Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: In the After by Demitria LunettaIn the After by Demitria Lunetta
Series: In the After #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 25th 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

A stronger first half than the second, but overall this is a highly entertaining post apocalyptic book! I mean: zombie aliens!

The world in In the After has just been attacked by an alien species who are terrifyingly similar to zombies. These creatures eat humans, they’re dumb, and they’re relentless (they keep trying to get at you no matter how painful it may be to them). It is a tad reminiscent of The 5th Wave, although that book philosophizes more on what it means to be human and the consequences of such an event on humanity as a whole, whereas In the After concentrates on the main characters’ direct survival story. It’s fascinating to see the adaptive capacity of human beings.
This book is Amy and Baby’s story, and a great example of why I love this genre. 

Amy was just a little girl when the aliens came. We’re initially introduced to her 3 years after, so her complete story is told with the help of flashbacks during her early days when she was clueless – she finds it a miracle she even survived. What I found the most interesting in those sequences were her discoveries regarding the aliens – their ways and habits. They’re quite the fascinating creatures. Amy’s past is also where we meet Baby, the other main character of the story. Baby, a fantastic addition to the story, was only a toddler when Amy found her. This child stole my heart from the first time we saw her stuffing her face with fruit, somehow still alive. Surviving in this world depends on stealth. If you can be quiet and blend in your surroundings, you’ve got a chance, and baby astounded me by how intelligent she was. This could easily have been unrealistic – being the mother of a hyper toddler and all – but I grew to believe in her instincts, and you also get an inkling that she’s not just an ordinary child. These two quickly form a bond like no other, a bond that I could feel in the deepest pits of my heart. There is nothing like the relationship between two people living a catastrophe, I think Lunetta did a fabulous job at making this the essence of the story. While this bond grows, so do Amy and Baby. We see them develop their own language, learn how to get by with bare essentials, and mature – especially Amy – into strong, capable, and intelligent survivors.

Halfway through, this book turns from apocalyptic to a dystopia when they’re brought to a survivor camp that soon has Amy unsettled with the controlling way it’s governed – forced gestation for one. This is when the book becomes a little less… everything; less exciting, less chilling (though we still have our moments), less characterization, and we lose the intimate relationship we had with two lone characters that has now grown to include a full blown cast. Fortunately the main characters were already well developed and my connection with them formed; it’s the characters we meet in the compound that don’t particularly stand out. I was reluctant to let them in my Amy/Baby niche. I also wasn’t a fan of the boring romance that blooms. I mostly found it distracting, as if it was maybe added to the book due to the annoying belief that every book needs romance. We do learn some interesting details, however, about the creatures and the current world situation. So while this second half didn’t take away what I liked about the book as a whole, it prevented it from a possible 5-star.

Perfect for fans of zombie and apocalyptic novels, In the After is an engaging read that surrounds with the fear of the unknown, leads us to the beginnings of a dystopia, and ends with the promise of a thrilling sequel.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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39 Responses to “Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta”

  1. Siiri

    I had no idea about this one. Wut? Zombie aliens? Wow! LOL. I can see that you’re on a roll with this genre. I’m glad you liked the apocalyptic part so much, but sorry you didn’t enjoy the dystopian one so much. Anyhow, this’d be a thrilling read to spice up my contemporary kick. Heh. Thanks for sharing, Giselle!

  2. The Teen Book Guru

    AAAAH GISELLE, DID YOU SAY: ZOMBIE ALIENS?! Two of my most favorite things in the world, combined in one book?! I NEED to get my hands on this. The whole premise is so fascinating. Bahaha ‘baby’? I don’t know why, but naming a character Baby just makes me want to LOL. Haha. It’s sad that the second half wasn’t as good as the first, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. FABULOUS REVIEW, GISELLE! <3 XXX

  3. Amy

    I just got the audio of this and am really excited to listen to it! It sounds awesome!! It’s too bad that the second half is slower, but it still seems like a book I will like. Great review pumpkin!

  4. Jenea Whittington

    I watched the trailer the other day, and my son and were trying to guess if it was alien or zombies. Alien zombies! Yes please… Glad you enjoy it, even though the second half wasn’t as good. It still sounds awesome. Great review. 🙂

  5. Julie

    Zombie aliens? Um…what? It sounds like a great book for those sci-fi apocalypse lovers, but I think I’ll have to sit this one out. Zombies scare the bejezus out of me. Aliens as well.

    Great review!

  6. Alexa Y.

    I really didn’t know much about IN THE AFTER before I read your review. It sounds like a mishmash of elements, which is always interesting. My favorite thing, though, is how it sounds like those two main characters are strongly written. It’s great that you were able to forge a connection with them!

  7. Megan K.

    This sounds so exciting! I especially love the sound of this turning from post-apocalyptic to dystopia – two of my favorite genres, and Amy sounds like the ideal heroine. Too bad about the romance, though. I agree: I dislike it when authors add in romance just for the sake of romance. It’s getting wearisome. Great review, nevertheless. I’ll be starting this one soon, so fingers crossed that I’ll enjoy it, too. 🙂

  8. Getty @ Teenage Book Critic

    This book sounds fascinating. I loved The Fifth Wave and apocalypses in general, so I’m going to keep my eye on this book. And the zombie aliens sound interesting, but I’m just wondering, does it ever explain how they got to earth, since they’re so unintelligent?

  9. Christianna Marks

    This book sounds like it’s right up my alley. I like that you said that it kinda switches in the middle. Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors and he always does that in his films. Well, not his most well known ones, but the ones that are my favorite and this sounds kinda like that! And Baby sounds like a legit character too. I think reading about the two main characters sounds like it would be a lot of heart pounding fun!

  10. Hollie

    This one sounds like such an awesome read! I love apocalyptic books, and the zombie aliens sound so creepy yet kind of cool at the same time! It’s a shame about the romance, especially as it sounds like the book was doing just fine without it. Great review!

  11. Aneeqah

    Ooh, the beginning part of the story sounds particularly fantastic! I’m loving the sound of this relationship between Amy and Baby. I love those relationships that really touch you deep down- I find those are so hard to find in YA. But this one sounds utterly touching. And that’s not even to mention the sound of these awesome alien zombies!! They sound so creepy. But the second half of the story does seem a bit more dull, and it’s sad that the intimate relationship we get between Amy and Baby is a bit torn apart.

    Anyways, awesome review as always Giselle! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  12. Kat Balcombe

    I completely agree – I found the first half much stronger for me than the second half – I love how Amy adapted and how she bonded with Baby, despite her shaky start. But it was all very readable 😀

  13. Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters)

    I NEED TO PICK THIS UP NOW. I got an eARC of it awhile ago, but I have no clue why I haven’t picked this one up yet because it sounds amazing! The bond between Amy and Baby sounds incredible. It’s not everyday that an author uses a toddler as a main protagonist. I’m certainly intrigued now! I don’t think I would mind that it goes from post-apocalyptic to dystopian, but the fact that everything degraded is kind of sad. But I will be picking this book up soon, hopefully! Fantastic review, Giselle.

    Jen at Books and Other Happy Ever Afters

  14. Molli

    Wow, awesome review, Giselle! I really wasn’t expecting this book to go into and develop the characters, so that’s awesome. 🙂

  15. Kristin A.

    I really enjoyed this book as well. However, you are so right the book did lose some steam when Amy and Baby headed to the compound. I would’ve preferred more of just them struggling together to survive. Also the whole Ward commentary was meh.

  16. Aman

    I’m so glad that you pointed out the In The After is more about Amy’s survival story than all the discussion about the future world because that was something I didn’t enjoy in The 5th Wave. I really wanted more Cassie in that , so this might turn out to be a good read for me. Thanks for bringing it to my radar and for the wonderful review 🙂

  17. Alexia

    I really need to read this one. Your review proved that to me.It’s something totally up my alley so that just makes it better.

  18. Eileen

    Oh yay zombie aliens sound so cool they’re like alike yet totally different, like they’re both all foreign and dangerous, but one type is from Earth and the other is foreign. That’s actually amazing how they both end up in the same story as a weird mix. But I’m really glad that the two main characters are really well-developed, I love getting to really relate to a character while reading about a fantastically fast-paced romance, even though I can definitely see why you didn’t like the last half as much as the first one. I would hate if something just abruptly slowed down like that, and it sucks that Amy and Baby had such great development, but then nobody else did.

    Fantastic review!!

  19. Jennifer Bielman

    Too bad about the slow/boring second half but come on. Alien zombies?? Yes, please. It’s rare to see a book about aliens that are kinda dumb. I am very interested.

    • Giselle

      Zombie aliens are awesome! 😀 The 2nd half was not really boring, I was never bored in the book at all, I just wasn’t as excited by what was happening than the first half which is really a more intense survival story.

  20. Melanie

    Okay, this description of alien zombies have me hooked. Dumb and crazy. Sounds like someone I know… hehe 😛 I am so excited about this one now.

    Wonderful review as always, Giselle! <33

  21. Micheline D

    Damn it! Why did those freaky aliens have to go and be like zombies?! I was wanting to read this one bahahaha! I still might though, honest but I’ll need to be in the right kind of mood. I love how you described plot (especially the first half) and the characterization. Thanks for the insight 😀

    • Giselle

      Bahaha zombies rule and you know it! 😛

      They’re not “technically” zombies though since they’re not undead or wtv but they eat people and are relentless and stupid like zombies. We do find out exactly where they come from by the end, too 😉

  22. Maji Bookshelf

    oh yea, seems like everyone enjoyed the first half (or maybe third, since it is divided in three sections) more than the later parts in New Hope. Like you, I did not enjoy the romance and felt the book’s pace slowed to a crawl.. also I didn’t like the flash forwards.. Overall I gave it 3.5 so i guess you enjoyed it more than I did. 🙂

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  23. Bellas Shelf

    Please tell me are they TRULY zombie aliens? No, wait, don’t ruin it. I’ve seen this one a few days ago and it’s def on my TBR list for this July!
    This seems to be an Alien and Zombie Summer.
    Falling Skies begins again, World War Z starts tomorrow, 5th Wave, and this book. I think we are on to something here.
    Maybe we’ll have a movie instead Alien VS Jason from Friday the 13th we’ll have Alien VS the World War Z Zombies! Those are FAST Zombies! Woo-EEE girl! It’s not normal how FAST they are!
    Maybe we can make a little side story of a romance between the Zombie Princess & an Alien Guard…lolz..

  24. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I really enjoyed this on and the relationship between Amy & Baby which was a surprising to me because I usually don’t like little kids in my books. LOL The twist with the aliens was awesome. I was pretty sure that was what was going on early on. The people of New Hope were ridiculous trying to hide that stuff and forcing people to have babies. I also thought Amy’s mom should have told Amy everything sooner. The romance was kind of randomly thrown in and not well developed.

  25. Jenn Renee

    I have been very curious about this book. It sounded so interesting but was hoping it would live up to my expectations. It sounds like it did yours. I can’t wait to check it out. Zombie Aliens, thats a new one.

  26. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I am so glad to see so many positive reviews for this one, since I’m dying to read it! I can’t wait until I get the chance to read it, I love the sound of the aliens and the relationship between Amy and Baby.

  27. Christina

    Blergh. I’ve heard that about the second half and it makes me sad. Why start so strong only to go to boring, hackneyed romance place? DON’T GO TO THERE. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE THERE. Stay here in awesometown! We have sandwiches! And hot people!