A reluctant vampire grapples with age-old questions about life and death, good and evil and humanity itself in The God of Endings, Jacqueline Holland's striking debut novel. Beginning with her conversion from dying young girl to immortal vampire in 1830s New York State, the story presents alternating chapters of past and present that follow Anna across the Atlantic to Europe and back again to the United States. In Eastern Europe, she learns about Czernobog, the god of endings, whose scent of smoke pursues her, warning her each time he appears to wrench away any goodness she's managed to claim for herself. She also learns about prejudice and humanity's expansive capacity for evil. Back in the home where she was reborn as a vampire, Anna--now known as Collette--runs an art school for young children and tries to ignore the disorder in her life as Czernobog seems to be closing in again; at the same time, a deepening relationship with one of her students has her questioning her long-held beliefs.
Holland's novel captures the existential angst of an immortal creature who aches for release from a world filled with endings and death. Past and present unfurl together, elegantly raising the stakes in parallel with each other as the novel climbs its way to a satisfying climax. Gorgeously told, The God of Endings offers a thought-provoking and empathy-evoking take on vampire stories. --Dainy Bernstein, literature professor, University of Pittsburgh