The Future Falls, by Tanya Huff
Published November 2014 by DAW
It’s the end of the world as we know it. Only we don’t know it. The Gales, a Calgary-based coven, do know that the end is nigh, and they might do something about it if Charlie, a wild and young member of the family, can convince them that that’s be something worth doing.
Reading this book was an experience of clear, unadulterated joy. The plot was filled with dynamic, powerful characters who played off each other in interesting ways. The “main” storyline – of a giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth – grounded the conflicts the characters had with each other in a way that heightened the stakes for all involved. At times it was a little difficult to keep track of who was who in the family, and what their pecking order was, but if you’ve ever spent time in a large family, that feeling will be absolutely familiar.
Huff’s writing throughout the story is impeccable, as well – the Gales’ conversations and full of banter and quips, and her liberal use of pop culture references give the conversations a sense of immediate familiarity and intimacy. It never feels forced – given how Charlie’s magic works, if anything it feels necessary – and it no doubt will make the story a favourite among genre fans.
A final point worth mentioning to readers is that this book is the last part of a trilogy featuring the women of the Gale family. It can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone story, but there are a lot of references to the events of the first two books, and a lot of the emotional groundwork for the interpersonal drama was established in those as well. Readers newer to Huff’s series may want to dive into those stories (Enchantment Emporium and The Wild Ways) before tackling this one.
Overall, The Future Falls is a fun look at an interesting set of characters set against the end of the world. That might seem like an odd backdrop for a story that feels light-hearted throughout, but Huff tells it well enough that it never feels odd.