ARC Review: After the End by Amy Plum

ARC Review: After the End by Amy Plum
After the End
After the End #1
by Amy Plum

Genres: Action, Adventure, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: May 6th, 2014
by Harpercollins

Format: eARC

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I have no idea what is truth and what is fiction. I'm all I've got now. I can't trust anyone.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

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

I am genuinely surprised by how much I liked this one. I went into After the End expecting to be disappointed, but Khanh’s review offered a glimpse of hope, that perhaps this book wouldn’t be another disappointment. I had even more reason to be skeptical about this one because I haven’t had much luck with dystopias lately and I kind of expected it to be another generic one. Except it wasn’t. It put a very original spin on the idea of a dystopic world. Dystopias are so much more than mass destruction and scheming governments. There is so much more to them than just that and After the End realizes that. This was one of the reasons why I was also able to overlook some of the things that bothered me and just sit back and enjoy the novel.

The first 1/3rd or so of the novel is not very believable. There seems to be quite a few convenient situations that did initially annoy me and make me wonder how much worse the book could get, but once you get past them, the book starts moving along better and random coincidences start ‘minimizing’.

Juneau is going to be the next sage of her tribe and ever since she came into her powers, she has been practicing to defend and protect her tribal members. But then her tribe disappears. After a hunt, she comes back to find all their animals killed and all the members of her tribe gone. So she sets out into the ruins to save them but imagine her surprise when she learns that everything she has been told has been a lie all along. There was no World War III that demolished the entire world and lives have carried on for the past 30 years without them.

I found Juneau, for the most part, to be a very likeable female lead. I understood her naivety, seeing that the world which she was thrust into was so completely different from her own. I admired her determination and I loved her struggle. I loved that she was confused and conflicted. These people had lied to her for her whole life but at the same time they were her tribe, her responsibility. She was determined to save them but at the same time she lost faith in everything they had taught her and had to rebuild her belief system.

Miles on the other hand, yeah. He was a confusing one. I never understood his determination to help Juneau and his voice just didn’t work for me. He seemed more like a pre-teen than an 18 year old. He was stubborn, spoiled, and usually didn’t think twice before doing something. He was very impulsive and kind of contradicted Juneau. That did seem to be intentional but the contradiction didn’t have the effect it could have had if Miles hadn’t been so pig-headed all the times.

One of my favorite secondary characters (or I should say the only notable one) was Tallie.

“Doubt everything, Juneau. Doubt everything at least once. What you decide to keep, you’ll be able to be confident of. And what you decide to ditch, you will replace with what your instincts tell you is true.”

She gave the best advice and helped Juneau recover faith in things that were important to her, but she also gave her room to doubt things. I found Tallie’s appearance to be random and not as well planned out as it could have been, but the heart of the purpose her character served somehow worked in spite of the flaws surrounding their meeting.

The romance, predictably, wasn’t all that great either. At first it wasn’t based on insta-attraction. Neither liked the other very much but they had to rely on one another which consequently built an odd bond of sorts. But then the romance jumped out of nowhere. They kissed and I was just sitting there wondering what the hell had happened and where the kiss had come from.

The plot, although not particularly strong, was incredibly enjoyable. Kids on the run helps. Always. It usually makes for an exhilarating and exciting read and as someone who enjoys a good adventure/survival story, I didn’t feel differently about this book in terms of that. The ride was a little bumpy (those bothersome conveniences I mentioned) but aside from that it was fun and it didn’t take me much time to devour the book.

I also enjoyed the concept of Yara. It’s not particularly original but the way it was presented was awesome. I am quite looking forward to see what the future installments hold in store for us.

Like I mentioned before, my biggest problem with this book was the random conveniences. Here was this girl who was carrying more money than anyone should be and no one really did anything about it. They might fleetingly mention it but for the most part it almost seemed like it was a normal occurrence. On top of that, if the money had come from an illegal source, the people who took money from her could get into big trouble which was why I was surprised when no one really said anything. Also there was that part where Miles reads his Dad’s email. His father apparently didn’t have a password on his computer. He was a CEO and didn’t have a password on his home computer. Does anyone else see what is wrong with that?

Also the cliffhanger. Nope. Not happy. Why would anyone do that? End on such an extreme note. That’s not a very nice thing to do.

This book, on the whole, is quite enjoyable but one’s ability to enjoy it will depend on whether you could overlook some grievances in order to enjoy the overall ride. I could and I ended up enjoying it. I would definitely recommend it to someone like me who is getting tired of generic dystopias and wants something new and (relatively) unique to look forward to.

Note that all quotes have been taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 3.4
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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    • Rashika says

      I really hope you enjoy it too, Pili!!
      Thanks! :)
      (and perhaps you could make some gorgeous cupcakes to go along ;))

    • Rashika says

      I have no idea how to write down my pronunciation… I kind of say it in this weird frenchy way?
      Junoo? Kind of like that?
      I think you should definitely give it a shot even if you’re not a dystopian person because.. I am no longer a dystopian person either and I did end up enjoying this :)

  1. says

    Juneau sounds like a really likable character and I’m glad you enjoyed this one even though it wasn’t perfect. I know what you mean, there are a few books where certain instances in the storyline that would normally bother me but there were also factors that I really like so I ended up enjoying the book despite those instances. I love a surprisingly good read! Great review Rashika :)
    Amir recently posted…Mini Review: Onyx by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I do that often too, if I am enjoying a read, then things that would usually bother me don’t nag on me as much. ME TOO. It’s been a while since I’ve read a ‘surprisingly good’ book.
      Thanks Amir!! :)

  2. says

    I very rarely read Dystopia and this post apocalyptic one is the least of my favorites. I prefer the alternate future kind of world that wasn’t preceded by destruction or any disaster…. I feel like such a downer! Sorry!

    Anyway, I dislike convenient storylines too, I feel like that’s lazy on the author’s part, surely she can come up with something more creative than coincidence right?
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Loved It: The King by J.R. WardMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      HAHA it’s okay. To each and their own. I totally agree. It seems lazy and more like a plot device than anything else but it evened out and… I’ve kind of been wanting to read a reverse dystopia of sorts for a while now so that definitely worked in the books favor! :)

  3. Aimee says

    So glad you enjoyed this more than I did, Rashika! I loved the whole concept, as well as the Yara-related things. But Miles though. I wanted to throw a rock at his skull and possibly break it, haha! Lovely review, dear!
    Christie recently posted…Monthly Recap: MarchMy Profile

  4. says

    I’ve been debating over whether I wanted to read this or not because I was kind of getting burned out on dystopians. Then I did something dumb, I just finished reading the Divergent trilogy back-to-back, and now I’m … ugh. Just … ugh. lol. I’m actually still really curious about this one, though. Knowing it has a cliffie like that though, makes me want to wait until the 2nd book is out anyway.
    Christy recently posted…Maybe Someday by Colleen HooverMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Yeah.. ugh. I am still looking for someone to trade my copies of the first two books with. It is the series that shall not be named… yeah. I’ve kind of lost all faith in dystopias. I keep on wanting to see why I loved them so much in the first place.. and I also have a handful of sequels/finales to read… in the dystopian genre.

      But as someone who has been burned out on dystopias I definitely recommend it.. hey even if you don’t like it, it’ll be somewhat refreshing compared to all the other generic tropes used in the genre. But yeah, wait for the second book :P

    • Rashika says

      I KNOWRIGHT? my luck with dystopia has been crap. I’ve been avoiding the genre for a while but the synopsis of this one grabbed my attention and I couldn’t resist temptation. :P

  5. says

    When I actually read the blurb to this book, I did think that it would’t be for me, but I’m glad that it did give you something extra then all the other dystopia books already out there. I’m always on the lookout for a book which gives me more, especially in this already packed genre. I can’t actually remember the last time I read a dystopian book! The issues that you had with this book Rashika are so funny, which ceo would not have a password on his computer? That does sound really ridiculous! But I think that I could probably overlook some of these issues and actually enjoy this book! Thank you for your honest review!
    Jasprit recently posted…Divergent European PremierMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I KNOW! I KNOW! Like… so a spy could get into his house and steal information without any problems.. like his son kind of did.. because he was smart enough to forget to put a password :P
      Thanks Jasprit!! :D

  6. says

    Arrgg, I kind of hate mixed reviews like this. Now I don’t know if I should read it or not!!!!
    I hate books where things conveniently happen; but, the story reminds me of the movie “The Village” so of course I want to read it. God! life is hard.
    Lectus recently posted…Vicious by Victoria SchwabMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I AM SORRY. PLEASE FORGIVE ME for being so vague and annoying! :P
      I am going to have to watch the movie now. Seriously. I feel like a loser because I have no idea what everyone is talking about :P

  7. says

    I have been looking forward to this for a while. I hope the UK cover is the same as this one. It is absolutely stunning!

    I hate it when books have convenient moments. Like when you want to get over a ledge in a dystopian world and BAM! ladder on the floor. How convenient. Even though this seems like a pain it doesn’t seem to have taken away from the while read.

    I am glad you liked this so much, I will definitely be picking this up when it comes out! :)

    GReat review and thanks for sharing! :)

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex :) recently posted…Review: Hooked by Liz FicheraMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I KNOW RIGHT? The cover is GORGEOUS!
      It didn’t for me. It did make it harder to enjoy it initially but as the book progressed, the book became more and more enjoyable.

      Thanks Alex! :)

  8. says

    haha is there a reason you requested the book if you were expecting to hate it? Felt like writing a snarky review or something? :P

    Urgh is there a cliffhanger?! Dang it….especially since I have an ARC and will therefore read it early. So much more waiting…
    Nara recently posted…Quiz: Genre ConundrumMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      LOL. I actually didn’t feel that way until I dived into the book and read the first handful of pages. I didn’t feel like reading it so I took a breather for a day or two and then dived back in (after reading Khanh’s review) and actually ended up liking it :)

      I KNOW RIGHT? That always makes it harder .-. but hey we might even get the e-arcs for the sequel :P

    • Rashika says

      I actually haven’t read Plum’s previous works either… but I am planning on giving her other series a shot now. I kind of added it to my TBR list last year (or two years ago was it?) and completely forgot about it :P

      I hope you enjoy it too!! :)
      Thanks Kelly! :)

    • Rashika says

      DUN DUN DUN DUN.
      Yeah 10 year olds especially :P I have no idea why a CEO wouldn’t have one. That was just odd :P

  9. says

    Pretty much my feels but I couldn’t overlook the grievances, especially the coincidences. I kinda liked the romance because they only admit to liking each other-not loving, thank god as compared to other YA novels! But yes, on its own, I did think even for that, I should at least see something coming. It was like at one particular moment, they both decided they liked each, like they’re synchronized. Fucking coincidence, if one chooses to see it that way. Fucking YA romance, I choose to see.

    I liked Juneau but I never got the sense that she was a person, you know? It was like, dude you are cool and all, but you sure you aren’t a grown-up in a teenage body, like Detective Conan or something?

    I totally overlooked the CEO thing, though! :P And who IS Missa?
    Stuti recently posted…Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)My Profile

    • Rashika says

      I’ve read a couple that didn’t use the ‘L’ word but the L word seems to be rather common :P I KNOW. Like they decide that and then suddenly they’ve always liked each other? what? huh? why? YA romance *shakes had*

      I can see where you are coming from. She wasn’t always easy to like…. :P

      HA. I was being nit-picky then because all the coincidences were rubbing me in the wrong way so yeah :P

      Missa was a reference to Star Wars .-. There was a character who said that in the 2nd trilogy.

  10. says

    I’m actualy a very big fan of this author so i’ve had this one of my tbr for a while! I like how you mention After the End isn’t like other dystopians and the book sort of realized that. Makes it very interesting. It sucks you werent able to fully LOVE this one like i was initially hoping too but you still enjoyed it and thats all i can hope happens for me. Oh and the romance thing did throw me off a bit, i don’t like how it wasn’t insta-love per say but they did suddenly get a really random connection out of no where.
    gREAT REVIEW!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog
    lily recently posted…To All the Boys I’ve loved Before(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before#1):ReviewMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      there is always hope! I really hope you enjoy it!!! :D Especially since you’re already a fan. I am actually going to check out her previous books to see how they work out for me.
      Thanks! :)

  11. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one Rashika – minus the minor problems you had with it. It sounds like a pretty solid dystopian story – I’m definitely adding it to my TBR! Thanks so much for sharing, and, as always, brilliant review! :D
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  12. says

    i think that this one is coming up soon for me next week and you have me excited! i only skimmed your review, but it’s a shame that the romance didn’t go too well even though you really liked the main character! i think i’ll like her as well ;)

    lovely review, girl! <33
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    • Rashika says

      Ha. This happens pretty often doesn’t it? :P (great minds follow similar reading schedules? :P) I cannot wait to see how you felt about this one!! :D

      Thanks Mel! :)

  13. says

    Good to know that this puts an original spin on the same ole dystopian genre. Okay, so if I push through the first third of it then I’ll most likely start enjoying myself? :D Oh yay! Awesome that the female lead is a great one even if Miles is not a likable guy. Ooooh, burn! The romance? Doesn’t seem that good indeed, though I wonder if I’d be able to look past it (insta-attraction and out-of-nowhere-kissing) and enjoy it as a whole. Conveniences, conveniences, begone! I’m glad that you enjoyed this as a whole even though you clearly had issues with it. Let’s hope that the sequel will be better :)
    Siiri recently posted…Review: One Tiny Lie by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Hopefully ;). It isn’t so much insta-attraction as it is random romance. I mean we all saw it coming, it’s just it also seemed to come out nowhere. :P
      BEGONE YOU PESTS!
      I am pretty sure it will be! :D

  14. says

    I’ve been eyeing this one for a little bit now ^.^ Your review has convinced me to give it a fair shot. I’m especially excited to hear that you enjoyed the dystopia element of this one, honestly dystopias and I don’t tend to get along as they’re so formulaic. To hear this one actually works though? That’s very promising and makes me want to pick up this read right away. I haven’t read an quality dystopia in a verrrry long time. I’m alright with books that require me to suspend my belief but not to an over the top rate. The fact that the ‘coincidences’ and such minimize make me feel like I’ll be okay. The main character seems tolerable too! Lol and realistic which is always a plus.

    Great review! I’ll definitely be checking this one out.
    Larissa recently posted…Discussing Through Midnight (28): Larissa’s Italian AdventureMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Yeah. I am tired of that too which is why I kind of gave up on them for a while .-.
      I really hope you enjoy this Larissa!! :D

      Thanks :D

    • Rashika says

      Yup. I need to watch the movie now. Vacations need to come sooner and time needs to magically come out of nowhere.
      Thanks Rachel!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Yeah. I feel like I should start doing that too but that would mean I would run out of books to read (you know that phobia). But seriously, the cliffhanger was bad in this one.. okay so I don’t feel the whole cliffhangery feeling now because… yeah because (cannot say without spoilers…

      THANKS JESSICA. :”D
      (1. YAY SOMEONE MISSES ME. 2. I am only going to be gone for a couple more weeks.. and I am still replying to comments here for one more week :DDDDDD)

  15. says

    The concept behind this one just sounds so different, which is easily the biggest reason I’m attracted to it. I’m pretty surprised that the romance came out of no where – that was the biggest reason I enjoyed Plum’s other series; the romance was one I really enjoyed!

    I think I could get past the minor conveniences, if I found myself enjoying the dystopian world as much as you did!
    Kelly recently posted…Reading Challenges Update #1My Profile

    • Rashika says

      Ooo now I am looking forward to reading the romance in that one! :D

      I really hope it works out for you too! :)

    • Rashika says

      I agree :/ I miss good chemistry in YA. Although the romance in (Don’t You) Forget About Me was just.. gorgeous (one of the more recent full of win YA I’ve read).