After the End Things Aren’t Always What They Seem…

After the End

13601681Author: Amy Plum
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Harper Children’s
Source: Edelweiss DRC
Genre(s): YA Science Fiction

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers: High
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I am so glad I didn’t read anything about this book before I started it because if I had I think I would have ruined the surprise that comes early on. And reading this book with just as little knowledge about what’s coming next as Juneau has going in really adds to the effect of the story. Unfortunately, to review this book properly I have to spoil it for you guys so if you are going to avoid the description on the back – which I highly recommend – and go into this book blind then maybe don’t read this review.

But if you want to play it fast and loose and ruin a great experience then fine. Read on!

You’re sure?

Okay.

So, After the End was a surprisingly great read and not what I was expecting at all. I figured, hey, After the End? That sounds like some YA dystopian book and I like those. I like YA dystopias. Cool. Let’s give it a shot. And, honestly, that’s sort of how it starts out. Juneau lives with her clan in the wilds of Alaska where they too refuge after WWIII made most of the world uninhabitable way back in the early 1980s. She and all her friends – the other children born in the community to the survivors – are named after the fallen Alaskan cities in an attempt to remember their past. For survivors of the last world war, they are a surprisingly healthy and robust people. This is because of their connection to the Yara – a magical, mystical force that connects them to the rest of the natural world. Juneau is particularly connected to the Yara and she’s in the process of training to be her clan’s next mystical leader when tragedy strikes. While out hunting a deer that the Yara guided her to she realizes something is wrong and returns home to find everyone has been taken.

Juneau goes in search of them but her search leads her to discover that everything she has ever believed was a lie. The world was not destroyed. There never was a third world war. But the danger her people are in is very real and so she sets off in our modern world searching for the people she loves. Joining her on this venture is Miles, a selfish and privileged young man whose only interested in taking her back to his father whose been searching for Juneau and her people for some unknown reason.

It’s a fantastic set up for a story.

I liked how practical Juneau was while also still being lost in a world she doesn’t quite understand. And I also really liked Miles as a person because, you know, I could understand him. Most of the time we’re supposed to relate to the main characters but Miles is more like those of us reading this book. He’s from out time. He thinks Juneau is crazy. He has his flaws. He wants to prove himself to his father. He’s got family drama. Miles is a normal – if kind of douchey – guy. The novel is told from the point of view of each character in alternating chapters and while Juneau’s were more exciting Miles’s chapters were more along the lines of what I would have been doing in that situation.

The romance between the two was a bit forced but beyond that? I was totally into this story. And the cliffhanger ending? Ugh, I was so damn frustrated. I can’t believe I have to wait to find out what’s going to happen because it is NOT a good cliffhanger. Let’s just say you’re going to be worried like crazy for a good like… year. Or more. It depends on when the second book comes out. But yeah. Expect to throw your book across the room when you finish.

Ugh, I just need to know!

Final Thoughts: 
After the end puts a very refreshing spin on the present YA dystopia fad. I was pretty surprised and very pleased. Juneau is a good main character and Miles puts a touch of reality on  a book that mixes survivalist communities and mysticism together in a crazy, modern setting. It’s good. The mysticism bit and the whole Yara thing you might think distracts from the story but it really doesn’t at all. It’s a solid YA book… it  just ends on a super frustrating cliffhanger. So if you don’t like cliffhangers maybe hold off until the whole series is out.

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