Life As We Knew It, which I though was a very realistic approach to disaster, and Death Cure, which was a terrible conclusion to the end of the world. It's very common in science fiction, and a driving force in action. Think in terms of movies: the action of Armageddon, and the more intellectual Deep Impact.
Eric Walters' End of Days fits squarely into this mold, though it leans closer to the Deep Impact side of things. It takes a two-pronged approach, one that feels like a typical adult sci-fi, and another featuring a teenager who leads a pack of youth in a rundown city.
A prominent astronomer discovers that an distant asteroid is en route to Earth, and will likely cross our orbit right when we are at the same point several years hence, destroying much of Earth's life much in the same way the dinosaurs were wiped out.. A secret cabal promptly kidnaps him and several other scientists to help plan a means of preventing disaster, all without letting the public know of any danger. Meanwhile, an eccentric billionaire is coming up with his own plans, just in case the scientists fail. He plans to build an underground compound to protect a handpicked group of people to weather out the decades that the surface would be inhospitable. For this, he needs young people, including a seemingly ordinary teen from New York.
If the threat of Death From Above wasn't enough, religious extremists are welcoming the disaster as judgement from God and will stop at nothing to prevent the scientists from succeeding.
End of Days works, and having read it immediately after Death Cure, I liked it so much more. Dealing with the end of the world in both books, I was so much more satisfied with Eric Walters' approach, especially when the issue of trusting others to know what they are doing comes up. There are no ghosts in the machine for him, and no major plot holes come immediately to mind.
It is a teen book by a YA author, but it doesn't feel like one. There is no overwrought emoting or angst, and the presence of a teenaged character has no impact on the storytelling. There is a perfectly good reason that they need a kid his age: he will live longer than old people, so could perform his role until the world can get back to (relative) normal, so it doesn't feel like a teen was included to appeal to teen readers. In other words, a perfect book for someone who doesn't like teen books.
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