui T. Sutherland did it, but I was slapped in the face with an unbelievable, shocking surprise near the end of the book, that I was definitely not expecting, so I think she did a great job of having slight foreshadowing throughout the book, that kept me guessing and didn't give away anything vital. To me, So This Is How It Ends was the perfect blend of fantasy and science fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2009

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    Posted April 13, 2010

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