End Of Days picks up a hundred or so years after Circuit Of Heaven left off. The Bin is still floating above the earth and housing 99% of the worlds population, while in the “real world” the Christian Soldiers have taken over the rest of the planet. And by taken over I mean they have nuked all the major population centers except for New Jerusalem (Washington D.C.).
This book is more complex than Circuit Of Heaven, focussing on 5 or 6 main characters. Donovan is a newbie—born in the Bin, never having a real body. He is obsessed with Death, and hypothesizes that the Bin is stagnating because of the inherent immortality of its residents. Sam is a Christian Soldier, the son of a powerful commander and someone everyone knows will move up in the ranks quickly. Stephanie is a former model, tired of living and bored with life. Walter is the genetic scientist who developed the technology for the constructs (human hybrids originally genetically engineered to be slaves). He has been presumed dead by everyone who knew him but has actually been stuck in the prototype version of the Bin by himself—for 150 years! (and he’s starting to get loopy). Laura was born a construct but never performed the initiation (where they combine 3 people into one mind) and who now lives as a prostitute in Crazy Town (as opposed to Construct Town). Newman, Freddie, and Gabriel from Circuit Of Heaven also make an appearance.
Each of the main characters is flawed in some way but they are each portrayed in a way that made me sympathetic to them. Each has a particular part to play in the plot to defuse the Christian Soldiers and make the earth a non-insane place to live.
The book was fairly well paced until about five sixths of the way through when suddenly there is a significant shift of focus. From this point on it feels almost like a completely different book—about half of the characters are still there but some of them suddenly drop off and become secondary. It seemed like this should have been a trilogy. The last sixth of the book felt like it could have been fleshed out and made into its own complete book—as it stands it feels rushed. There is a new character introduced and she is interesting, but we don’t get to know her very well and that is sad.
Overall this is still a good read. The book ends nicely and the strange pacing doesn’t tarnish the story too much, but it does disappoint if you like the new character. I do have to say the very, very last chapter is kind of strange. I don’t really understand the implications of it well. I believe it is about “the afterlife” but it is odd (and don’t worry, that is not a spoiler).