The Alehouse at the End of the World

The Alehouse at the End of the World

When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved's demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her. A whale swallows him, then deposits him on the Isle of the Dead, which is ruled by a trio of giant bird gods. The fisherman must negotiate with the self-proclaimed leader -- a narcissistic, bullying crow -- to return his beloved to physical form. In "The Alehouse...

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Title:The Alehouse at the End of the World
Author:Stevan Allred
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Alehouse at the End of the World Reviews

  • Dianah

    There's all manner of craziness in The Alehouse at the End of the World: a giant beast who's swallowed the spirit world, a hairless blue fisherman, a trio of shape-shifting god-birds, a self-aggrandizing (Trumpian?) crow, The Isle of the Dead, a feathered goddess, and a dead woman who's.... well, you'll see. Yet underneath these fantastical guises, lie the same hearts that can be found in all of us; some are kind, some are driven, some are evil, some are insatiable, and in spite of their non-hum

    There's all manner of craziness in The Alehouse at the End of the World: a giant beast who's swallowed the spirit world, a hairless blue fisherman, a trio of shape-shifting god-birds, a self-aggrandizing (Trumpian?) crow, The Isle of the Dead, a feathered goddess, and a dead woman who's.... well, you'll see. Yet underneath these fantastical guises, lie the same hearts that can be found in all of us; some are kind, some are driven, some are evil, some are insatiable, and in spite of their non-human forms, they are all so very human. In this magical world, the net of a dark fate tightens around the existence of this motley crew, and an apocalypse brews on the horizon.

    This is why adults still need fairy tales: there are some archetypes more familiar than our own faces, and they help us survive, they teach us to live, they compel us to grow. Allred has the sly and quixotic writing chops to pull off this charming story, which is both wickedly funny and achingly poignant. He manages his characters as well as a puppeteer, and imbues them with such heartfelt passion and pathos, it's mesmerizing. Do not miss this delightful tale that will remind you how precious humanity is, in whichever form you find it. Bravo!

  • Doug Chase

    I was fortunate to read an early galley of Stevan Allred’s new book. It is amazing. A fable, an adventure, a story filled with treats for us lovers of words and culture and the world. This is one of the rare books I never wanted to end. Completely satisfying, dramatic, hilarious, a wonderful world. I’ll buy a lot of copies for my holiday gift list.

  • Michael Ferro

    Over at Heavy Feather Review, I had the true pleasure to review Stevan Allred's new novel, THE ALEHOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Forest Avenue Press). Folks, this one is a doozy: a medieval-esque fantasy tale set to the tune of Monty Python that is both hilarious and enlightening. A story of tyrants, friendship, and perseverance that is not only brilliant and fun, but quite timely in this modern America:

    "Though the antagonist of this book is an egotistical crow god hellbent on ruling

    Over at Heavy Feather Review, I had the true pleasure to review Stevan Allred's new novel, THE ALEHOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Forest Avenue Press). Folks, this one is a doozy: a medieval-esque fantasy tale set to the tune of Monty Python that is both hilarious and enlightening. A story of tyrants, friendship, and perseverance that is not only brilliant and fun, but quite timely in this modern America:

    "Though the antagonist of this book is an egotistical crow god hellbent on ruling the Isle of the Dead through fear, intimidation, and a demand for blind admiration, it should come as no surprise that the story draws some immediate parallels to the orange man who currently sits in the oval office."

    FULL REVIEW:

  • Julene

    Stevan Allred is a favorite author, so I was excited when his new book came out even though it is not the kind of book I usually read. After reading it I'm wondering why I don't read more fantasy novels!

    He is a master writer paying attention to every detail. To disclose, I studied with Stevan when he was one of the Dangerous Writers (with Tom Spanbauer) in Portand. I love his description at the back of the book, he got up early each morning before the sun rose, lit a candle and wrote

    Stevan Allred is a favorite author, so I was excited when his new book came out even though it is not the kind of book I usually read. After reading it I'm wondering why I don't read more fantasy novels!

    He is a master writer paying attention to every detail. To disclose, I studied with Stevan when he was one of the Dangerous Writers (with Tom Spanbauer) in Portand. I love his description at the back of the book, he got up early each morning before the sun rose, lit a candle and wrote into the day. He has crafted a spirtual world with talking birds that turn human, a serpent that ate the spirtual world and sits on a log that is the earth we know! The earth of course is at risk of being eaten as well. Birds talk and turn into full characters: a cormorant, a pelican, a frigate bird, a raven, and of course a fertility goddess who flies.

    There are two humans, a fisherman who goes to the Isle of the Dead, in this spirit world, to find his beloved who has died. The Raven has taken over and he is a vindictive narcissist, but will bargain and he is an obstacle to be overcome. The fisherman gets his beloved's soul, in the form of all souls, a clam, that must be nursed by breast milk to be reborn.

    The fertility goddess, Dewi Sri, has been sent on a mission to save earth and she provides the milk and the sexual espinage that ensues. She provides liberated, transcendant sexuality that we witness in this other world that is also full of jealously and emotions that accompany such goings on.

    Of course a soul released from a body does not hold memory, so the beloved does not remember the fisherman. She holds memories in her physical body but not her brain. The raven is a stud as well as a crook. I don't want to spoil this, but the world is saved by the efforts of this group and there is much about courage and true love to encounter in this brilliant writing of time travel, and mythic proportion. It may be too X rated to make it into a movie, but a good movie it would make.

  • Tracy Rowan

    I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book because while it intrigued and amused me, it also often flummoxed me. I will say that it was never what I expected, and that's often a good thing in terms of my reading. Stevan Allred has produced a novel that often reads like an R-rated cross between a Shakespearean comedy and Alice in Wonderland, a world run by bird gods and goddesses. There's also a good deal of sex, and some excellent ale.

    The man, a sailor and fisherman, learns th

    I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book because while it intrigued and amused me, it also often flummoxed me. I will say that it was never what I expected, and that's often a good thing in terms of my reading. Stevan Allred has produced a novel that often reads like an R-rated cross between a Shakespearean comedy and Alice in Wonderland, a world run by bird gods and goddesses. There's also a good deal of sex, and some excellent ale.

    The man, a sailor and fisherman, learns that his beloved has died, and goes to the afterlife to find her. Right away we get an updated Orpheus riff when the fisherman discovers that his beloved's soul is hidden in a clamshell in the sand, waiting for her rebirth. But he wants her back, and to that end, he has to find a woman who can wet-nurse the little clam-soul back to life.  But that isn't the end of his quest because there's an enormous creature that is poised to devour the universe unless he helps a fertility goddess, two bird gods, and a six-foot frigate bird destroy it. There's always a catch, isn't there?

    Allred's imagination is vivid, colored by what feels like an encyclopedic knowledge of myth and religion, pop culture, literature, and more. The novel is funny, bawdy, thoughtful and forthright. It won my admiration by placing the female characters at the heart of the story, and allowing them the freedom to both discover and indulge their sexuality without judgment.  And there are love stories aplenty, not just romantic/sexual love, but the love of friends. It's rich and rewarding if you are patient with the unfolding of the story.  And if you are, if you finish the book, I'm guessing you'll be surprised by the ending, and not a little moved by it. It is so very unexpected, and so very right.

  • Ann-Marie

    There is an old definition that says in a comedy the characters have some control over their own destiny, and in a tragedy they have none. By that definition, a tragedy can be roaringly funny and a comedy can have you in tears.

    "The Ale house At The End of the World" is presented as a comic tale, which is confusing to some people. It is not funny. It is ironic, sarcastic, it has some laughs, but it is not, as some people were hoping, "Terry Pratchett like.

    At times this tale is not eve

    There is an old definition that says in a comedy the characters have some control over their own destiny, and in a tragedy they have none. By that definition, a tragedy can be roaringly funny and a comedy can have you in tears.

    "The Ale house At The End of the World" is presented as a comic tale, which is confusing to some people. It is not funny. It is ironic, sarcastic, it has some laughs, but it is not, as some people were hoping, "Terry Pratchett like.

    At times this tale is not even very likeable. The characters are selfinterested, self absorbed, selfish, dishonished, and way too obsessed with sex. In fact, the entire second third of the book is giant romping, her hopping orgy. It got tiresome.

    But it was so beautifully written. The imagery was so perfect. The reader was swept off to The Isle of the Dead.She could smell the smoke of the fires and the stench of the breath of the evil beast. The book dragged at points, but you could just sleep with the characters and forgive the slow pace.

    "The Ale house At The End of the World" is not a mass appeal speculative fiction book but for its niche market it should be very well received.

    I received this book free from Netgalley free in exchange for an honest review.

  • Duane Gosser

    This book started off well but fell off hard. Story ran out way before the book ended. Also, the author is apparently trapped somewhere in middle school based on the number of times and way he worked fecal and genital references and jokes into the story.

    Once again beware of books that have a "amazing story blah blah" by Kirkus Reviews on front cover

  • Tanya

    A fisherman (never named) has been living on a desert island, shipwrecked. He receives a letter from his beloved (never named: hardly anyone has names: the fisherman calls her Cariña, but that is just his pet name for her), with a covering note informing him of her death. He has not seen her for years: but, det

    A fisherman (never named) has been living on a desert island, shipwrecked. He receives a letter from his beloved (never named: hardly anyone has names: the fisherman calls her Cariña, but that is just his pet name for her), with a covering note informing him of her death. He has not seen her for years: but, determined to find her again, he sets out in an unseaworthy craft -- convinced that he'll die in a storm -- to seek her on the Isle of the Dead.

    Then he is swallowed by a whale, and deposited on the shore of the Isle of the Dead, which is currently governed by a scornful and narcissistic crow. This crow, together with his companions (a pitying pelican and a curious cormorant), turns out to be a shapeshifter, and possibly a demigod. The crow is wholly unhelpful, but the fisherman does finally understand that the dead arrive nightly, by canoe, on this island -- which has been swallowed, whole, by the fearsome Kiamah beast after the death of the Old Gods -- and have their souls harvested by the crow and their bodies burnt. The souls become clams, and return to the material world to be reborn. But the fisherman can't imagine how he can locate the soul of his beloved. And the birds -- including the most likeable character here, a six-foot-tall frigate bird (no name) with a spyglass and a pistola -- anticipate a fearsome cosmological event.

    There is also a fertility goddess, Dewi Sri, and some ethereal beings known as the Turropsi, the weavers of fate. There are invented words, and words that are deliciously obscure. There are love triangles, disguises, and indulgence in pleasures licit and otherwise. This is a world that reminds me of Pacific Northwest mythology, with overtones of late medieval travellers' tales and a surreal ambience that's sometimes humorous, and sometimes bleak.

    It's taken me months to read.

    It also felt far, far longer than it actually is. That may just be an artefact of reading so slowly. I'm still not sure why it didn't engage me. Perhaps it's the lack of names? Perhaps the misogyny of some of the characters? (A man is unfaithful. A woman is unfaithful. Guess who dies at the end?) A imaginative, vivid fantasy that, for me, fell flat.

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for this honest review.

  • Emma

    The premise of

    immediately caught my attention. Boasting the underworld (of a sorts), talking birds, and fate, I hoped this would be a sort of Terry Pratchett-esque romp full of funny asides and satire. There definitely are funny asides -- the footnotes were one of the elements of the story I found the most entertaining -- but

    doesn't quite feel like a romp.

    DNF

    The premise of

    immediately caught my attention. Boasting the underworld (of a sorts), talking birds, and fate, I hoped this would be a sort of Terry Pratchett-esque romp full of funny asides and satire. There definitely are funny asides -- the footnotes were one of the elements of the story I found the most entertaining -- but

    doesn't quite feel like a romp.

    The story follows an unnamed fisherman who travels to the Isle of the Dead with the hopes of rescuing his beloved. Things do not go according to plan, partially because the Isle of the Dead has come under new leadership at the hands of the boasting crow. There are lots of references to myths and ancient civilizations that have informed the interesting underworld the author created in

    . A lot of these references went right over my head, but someone who is well-versed in these texts would probably gain a lot more enjoyment from this book.

    Perhaps the biggest thing I couldn't get beyond was the treatment of the female characters in this story. It's worth mentioning that things could get better, since I didn't finish the story, but the three female characters lacked the depth and autonomy given to the male characters. These females exist in the book primarily as objects to be coveted by the males. Two out of three perfectly fall into the tropes of doting caregiver and sex object. The fisherman's beloved does have a bit more nuance to her

    The male characters are given complex motivations and funny lines of dialogue. The females? Not so much. This only got worse as the book went on and was one of the largest reasons I quit reading.

    is by no means a bad book, just one that wasn't for me. I would describe this more as a literary work than a fantastical one, as the fantasy elements don't play a huge role in the story and serve mainly to support the classical-feeling plot. If you really like descriptive writing and references to lesser-known mythology,

    executes those elements well. Overall, this is a character-driven story that has the feel of a classic epic poem rather than a fantasy novel.

  • Gerry

    Once again I am confused by publishing dates but hey ho. Netgalley tells me this is released on the 16th November but Goodreads tells me its 11th November so I’ll go with that.

    I am also confused by this book. Sorry.

    I picked it up because something about it seemed very Terry Pratchett esque and from what I’ve read since, I am not the only person who got that vibe. I think it’s something to do with the merging of fables/ Shakespeare/ comedy and human foibles which is someth

    Once again I am confused by publishing dates but hey ho. Netgalley tells me this is released on the 16th November but Goodreads tells me its 11th November so I’ll go with that.

    I am also confused by this book. Sorry.

    I picked it up because something about it seemed very Terry Pratchett esque and from what I’ve read since, I am not the only person who got that vibe. I think it’s something to do with the merging of fables/ Shakespeare/ comedy and human foibles which is something that Terry Pratchett did amazingly well at.

    Now don’t get me wrong, Terry Pratchett is inimitable and to be fair, The Alehouse at the End of the World doesn’t advertise itself as being like Terry Pratchett in any way. But it’s interesting that I wasn’t the only person who was thinking along the Pratchett lines.

    It’s nothing like a Terry Pratchett book. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Thinking it would vibe the same. In some ways yes, it did. It’s quirky and highly imaginative and if you took a bunch of LSD and went to an aviary I’m sure the experience you would have there is similar to the experience you would have reading this book.

    A trippy head funk involving a lot of birds.

    This is billed (no pun intended, ok maybe a little pun intended) as a bawdy comedy. Now comedy is hard and very subjective. If you found this book funny than you will rate it higher than what I am rating. Unfortunately I didn’t find it funny. When something is a comedy that’s a problem and it’s a problem that I couldn’t overcome.

    I wasn’t too sure where the humour was supposed to be derived from – was it the excessive mentions of the crow eating up body parts of dead humans and his obsession with the nipples and scrota? Was it how drunk they all got when an alehouse was finally built? Was it the constant references to the bird god’s bulging loincloths?!

    That is the other thing I just couldn’t gel with. There was so much crudity. This is coming from someone who has written smut in fiction. Ahem. But I swear I am no prude. I just didn’t enjoy the over sexualisation of the female characters and the constant mention of their breasts. I counted how many times the word ‘breast’ featured in one paragraph and it was five. Five.

    Boobs. This book was about boobs. And worse… it was about boobs on bird women. Maybe I’m missing something here but I guess I just didn’t need descriptions of sexy bird women or the explanation that bird men have massive penises. Am I allowed to say penis in a review? Am I allowed to say it in an ARC review?!

    The sex scenes were plentiful and uncomfortable and unfortunately this book used one of the tropes that I hate the most in the world and used it for humour. We are talking ‘The Bed Trick’ where someone pretends to be someone else in order to bed a person. I don’t like it when it’s used flippantly and for ‘fun’. It’s personal preference but I don’t. Sorry.

    A male character beats a female character. This same male character spews some nasty things about women. I understand that this character is not nice and his actions and viewpoints are not presented as a good thing but the female characters desire, admire and love him all the same and again…. I didn’t like it. I understand the message is, ‘you can’t help who you desire or love’, but there was almost a vibe of, ‘oh well, you know what he’s like,’ about it.

    For me the plot was a little on the slow side and the big battle didn’t really have much in the way of build up. It was definitely more of a sexy, bed swapping tale between bird people and reanimated souls than a fight to see who would control the Isle of the Dead and who would save the world from being swallowed up.

    I’ll stop now because I feel like I’m beating a dead corvid with a stick and they don’t deserve that because corvid’s are awesome.

    The authors imagination is boundless and I’m sure that more inventive and quirky stories will present themselves but sadly this one just wasn’t for me.

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