Friday, October 3, 2014

After the End by Amy Plum

Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: After the End #1
Pages: 352
Genre: Dystopian
Synopsis: She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.
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.

Review: I'm not sure what I expected from this book when I started to read it.  It was fairly new and did not have loads of hype surrounding it.  The only thing I really knew was that it was a reverse dystopian book.  I certainly didn't expect to love it.
After the End was strange at first, I didn't really get it.  So this teenage girl with mysterious powers thinks the world ended?  But from the other main protagonist, Miles, we know it certainly has not.  And despite how many dystopians can be alike, this book turned into a sort of supernatural action quest. 
Let's start with the characters.  Juneau (pronounced like Juno), is a hardcore survivor who knows how to take care of herself.  Miles is a spoiled rich kid who was kicked out of school for cheating, which even he admits he didn't know why he did.  I enjoyed reading from both perspectives, though I did prefer Juneau.  She's strong and brave and determined, she is a bad-ass fighter willing to do what she has to do to save her clan.  She is in no way stupid.  Juneau is completely competent.  She knows not to trust Miles with everything because he has an ulterior motive.  No boy would follow some strange girl's every command and follow her into the wilderness for no reason.  And Miles, you've got to hand it to him.  He didn't run, not even when the weird girl claimed she had magic powers and talked to birds.  They were believable characters, distrustful of one another.  And another thing: no insta-love.
Juneau and Miles learn to trust and believe in each other.  There is a lot of miss-communication, this girl is insane, this boy is an idiotic moron, petty fighting.  Their bickering, too, was hilarious and had be gasping for air.  It was a light romance, genuine.  It developed slowly from mistrust to friendship, though I have to say the jump from SHOULD I TRUST HIM/HER to LET'S MAKE OUT was a little abrupt, but overall, the romance and friendship was very well done.
The mysterious power source of Juneau's abilities, called the Yara, was explained.  Yet, it was still extremely confusing.  It solves a lot of irreparable problems that may have otherwise been completely hopeless without the convenience of magical abilities.  The Yara is a sort of mother nature type of power source.  It was based after the Gaia theory.  The abilities Juneau possessed were intriguing, to say the least.
Most of the action in this book is in the first and last third.  That middle third is mostly a road trip full of arguing and relationship building.  But when there was action packed moments, it was heart stopping.  A lot of sections left me going, "What did I just read...?"  And the plot twists thrown in were catastrophic.  Though I must admit the ending was too sudden.  I turned the page, saw the book was over, and just went, "What do you MEAN it's over?! It can't end, not NOW!"
After the End was an original take on a common genre.  The book had a compelling mystery and awesome characters.  I don't have too many complaints about this.  Mostly I just want to know when the sequel comes out.

4 Keys

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