The Great Unknowable End
By Kathryn Ormsbee
Published February 2019 by Simon & Schuster
Slater, Kansas is a small town where not much seems to happen.
Stella dreams of being a space engineer. After Stella’s mom dies by suicide and her brother runs off to Red Sun, the local hippie commune, Stella is forced to bring her dreams down to Earth to care for her sister Jill.
Galliard has only ever known life inside Red Sun. There, people accept his tics, his Tourette’s. But when he’s denied Red Sun’s resident artist role he believed he was destined for, he starts to imagine a life beyond the gates of the compound…
The day Stella and Galliard meet, there is something in the air in their small town. Literally. So begins weeks of pink lightning, blood red rain, unexplained storms… And a countdown clock appears mysteriously above the town hall. With time ticking down to some great, unknowable end they’ll each have to make a choice.
If this is really the end of the world, who do they want to be when they face it?
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The Great Unknowable End takes place in the 70s and features a cult. Well, they don’t call themselves that, obviously, they’re a commune if you ask them.
The story switches point of view between Galliard, who was the first child born in the commune and has lived there his entire life, and Stella, whose brother ran off to join the commune two years prior.
Galliard has parents in the commune, but they aren’t called that. Kids are basically raised by the entire commune and belong to everyone.
Their purpose was basically to live in peace, as they weren’t a religious community. In fact, Galliard prays to rock legends who are no longer living. He also cusses like a sailor, which I thought was an interesting aspect as I guess I always see communes like that not swearing? Maybe that’s just my weird thoughts on it haha.
Stella lives with her dad and little sister Jill. Her mother died years ago and her older brother has run off to the commune.
This story totally takes on a creepy vibe as it goes on. It starts with bizarre weather that no other surrounding towns or cities have. There’s things like pink lightning and then the rain is blood red, etc. It creeped me out and I loved it.
Not only that, but the town (and Stella’s closet) have eerily lit numbers doing a countdown. To what? No one knows.
Stella and Galliard strike up a friendship that turns part romance, and between their budding friendship and the building anticipation with the countdown and weather, I was super excited to see what happened.
Unfortunately, the ending was anti-climactic for me. It just….fizzled. And that’s the best way I can describe it. It was such a let down because I was totally hooked into this book until the end.
Even though the ending wasn’t for me, I thought the book itself was written well. I really liked the characters and loved the overall vibe of the book.