The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza | Sticky Note Reviews

I picked up The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson because I loved We Are the Ants. And because it happened to be face-out on the New Books shelf at my local library.

tl;dr summary: Elena is a product of a virgin birth and she can heal people. The voices she hears from inanimate objects tell her she can heal people and she needs to use her powers to save the world. Elena is not so sure.

I wasn’t sure about this novel when it started, though by the finish, I didn’t want to put it down. I constantly questioned whether this was magical realism or if Elena was schizophrenic — hearing voices and healing people. It helped that she was also skeptical, which made it more interesting for me as a reader. I did find it amusing when Hutchinson had a character bring up mental illness, like he knew what the reader would be thinking and addressed it.

This narrative is heavy. There were a few time the social commentary about took me out [edit: the context for this is related to events I’d seen in the news]. But also – how do we make choices? And how do we decide what or who is important and worth saving? And who are we to make those decisions in the first place? Great read. Hutchinson fans won’t be disappointed.

I struggled with the characterization of Elena’s best friend Fadil. Or maybe what I struggled with was the way Elena looked at Fadil (which was also addressed by the narrative, let me tell you). For much of the story, which is told through Elena’s point of view, Fadil felt flat. But I think that was the point. Elena struggles to imagine people complexly and the ways in which she talked about her relationships with people were indicative of that. Masterful, I thought.

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