Jackal Emerson has never taken himself seriously. Dubbed the “orgy king,” he’s renowned for his reputation as the wild End Man. But with the uprising on the horizon and his best friend missing, Jackal is having a hard time living the same carefree existence.
And then he meets a thief and everything changes.
Phoenix Moyo, principal dancer of a notorious ballet company, lives a life of rigidity. When her world collides with Jackal’s, their chemistry is evident to everyone except her. Forced to work with him to steal the most precious commodity of the Regions, she realizes too late that there is no escaping Jackal’s charisma.
When unimaginable crimes come to light, the Regions begin to crumble. No one is safe. Families divide and secrets are exposed, danger running rampant on every side. For some, sacrifice costs everything.
When I found out the second book in this series was going to be about a different End Man, I was leery. I wanted more Folsom and Gwen. I was wrong. I needed this book not to be focused on them. I needed to know there was more to the revolution than what we saw in Folsom. I needed to see Gwen and Folsom through other people’s eyes to truly understand the magnitude of what they had started.
Once again, Fisher and Aster have made me consider things I have the privilege of not having to worry about in my own life. Things I feel passionately about yet haven’t considered from all angles. This entire world they’ve created is so unique, yet there are so many things I see in it that parallel the world we live in today. Between the babies being ripped from their mother’s arms because they weren’t born to the ‘right’ people, to people fleeing from the oppression they never asked for, to people being imprisoned for minor offenses because they don’t agree with the oligarchy they’re ruled by, it was a stunning piece on the horrors we are facing and will likely suffer if we don’t make our voices heard.
Jackal surprised me. I, much like Phoenix, had him pegged as a person lacking substance, I never considered that he was playing a role, being the person the society he lived in wanted him to be, I just assumed he was a shallow as he looked. He impressed me at every turn, from his intelligence to his childhood, to how overwhelming his compassion was when he was invested in something, Jackal was an impressive specimen for all the reasons the world he lived in never acknowledged. When he was Phoenix – who was freaking amazing, I loved how she knew her shortcomings and her strengths, and never made an excuse for any of them – they had a fascinatingly antagonistic dynamic that lent a little levity to an otherwise book full of heavy subject matter.
After finishing Jackal, I immediately wanted to go back and start Folsom over. These books are so all-consuming I’m sure there are details I’ve missed, breadcrumbs I didn’t pick up on, things I overlooked in favor of my affection for the characters. The End of Men novels aren’t stories you read; they are words that consume you, a world that will take you hostage and leave you reeling when you’re finally free.
After reading Folsom I was sure I couldn’t be more impressed with Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster, but I was so blown away after this book, I can’t imagine there is a ceiling for them to hit, they’re just going to keep pushing themselves higher and higher. I am particularly enamored with how gracefully they toe the line of making a statement on the world we live in without alienating readers who may not have the same strength of conviction they do. They both write books that have something beyond a good story to leave with their readers, and for that, I love them.
“Without the risk of getting hurt, there is no probability of falling in love,” I tell her. “Vulnerability and love go hand in hand.”
“That must be why all the men are gone.” She smirks. “With that sort of logic, it’s no wonder.”
I take her in—smooth, honey skin that smells like apples, the broad bridge of her nose and arched nostrils. I don’t know how to tell her that back then men were not the romantics. The things we had left of the past: the movies, and the books, and the stories, were things hoped for, not seen.
I lean close so that my mouth is next to her ear, my lips brushing her skin.
“There is no logic in love, little thief. It starts small and grows into something very big and endless. Something you’re willing to die for. Don’t you long to feel something like that? Instead of all the emptiness you’re so used to…”
She pulls back and stares me right in the face. I can’t help myself. The quirky little corner of her mouth is raised like she’s mocking me, probably not the best time to kiss a woman. But I drop my head anyway and kiss her, letting my tongue softly graze her bottom lip. She pauses, her breath sucking in, and then she pushes away from me. For a moment, it’s just the two of us facing each other on the dance floor, the cider lights speckling our faces, and then as abruptly as she pulled away, she turns on her heel and leaves. I smile as I watch her go, her steps unsure like she’s dizzy.
“Dancers don’t get dizzy,” I call after her.
The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.
With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.
Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.
A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.
Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.
Folsom is book one of the End of Men series.
Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of nine novels. Born a sun hater, she currently makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her children, husband, and psychotic husky. Tarryn writes about villains.
Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and Lilith. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.