Book Review: THE QUIET AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Lauren James

the quiet at the end of the world.png
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Series: Standalone


the quiet at the end of the world

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I don’t often read sci-fi, or ‘quiet books’, but this book is both and I really enjoyed it. After a few recent disappointments outside of my typical reads, this was a pleasant surprise.

It’s a soft sci-fi book, at the blurred boundary with dystopia. Set in a crumbling London, a part I know well, it was a lot of fun to see a vision of what my home could be like one day. I really like this boundary, as I haven’t seen lots of it – but I’ve seen lots of dystopia and hard sci-fi.

Quiet book? It’s not the pacy, action-heavy story I’m used to. It builds slowly, exploring what is humanity and the characters – which surprised me a lot. I’m not a big fan of character-centric books, but the relationship between Lowrie and Shen was brilliant, as were the characters themselves. All the hope and loneliness of being among the last humans alive. The hope was so beautiful, surrounded by decline and inevitable death, their life was like a little beacon. They got on with their lives and enjoyed it, not letting the future weigh them down.

Instead of action, it’d full of atmosphere. There’s a creeping since of unease and dread as the questions it raises about existence build. If you think hard about (which I did late last night – a bad idea for trying to sleep), It’s very unnerving. What is the future of the human race? When will we end? How? Once the big secret is revealed (and I did not see that coming!), the questions only get more intense.

Alongside Lowrie and Shen’s story is Maya’s story – a woman living through the virus that brings infertility and then everything afterwards. Her story is told through social media posts, and it was interesting to see how the world might adapt to having no more children. My personal reactions mirrored Lowrie’s as she learnt about what had happened – horror, confusion and then slow acceptance.

I really liked that it was told through a different medium, because it made it feel very different. I think if it had been alternating chapters Lowrie/Maya, it would miss the fragmented feel of trying to discover what happened in the past. Plus the interactions and comments were often really funny.

A lovely, thought-provoking read, certainly one I’d recommend.

Read my reviews of other books by Lauren James:


Gottie Writes:

The Watchmaker and the Duke:


2 thoughts on “Book Review: THE QUIET AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Lauren James

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