Series: After the End, #1
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 really didn’t know what to expect when I started After the End. I’ve read and enjoyed Amy Plum’s Die for Me series, but that was the ultimate guilty pleasure read for me. I’m happy to say that in this book, Plum has grown much and it’s now simply a ‘pleasure’ to read – skip the ‘guilty’ part.
As I’ve come to expect from Amy Plum by now, After The End is definitely original. It may be just me, but I don’t know any books about someone who thought there was a World War III when, in fact, there never was.
After The End is told in dual POVs, the main characters being Jnueau and Miles. Both POVs are told in first person, which can be a slippery slope. Fortunately, Plum did a decent job giving the characters distinct voices and I never confused their chapters with one another. Juneau is a girl who pays a lot of attention to nature due to her upbringing. She knows no shame, and she doesn’t care what others think of her. Also? She’s part Asian, and I want to say kudos to Plum for featuring a non-white protagonist! I definitely thought she was a strong female character and while I wouldn’t say I absolutely LOVED her, I enjoyed reading her chapters and I was glad that between her and Miles, she was the stronger and more powerful character.
As for Miles… I’ve got to say that Plum did a great job in writing a typical, narrow-minded rich boy who has always had everything handed to him. In the beginning of the book I wouldn’t really call him likeable, but hey, characters needn’t necessarily be likeable. He does change throughout the book, and although he didn’t believe Juneau most of the time, he was slowly starting to like and appreciate her. By the end of the book, I did like him, so there definitely was some character growth going on.
Of course there was a beginning romance between the two main characters, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was afraid After The End might suffer from instant love, but that was not the case. Juneau and Miles slowly start to appreciate each other and they never even spoke of love. I’m really glad that the romance turned out like this! They had to overcome their differences and that simply isn’t something you can do overnight. I didn’t ship these two with all my heart. In fact, the romance left me rather indifferent. But I do recognize that it was well done and I appreciate how they slowly get feelings for each other.
I did have a slight issue with this book: the conveniences. Since the book basically starts off with Juneau discovering the world isn’t barren and post-apocalyptic, I understand that Plum didn’t have the time to demonstrate all Juneau’s skills at the beginning of the book. I did think, though, that the ‘powers’ Juneau has were a bit too convenient. I could understand how one, through their connection with nature, might be able to ask a bird to do something, but the whole camouflage/disappearing act was a bit too ‘handy’, in my opinion. Although it doesn’t happen too often, Juneau seems to have some hidden abilities or things she can do at the exact right moment, and that irked me a little, especially since some of these abilities didn’t really connect with each other. Juneau has a special connection to nature and so I expected all of these powers to be nature-related, but I personally thought that some of them weren’t. Although that’s debatable – it really hinges on what you consider to be related to nature.
In all, though, this was a really enjoyable read. Plum definitely shows her growth in After the End, and despite the conveniences, the characters, romance and plot appeared to be well thought out. It’s with a little bit of suprise that I can say that I definitely liked this!
~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy!~
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