Holland debuts with a reflective and poetic take on the nature of immortality. Ana, a young girl in the 1830s, watches her family and the rest of her village succumb to tuberculosis without knowing what’s happening. Before the disease can take her, too, an older gentleman claiming to be her grandfather arrives to whisk her away. At the moment of her death, he decides her life is worth saving and changes her into a vampire like himself. Ana slowly learns to survive in this new form—and watches everyone around her die in the process. A century-and-a-half later, Ana has taken the new name of Collette and travels to her grandfather’s country estate at his request, as he’s in need of a caretaker. She’s happy enough running a preschool for the rich out of the mansion until her hunger grows suddenly insatiable and nightmares from her past reappear. Holland’s refreshing vampires lean philosophical as they struggle with immense grief and loneliness. The intrinsic magic of her worldbuilding, meanwhile, creates a consistent feeling of mystery. The result will especially wow fans of Katherine Arden and Sophie Anderson. Agent: Jennifer Gates, Aevitas. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by Book Riot, B&N Reads, LitHub, Polygon, Library Journal, E! and more!
"With her debut, Holland has carved her name on the wall of authors whose work obliterates any discussion of literary fiction versus genre fiction because it is both. To produce a first novel that joins the ranks of writers such as Carmen Maria Machado, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Brian Evenson, and Stephen Graham Jones, to name a few, is a superb accomplishment—and one that should make everyone excited about whatever Holland publishes next."
"An atmospheric vampire tale that wrestles with existential questions of being and philosophy rather than bloodlust and gore, The God of Endings is a dark, beautifully written story about what it means to live forever, and the grief and loneliness that walk hand in hand with immortality. Slow-moving and occasionally quite grisly, Jacquelin Holland’s debut weaves elements of Slavic folklore throughout her thoroughly modern exploration of the search for meaning in a world where, for central character Collette, everything inevitably fades away."
"Holland challenges the ways that we tell stories about ourselves. In doing so, she has infused the vampire novel with new blood. The God of Endings becomes a meditation on the ways that eternal life requires a constant reckoning with the sins of the mortal."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A reflective and poetic take on the nature of immortality... Holland's refreshing vampires lean philosophical as they struggle with immense grief and loneliness."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Through decadently vivid prose... this hefty novel meditates on major themes such as life, love, and death with exceptional acumen. A new and contemplative take on the vampire novel."
"Atmospheric prose and excellent character development. Great for fans of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue."
"A masterful debut novel... Holland proves herself to be the god of endings as she ties everything together and delivers a multi- layered emotional punch at the end of the novel that both questions and affirms the nature of life and human existence.... Let’s hope that [this] is just the beginning for Jacqueline Holland."
"Sweeping and evocative, this novel is a beautiful journey through the centuries of a wholly unique life. It explores the savagery of loss and grief and the paradoxical fragility and endurance of love. It raises powerful and thought-provoking questions about motherhood, and how to live, and the ending will stay with me for a long time in the best possible way."
—Jennifer Saint, author of Elektra and Ariadne
"Holland's lush prose welcomes the reader into a new kind of vampire story, and the result is a surprising and spellbinding tale of struggle and love and protection that leaves you wondering who the real monsters are."
—Laura Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chaperone
"The God of Endings is propulsive, a compelling rumination on what makes a life worth living. Spanning centuries and continents, an immortal narrator grapples with her own humanity—or lack thereof—in this dazzling debut."
—Lily Brooks-Dalton, author of Good Morning, Midnight
DEBUT Collette is the daughter of a gravestone carver in 1830s New York. All around her is death and mourning as disease tears families apart, and it's coming to consume her. As Collette takes her final breath, her mysterious grandfather saves her by turning her immortal, but this may turn out to be more curse than blessing. The novel jumps between Collette's past and her present in 1984, where she runs an elite preschool teaching the arts. Her loneliness, however, seems to be catching up with her, causing her to curse her immortality, as she has watched the god of endings take so many loved ones. Her hunger for blood has become ravenous, and smells of smoke and ash plague her. The god of endings seems to be coming once again; what will he take this time? VERDICT Holland's well-crafted debut features atmospheric prose and excellent character development. Great for fans of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire and V. E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.—Leigh Verburg
Following a vampire across more than 200 years, this novel considers “whether this world and life in it is a kindness or an unkindness, a blessing or a curse.”
At the age of 10, Anna faces illness and death daily as an epidemic sweeps through her town. After the deaths of her father and brother, and when she's at her sickest, her grandfather arrives. Just as she’s about to succumb to the illness that killed her whole family, he transforms her into a vampire like himself. When she asks him why he did it, he replies: “This world, my dear child, all of it, right to the very end if there is to be an end, is a gift. But it’s a gift few are strong enough to receive. I made a judgment that you might be among those strong few, that you might be better served on this side of things than the other. I thought you might find some use for the world, and it for you.” The years that follow are difficult and often wrought with loss for Anna. She lives many lives over the centuries and eventually takes on the name Collette LaSange, opening a French preschool in Millstream Hollow, New York. Chapters alternate between Anna’s life beginning in the 1830s and her current life in 1984 as Collette. Notable points of tension arise when Collette tries unsuccessfully to sate her hunger, which is becoming increasingly unbearable, and as her interest in the artistic growth of a student named Leo deepens. Through decadently vivid prose—which could have been streamlined at times—this hefty novel meditates on major themes such as life, love, and death with exceptional acumen. The final questions in the book—“How presumptuous is the gift of life? What arrogance is implicit in the act of love that calls another into existence?”—serve as an anchor to meditations on these themes found throughout.
A new and contemplative take on the vampire novel.