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.After the End by Amy Plum
Series: After the End #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 6th 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, YA
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"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.
With an incredibly exciting premise and a unique magical twist, After the End could have swooped me off my feet, but instead I found myself getting increasingly bored as the book went on. What started as a fun adventure involving a girl who finds out that her whole life is based on a lie, ended up being nothing but a dull road trip with flat characters and an artificial romance.
I admit to being compelled at first, however. It begins on a high note when we learn all about Juneau’s way of life as a “survivor” after WWIII – or so she thought. Even though it only lasted a few pages, the survivalist lifestyle they had been living was intriguing, and the inclusion of a magical aspect made it all the more fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the Yara and how she could use it to her advantage during her escape. It also had me wondering what eventual twists this story would throw at me. Unfortunately this is where it stopped being fun, or even realistic.
Juneau soon finds out that there was no WWIII, and the world is actually as it is for us today. She does a double take, takes a night to take it all in, then adapts to it all as if she had not, in fact, been raised in a secluded life away from any kind of civilized modernization. To make matters worse, the dual POV makes us spend time in Miles’ dull perspective while Juneau is off acclimating herself to a new world without us. In a matter of a few pages with Miles, a couple weeks have passed and Juneau is already passing as a regular ol’ homeless teenager. It was a bit too unconvincing. Then, mid-way through the book, this girl who has seen a car for the first time in her life drives one across state by herself like it’s nothing. Right.
Most of the book consisted of them mindlessly driving from one detour to another, while Juneau droned on about how she was misled and deceived. All without any kind of emotional or psychological depth, of which we merely scratched the surface throughout the whole book. It was just a painfully boring trip. Furthermore, to no one’s surprise, a romance to bloom between the two; a dispassionate and forced romance that felt like nothing more than a plot device to try and lend power to his betrayal and eventual plot developments. On that note, the plot does introduce a few twists that are intriguing, but not especially interesting. Likely due to the lack of character depth and development; I couldn’t have cared less about any of them.
After the End ended up being a drawn-out, tiresome book that lacked the emotional punch it clearly needed. As a result, instead of being entertaining, the plot came off as stale and contrived. Evidently, I was not one with this Yara!
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