Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Book: The End of Athens by Anthony Karakai

I received a copy of The End of Athens from a goodreads group in exchange for my honest review.

The year is 2091, and Nikos is unique as he is the only person in Greece who is able to dream. In the bleak future, Greece has been forces ito poverty with a non-existent economy and a highly corrupted government. When Nikos meets Delilah and they begin a friendship, he finally tells someone about his dreams, sparking her interest and leading to him teaching her to dream. After that the pair return to Athens and begin to gain followers, who in turn learn to dream, sparking hope in an otherwise desolate place and sparking a revolution.

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The End of Athens isn't the kind of book that I normally read, it felt like less of an action or adventure story and more like a comment on the current economic and political state of the world, particularly in regards to Greece. Though this isn't my normal kind of read, it was still interesting, though it took longer to read than most books this length do for me. There are a couple of quotes from the book that really struck me as making the point about the political situation, The first is about how Greece, and Athens turned out because of the corrupt politics and failed economy;
This is life as we know it, devoid of all hopes, aspirations and prayers for a better world. 
This particularly sums up the vision of the book as it is when Nikos and Delilah are teaching people to dream, as that is what causes the uprising of the people against the corrupted government, It is rather obvious when comparing the people at the start of the book to the people at the end, the difference that such a small idea can make. The second quote that I picked up on could much more easily be used to describe corrupt governments, companies or ideals in today's world as well as Nikos' Athens, and if from a part of the story after Nikos started leading the people and had to deal with the government;
All of this extra money was going out of the pockets of the needy and into the wallets of the greedy.
There was one more quote from The End of Athens that grabbed my attention, and this one is from a dream where Nikos meets up with his mysterious acquaintance, Hades.
There is more than one way to die. Not everybody lives, even if everybody breathes. 
The character responsible for this quote, Hades, is still a bit of a mystery to me (and not just because it seems odd that any Greek would name their child Hades), though I guess that he will remain a mystery. The quote itself seems to come back to the fact that, yet again, people aren't complete without the ability to hope and dream, and in a way this comment seems to spark in Nikos the desire to do something about it.

When the reasoning for the title of the book became obvious to me I realised how clever it was. The end of Athens didn't mean the destruction of actual Athens, instead it meant the renewal and the end of the state of depression, corruption and emptiness, so bringing it all back to what I see as the main theme in the book: hope.

I realise that my review hasn't followed my 'normal' structure or style, but it felt right to include the quotes and my reflections on them due to the nature of the book and its capacity of a political statement. Overall though, and slightly surprisingly, the main theme to come out of The End of Athens was the importance of hope and of people dreaming.

I think that so long as you enter into this book aware that it is a political rather than an action story then you will enjoy it.