After the End (After the End #1)
Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she'd ever been taught was a lie.
As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she's struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.
The premise of AFTER THE END immediately hooked me. A dystopian-that-isn't? A girl out to discover the truth about her community that's been isolated from the world since 1984? A fake WWIII? All of these are ingredients for a fascinating read.
Narrated by both Juneau and Miles, the reader follows both on journeys of discovery. Juneau finds out that everything she's known her whole life was a lie. She has to question everything she believes in and everything she encounters along the way. Miles discovers that there's more to the world than he thinks.
The larger mystery of why Juneau's family was kidnapped and why multiple parties are after her kept me flipping through the pages. You can't help but want to find out what exactly is going on and why so many lies were told.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Despite being in both main characters' heads through the alternating POV chapters, I still didn't really connect with either.
The Final Verdict:
AFTER THE END is for fans of action and for readers who enjoy a good conspiracy.
After World War 3, a few survivors were able to escape to Alaska and form their own clan. Juneau, having grown up within the clan, is used to this life. A life of protecting her clan from war survivors, hunting, using the Yara, and being with her clan. But when her clan disappears, she finds out that World War 3 never happened. But when she's trying to find her clan, others are trying to find her for more sinister reasons.
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting.
I knew that this book was about a girl who believed her entire life that the world practically ended, only to realize that the world is still turning, but what next? I had no idea what to expect after that. I knew there had to be more, that it wasn't going to be Juneau getting used to the modern day world, the book just didn't put off that kind of vibe. But, too be honest, I was taken by surprise at the direction this book turned.
Sure, I was not expecting that a drug company, and others, would be hunting her down, I sure wasn't expecting that, but what I really wasn't expecting was the strange magical element that was within this book. Apparently, Juneau and her clan can connect with the Yara, which is, basically, using nature to get superpowers (i.e. see the future, see great distance, control animals, etc.). I'm sorry, but this made the book very strange. I also had a hard time understanding how this Yara thing worked and a hard time believing that this could actually be possible.
Now, the characters were kind of hard for me to relate to or understand (I have never been part of a clan that uses nature to get superpowers) but I do believe that the characterization is spot on.
This book is, actually, dual point-of-view (something else I was not expecting). One view being, of course, Juneau. The other view is a teenage boy named Miles who's father is in search of a girl who knows something about the drug (I bet you know who this girl is). At first, this dual point-of-view is really strange. We get a bunch of pages of Juneau, then about a page of Miles that tell us absolutely nothing. Miles eventually gets longer chapters and actually contributes to the story, but it does seem weird at first.
The reason as to why the characterization was so great though was because from Juneau we have a girl who grew up believing that the world ended and grew up within a clan that was basically one with nature. She is confused about the modern world and is more comfortable in the wilderness. Now Miles is just an average teenage guy who has to take Juneau on a road trip and to him, she's a crazy chick. Why do I like these characterizations? THEY MAKE SENSE!!!! Someone who grew up outside the modern world would definetly not understand it and if that person started talking to you about see the future with the Yara you bet you're going to call them crazy.
One thing I did not like was the romance. Yeah, it's a YA book, there's bound to be romance, but this book felt like one of those forced romances."Like, hey, we have a guy character and a girl character. Let's make them have strange irresistible feelings for eachother that make no sense. Also, let's have an awkward kiss" This was basically the romance.
I also want to touch up on the ending. I knew before hand that this book was going to end in a cliffhanger which worried me. THE CLIFFHANGER IS NOT THAT BAD. Sure, I might be saying that since this book didn't wow me, but the book ended in a way that you knew what was going to happen. The book just ended before that could happen.
Well, this is probably my longest review and I apologize for that.
This book took me by surprise, and, sadly, I did not enjoy the surprise. I found the magical elements just plain weird and the romance pointless. I did kind of like the characters in a way and I liked the original premise of the story, just not the direction it went.
I will be reading the sequel, since I did actually like this book.
I... just... GAH! I'm currently sick and am having trouble talking, which means I can't blab on and on about this to my family. Being an ARC, I can type of any spoilers. If you have read After the End, let me know and we will squeal together! I loved Amy Plum's Revenants series, and generally, second books/series don't live up to the first, but oh, this one did! I was a little confused at the beginning, but quickly caught on to the plot! I honestly didn't see where so much of the story was going!
The story is told in dual POV, switching between the male protagonist Miles and the female protagonist Juneau. It's always interesting to see a character who has lived a secluded life suddenly thrust into our world, and it's done beautifully. I love Juneau's character and can really relate to her. One day, she's living her life, and the next she finds out that her entire life has been a lie. That's not easy on a girl. There was definite romance in this book, but it was not insta-love, more like a slow building flame, which I really appreciated.
In many ways, Miles is the sole opposite of Juneau. While she can survive in the wild and is kick butt to the max, Miles is a city boy from Los Angeles whose goal in the story is to please his über rich father. That said, Miles is an interesting character. I really liked seeing in his head, and feel that the story would have been wholly incomplete without it. While Juneau goes from unaware to aware in the story, I feel like Miles goes through much larger of a transformation. You might even go as far as to say that he was turning his life around.
So, I hate cliffhangers in any circumstance, but when the first book ends in a cliffhanger and you get it two months before release, it's really REALLY REALLY REALLY bad. I don't hate cliffhangers in that they're a bad story device, in fact, they're awesome for the book and I write them a bunch, but as a reader, I want to know everything NOW NOW NOW! You really won't see where over half of this book is going, I promise you. I took me a little while to really get into the story, but I read all but the first few chapters this afternoon. The book was definitely a five star read, and I'm dying for book two!
The road trip
I had a lot of fun following Miles and Juneau’s journey, and the riddles that led them to each new place. I liked switching from busy cities to rocky mountains, from sleeping in hotels to sleeping outdoors, from eating in diners to catching food and cooking it on a campfire.
I loved the fast pacing. My reading has slowed down recently and this is exactly what I needed. A book of the same page count might usually take me a week or so, but I finished this in two days. The short switching POV chapters worked really well in keeping the story moving. Plus, it was amazing so I couldn’t stop reading anyway.
I had NO idea what was going on! In a good way. The twists were awesome—things I didn’t see coming and enjoyed so much. The mystery was done brilliantly. I still don’t know who to trust even though the story revealed more as it progressed.
Juneau and Miles
I love these characters! They felt so real and genuine. The humour was wonderful. I enjoyed their falling out and making up. And the more romantic side developed perfectly. I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.
Ah. The Amy Plum paranormal stamp was all over this, which I was SO pleased to find. The Yara was fascinating to learn about along with Juneau. A great addition to the story.
Finally, THAT ENDING. Now the wait begins for book two!