Wow! This book is amazing. In the After (after the aliens invaded earth) Amy lives in complete silence with a mute toddler she names Baby. Neither of the girls speak, they walk around without shoes, and they don’t go out during the day. Because if either of them makes the slightest sound, They will come. And They eat people, bones and all. They’re fast and single-minded, driven only by their desire for food. Basically, if one spots you, you have more or less no chance of escaping. It’s terrifying! I scared myself so much reading this, and it made me aware of every little sound around me. This is one of the best post-apocalyptic worlds I have ever read, and at times reminded me of THE WALKING DEAD, which I LOVE. Extra points!
IN THE AFTER is clever and unpredictable and I’m so ready for the sequel.
Where to begin with the awesome that is this book?
The synopsis doesn't define Them so I was just kind of assuming They were zombies. Now, I love me some zombies (like, for reals, I'll take zombies over faeries/vampires/werewolves/etc. any day), but I'm loving something even more these days: aliens. Sadly, aliens are so very rarely done well. I was super disappointed when I found out the aliens were as cliche as they could get: two arms, two legs, green. The only cool thing was there crazy sharp teeth. To be fair, though, by the end I was perfectly content with their appearance, intrigued even.
I like Amy. She's a great character. The love she feels for Baby is amazing. Sure, sometimes it makes her a little too single-minded, but it's a good and realistic flaw. I also really like that she talks about how she really broke down in the beginning, but ended up pulling it together and not only taking care of herself, but a toddler as well. When she and Baby are taken to New Hope, she's always wary, but wants to believe in it. I like that, unlike a lot of post-apoc and dystopian MCs she stays alert, but also really wants to believe she's found a home and a new life.
Really, a lot of characters deserve a shout-out because Demitria did a great job at giving the side characters personality, but I want to focus on Baby. I was a little how much I'd enjoy a book with such a young character playing a major role, but I loved her. First of all, the synopsis led me to believe Amy was going to be packing around this squealing, drooling baby in the post-apocalypse, but Baby's actually somewhere around 6. So instead of just being this weird extension of Amy, she has her own personality. She loves Amy fiercely, and relies on her, but she can also take care of herself. I mean, Amy didn't even find her until about a year, or something like that, into the After. This tiny kid managed to live with carnivorous monsters on the loose all by herself. That's pretty freaking awesome.
I like that the end of the story brought just enough answers that I was satisfied, but left plenty of loose ends which gives me hope for the sequel. And it seems Demitria isn't afraid to kill of characters, so I nervously look forward to her stomping all over my heart in the future (makes me sound like a masochist, but we all know death of favorite characters makes for a good story.)
The Nutshell: In the After was everything I want in a apocalypse/post-apoc/dystopian book. There's some alien action, some evil humans (or at least one really evil one), just the beginnings of a romance so it wasn't all used up in book 1 leaving book 2 out in the cold, plenty of suspense, and, you know, quite a lot of death, albeit most of it anonymous.
The set-up is so creepy, I cannot imagine these aliens, Them. They are so strong, but Amy luckily finds their weaknesses and even though her parents don't survive, their eccentricities from life helps her to survive in this almost post-apocalyptic setting. At first Amy thinks she is alone, the last person alive, but then she finds Baby, and runs into people slowly.
I loved the sisterly relationship between Amy and Baby, it kept me emotionally invested in the story while the encounters with Them, and the challenges of staying alive kept me involved with action and plot.
I was eager to find out more about this strong alien, why they are there, and how they got there. How others besides Amy survived, and where this mysterious group of other survivors mentioned in the synopsis would come into play. Demitria Lunetta gives those answers little pieces at a time, and keeps me reading with her great world building and attention to detail. Its intense, a little gritty, and the pacing is great throughout.
I enjoyed Amy's character, she is smart, snarky and resourceful. While she does what she has to in order to survive, she has a heart that is big and beautiful. She rescues Baby, and she takes in others. She still cares for others despite what she went through.
The jumps in time starting around 30% confused me though. I know that was the point because we are in Amy's head and she obviously doesn't know what is going on either. When I started getting suspicions of why she was drugged and confused I didn't like it but I knew that it was all part of the storyline, and like a sucker punch to the gut.
I didn't have it all right, but there were a few things I was right about and then other twists that caught me completely by surprise.
There was a hint of romance, and I hope that the next book advances it a little more, but I am okay with that. It was kind of refreshing for that not to be a driving factor in the book.
The ending is crazy, and all that it should have been for the book except that it was a bit of a cliffie but it left me yearning for the next book which I will definitely be reading.