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The Alehouse at the End of the World

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved’s demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her on the Isle of the Dead. The Alehouse at the End of the World is an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, where bawdy Shakespearean love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, bio-dynamic gardening, and a ...more
Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Forest Avenue Press
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Average rating 3.23  · 
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Michael Ferro
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tracy Rowan
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 belov
Doug Chase
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 da
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 likea
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs, did-not-finish
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 43%

The premise of The Alehouse at the End of the World 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 Alehouse doesn't quite feel like
Caitlin Farley
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful look at romantic relationships and what makes a hero.

A fisherman gladly gives up everything to join his beloved on the Isle of the Dead, but nothing is even close to what he expected to find when he gets there. His beloved Carina’s soul lies hidden in one of the many clams buried along the shore of the Isle of the Dead and to find it he’ll have to make a deal with the cunning and tyrannical Crow god who rules here.

I’m quite fond of the mythological concept wherein people travel to
"Can you not tell me what I must do?"
"Perhaps I can look it up," said the cormorant. He produced a book from under his wing, Mortimer’s Compleat Atlas of the Afterlife ... [loc. 891]

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, determin
Colin Hardy
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is steeped in mythologies, from the Americas through to the Far East and even Ouroborous. The story is based outside of the 'real' world but with recurrent echoes of things that will be familiar to the reader. All of the characters are unique, but offer reflections on human strengths and frailties, particularly those associated with relationships and attraction. The world-building is interesting and shows how these different mythoi can be woven together. The plot is based on the goals ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an interesting take on the Shakespearean comedy. Readers who are unfamiliar with the difference between a Shakespearean comedy and a modern comedy should know that this book is not going to be funny in the way you’re looking for. Shakespearean comedies pertain more to struggling lovers, love triangles, deception, and reunification. They are light hearted but not necessarily funny. This book has all of the above in spades and I found it highly entertaining.

I also enjoyed the w
Jason Arias
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Stevan Allred's The Alehouse at the End of the World is a book wrapped in mythology, drunken with humanity, tarred in the same tinctures that simultaneously hold us together and tear us apart, and thoroughly feathered throughout. There's enough cultural head nods and eye winks and cleverness to keep Literary Master's classes discussing the between-the-lines for semesters on end.

The amount of whimsy and wit keeps the narrative buoyant with chuckles, while the pure humanity of the characters (mos
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. It's elegantly written and has some very interesting ideas about the nature of self and life and death, and makes use of historically-relevant metaphorical figures. But it is dull, and it is repetitive, and all of the elegance and metaphor in the world can't help it move along a little faster and in a way that makes any of the characters seem anything but cardboard. ...more
Craig Russo
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I was fond of a lot of things about this story. The way the author (and narrator) made it sound like some Arabian tale. And the way it realistically portrayed lust and the way we justify it in our own minds, regardless of the harm it does to others.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea, nor did I see the humor that so many reviews mentioned. Ironic at times but not funny.
Dec 13, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
DNF. Not enjoying this one at all. It's completely different than its description. I was expecting a light and funny romp through the underworld and mythology, and instead it is tedious, sexually graphic, and more enamored of its language and philosophical flights of fancy than its actual plot. If you feel the need to discover how a threesome between a human woman, a winged goddess, and a pelican would work, this book is for you. If not, skip it. ...more
El Gallowa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh man, it took me ages to get into this book. The first 100 pages were a slog. I wasn't attached to any of the characters and the monotony made it difficult to get/keep interest. But, after page 100 or so, it was like the book flipped a switch and it was suddenly interesting and there was a problem to solve that was worth my attention. 2.5/5 stars really, just rounding up. ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A romp; great for a beach read (if you like kitschy pulp), but about 70% of the way through, you will have it figured out and will be ready to move on.
Shelly מרינו
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t know quite what to make of this. It’s a very strange allegory and/but it kept me reading. Amazing use of language, incredible vocabulary. This would be a fun guy to hang out with. What an imagination!
~Theresa Kennedy~
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fun book. I finally finished it today and would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy the tone and pace of mythology. It was kind of like reading The Odyssey of Homer. There are parts that are funny, and challenging and ultimately is was such an entertaining and fun book. Unlike anything I've ever read. ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
Although wildly inventive and unique, enjoyment is not a term I'd associate with this book. I like weird books, I like crazy ideas, I like things that diverge as far as possible from the norm with unabashed confidence—but this book was somehow still a struggle for me despite how open I was to it.

To start with the good, Stevan Allred is a tremendously skilled writer when it comes to his prose. The writing is pinpoint precise, and he has an obvious knack for words, producing a style I did like re
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘We are all of us but parts of a pattern not of our own making.’

Stevan Allred’s new book promises much, but does it deliver? This is the story of an unnamed fisherman who learns of his wife’s death and sets off to the Isle of the Dead to find her soul and bring her home. Here be shape-shifting bird deities, a usurping Crow who acts as despot, and as the tale develops we are bombarded by any amount of myths and allusions which direct the action. Eastern and Western mythologies combine: we have a
Kate (Looking Glass Reads)
Despite the prose being nice, this simply isn't holding my attention. There are a plethora of unnamed characters, none of whom I feel any sort affinity to. Perhaps I'll come back to it one day, but for now, it's going to remain unfinished. ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
My thanks to Forest Avenue Press for an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A fisherman receives a letter telling of the death of his lost love and then travels Orpheus-like to the Isle of the Dead to find her. There he encounters a group of avian shape-shifting demigods and a fertility goddess. Adventures follow, including a fair few erotic encounters. There’s also an adversary in the form of a crow, a petty tyrant living up to the crow’s archetypical role of trickster.

While I lo
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Negalley for review:

I was intrigued by the description of this book, a strange dream-logic style story creating its own mythology, something right up my alley when it comes to fiction. I enjoyed the story and found the characters weird but in a fascinating way, what didn't make this a five-star for me was the writing style. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just the very stylized voice didn't really click with my brain while reading and I had to force myself to focus. I will say it is
Chelz Lor
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not really sure
Shelves: adult, meh
**A thank you to Net Galley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review**

For a full review that goes into detail about why I find sex with bird men super weird you can go to my website

The writing is top notch and is the reason for those two precious stars on this review. The author is a master word caster and I hope to find something of his I can read without cringing someday. This was not the day.

The story is mostly sex with bird men and women intermixed with a supposed t
On paper I felt I should have loved this book. Unfortunately, it didn’t come together for me. Steven Allred is an excellent writer and there are some incredibly creative, as well as original, ideas in this novel. The story has a very mythological feel which is something I ordinarily love, but there was a huge disconnect between the tone of the story and the coarse humour that ran throughout. The characters also fell a bit flat to say the least, particularly of the female ones.

I do think others
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Stevan Allred has survived circumcision, a tonsillectomy, a religious upbringing, the 60's, the War on Poverty, the break-up of The Beatles, any number of bad haircuts, years of psychotherapy, the Reagan Revolution, the War on Drugs, the Roaring 90's, plantar fasciitus, the Lewinsky Affair, the internet bubble, the Florida recount of 2000, the Bush oughts, the War on Terror, teen-aged children, a ...more

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17 likes · 2 comments
“A change in rulers, thought the fisherman, is a time of turbulence. A time of both risk and opportunity.” 0 likes
“That crow," the frigate bird said, "is a picaroon if ever I saw one."

"A picaroon and a poxy pignut," the cormorant said, "but he is bound by his oath.”
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