Review: In The After (In The After #1) by Demitria Lunetta

12157407Rating: 3.5 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Fiction
Published: June 25, 2013 by HarperTeen
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They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

——

As a person who loves zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction so much, it’s not rocket science to think I was expecting a lot from this book. I tend to do that a lot to books with awesome blurbs and covers, because as they say, first impression lasts, right? Unfortunately, this book was a case of, “It was good” and “it was meh” at the same time and right now my feelings are a bit messy and mixed up. But I’ll try my best as usual to explain what I liked and what I absolutely detested, so buckle up! Here we go!

For the “zombie” aspect, I think it was pretty cool. Sure, they’re not exactly traditional zombies in a sense that they’re not slow at all… the flesh-eating abominations in this book can run fast as hell. They’re also not nocturnals, so they hide by night and roam by day, which is a pretty interesting change. I do think the “twist” revealed near the end regarding their origins was predictable… I was actually already considering it at the beginning, but even if I didn’t foresee it early on, it wasn’t really that shocking. Not the book’s fault, though… I’ve just read too many zombie novels and other related themes that the twist was already old news to me. Needless to say, I did feel it could’ve used a little more originality.

I liked Part 1 a lot. I loved how short the chapters were, how intense they felt, how they gave us an overview of how Amy was doing and coping and enduring not only the dangers of the zombies, but also of the surviving humans. I loved how it focused on survival with very little unnecessary drama. It reminded me of a lot of the zombie books that I loved reading early last year, giving me waves and waves of nostalgia. Her relationship with Baby was so real and genuine, too. It was very refreshing to see two characters understand each other in such a level that you don’t need words to get messages across, how they can simply know what the other’s talking about in a simple glance or gesture. I admit, though, that there were times I got annoyed by Amy’s giving in to Baby’s tantrums just to please her, but in the end, I kind of understand why she has done what she did.

THEN they get rescued by some humans who’ve made a sort of sanctuary led by scientists and everything pretty much went downhill after that…

Part 2… was weird. It felt like I was reading a different book altogether. At this point, it started feeling like any other YA science fiction post-apocalyptic story, but in the usual unappealing way. A lot of side characters were introduced but they didn’t really feel well-rounded to me. Bad guys were shown here who were bad because they take advantage of anarchy and they want to wreck havoc for the heck of it, and crazy mad scientists who do what they do because they want to make the “perfect” world according to their own ideas… This part, unfortunately, felt very dragging to me. It also started telling the story in two POVs… one in the present, and one that happened in the past (or present and future, however angle you want to see it). It felt very weird to me at first, and I don’t deny it made me feel very uncomfortable and confused, but when it did merge together as one near the end of Part 3, everything finally made sense. I do wish it was more subtle, though, because gah! The migraines!

Also, I have a problem with the romance. I hate how forced it was. Her sudden relationship (who she instantly felt a connection to when they first met… lots of blushing and faces becoming beet red here, folks!) with Rice felt absolutely random and contrived, like it was very out of place. I didn’t think the romance was even necessary here… There were a lot of girls around his age in New Hope and then Amy came and he suddenly all over her? Huh. I do think it could have worked better if they were simply friends here first. I guess it’s inevitable in YA. I do appreciate though that the romance was not central in this book. It was more of a side dish than anything, but still. Cringe-worthy is cringe-worthy.

I did enjoy this far more than The 5th Wave, though, although their only similarity that I can see is their being post-apocalyptic. I just think this one showcased the genre much more, and I think it gave us a better understanding of what society would become if social order collapses.

All in all, it was a decent read. It wasn’t exactly a phenomenal experience, but it has kept me interested enough to want to know what happens next. I have this grand feeling that the second book is where the epic-ness will finally start. I am definitely looking forward to that.

Final Verdict: 3.5 STARS

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you! Yeah, the romance part was really awful. I really don’t know why it was there tbh. I don’t think it would have changed anything if it was taken out.

  1. says

    I was a massive fan of the first half, the second half wasn’t terrible for me, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much! But I am a sucker for a survival story, not so much for dystopians :)

    Great review!

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you for stopping by! The second half definitely wasn’t that great as the first one. What do you think of the two POVs that were used starting Part 2? That felt really awkward to me at first.

  2. says

    Oh no! I don’t like the sound of the change after part 1. Why stop being awesome to be cliched? *frowns* Still, it seems like the verdict is that this one is worth my time. I’m still a little dystopia-shy, but I’ll try this at some point.

    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, yeah, I think the overall general response to this book is positive. If it didn’t have to go down to that boring forced romance and the other things that I was nitpicky about, this could easily have been a 5 star read.

  3. says

    I have it on my list…. I am not crazy about it, but want to check it out. Given, if more than 3 months pass and I haven’t read it, I’ll remove it from the list!

  4. says

    Great review Faye! I’m really excited about reading this book as well because I LOVE zombies. Also I love your review format with the bold sentences, helps me pick out the key points without spoilers :)

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you Jeann! :) I agree, the format highlights the important points. At least when you skim in fear of spoilers, you’ll still be able to get the most important tidbits. Please let me know once you’ve read this book. I’m interested in reading your thoughts!

  5. says

    The romance sounds instant lovey to me but the relationship between Amy and Baby has been eager to read this. I don’t read an awfully lot of zombie books so hopefully I don’t find this as predictable.

    Great review, Faye! <33

    • FayeFaye says

      HOPEFULLY. I read a lot of zombie books last year. I think 30 zombie books in a row, (I was obsessed) so it’s not really a surprise I found this one not that amazing. Been there, done that, you know? I hope you like it better than I did!

  6. says

    I love zombies, and the relationship between Amy and Baby sounds amazing, so that’s definitely making me want to read this. It’s a shame it starts to take on the form of any other YA, though, and that the romance is forced. Hopefully the sequel will be more impressive! Great review, Faye! :)

    • FayeFaye says

      Hoping as well. Somehow all zombie books that have sanctuaries are always so predictable, you know? I’m not sure but I always foresee what happens next and oftentimes I find myself right on the money. Perhaps I should be less… expectant :)