Review: Folsom by Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster

This dystopian love story is the first book in the End of Men series. It is addictive and thrilling–the type of book that hooks you in and you can’t stop.

I have labeled it a dystopian love story rather than a dystopian romance for a reason; it doesn’t have a happy ending.

I scoffed at readers who gave this book a bad review. Fisher and Aster have written this book with intuition and honesty. I couldn’t fault the storytelling. But Folsom and Gwen’s ending left me feeling gutted.

Now, I know, Folsom is a dystopian book, but it doesn’t occur to me until late that Aster and Fisher deny Folsom and Gwen their HEA.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

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The flipside of The Handmaid’s Tale

I loved The Handmaid’s Tale and the ending that left everything up in the air.

I was ready for the horror.

But I wasn’t ready for it with this book.

Gwen and Folsom live in a post-apocalyptic world, where disease has rendered all the men sterile.

It is the Age of Women now. Women rule the world. But the women are also struggling for survival.

They need men. Just as men need women.

All the frozen eggs have been used, and in-vitro fertilization with harvested sperm has become the poor-woman’s way to get pregnant.

Only a few men remain, and The Society calls them the End Men.

The Society enslaves virile men to repopulate the world.

They are so desperate to repopulate, they’re willing to enslave a sixteen-year-old boy and initiate him into the ranks of The End Men.

Only the rich can afford a visit from an End Man like Folsom, whose job it is to give rich women a baby the pleasurable way.

In The Handmaid’s Tale, the fertile women are shifted from house to house to help the rich have a baby, but in this book, the men are enslaved instead.

At one point, Folsom comments:

Words are a powerful weapon and they never die.

But in the end, Gwen’s words aren’t powerful enough.

I’m not going to ruin it by telling you exactly what happens.

You might want to read it for yourself, but the ending had me staring at the last line, realizing that there was no more.

Gwen and Folsom’s story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. There’s no more.

The next book is about Jackal, another of the End Men.

I suppose there is the possibility that Gwen and Folsom find their happy ending in Jackal’s book, but I don’t know that this is the case.

The ending sounds final.

Now, I can hear you say, I don’t want to read it if there is no happy ending.

I understand. That is entirely your decision.

But this book is worth it. That is my conclusion.

I’ve already told you it has no happy ending, so you won’t be surprised.

A respectful, humble, sexy gentleman who is owned by The Society

I love Folsom, right down to the fact he likes to design clothes.

Every single woman he holds, he does it with class.

He does it even though it makes him feel numb.

Until he meets Gwen, and she makes him acknowledge his feelings again.

She’s rustling around in my weakness and it’s painful to let her do it.

Folsom knows when to shut his mouth and when to be rebellious, and that rebelliousness saves one of his sons, for a while.

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Not all men are power-hungry rapists, and not all women are power-hungry feminists.

But ‘every human needs love.’

This book isn’t about men or about women. The book describes the way in which humanity as a whole becomes complicit with the establishment to enslave the weak and those without a voice.

Someone will always lose their freedom, and Fisher and Aster stay true to this reality.

I give this book 5 out 5. It is a thrilling read, and though I didn’t like the ending, I feel as though the story is honest and true, and I can’t ask much more than that.

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