PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
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
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