Monday, May 5, 2014

After The End by Amy Plum

After The End by Amy Plum
Release Date - May 6, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
"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
Imagine someone you care about keeping a big secret from you. The kind of secret that changes the way you see the world. The kind that, when revealed, shifts the foundation you thought your world was built on. This life changing experience is exactly what happens to the resourceful, capable protagonist of Amy Plum's After The End.

Juneau is a nice blend of capable and vulnerable. Amy Plum is careful to let her strengths shine when they are presented, but also just as careful to allow for her lack of modern knowledge. Juneau has been cut off from the rest of the world, so many of the things we take for granted are new to her. She's smart, and learns quickly, but it never feels like she knows more than she should. The character is someone who knows her own strengths and doesn't apologize for them. She uses them, even when presented with a situation she is unsure in. She attempts to adapt her knowledge into something that can help her. It made her feel authentic to me, because she didn't immediately know things. She fell back on what she did know in order to survive.

The journey Juneau takes and the answers she uncovers is the main for the novel, and therefore filled with spoilers. It's a rather interesting set up for what is to come, and I feel that now that the ground work has been laid out, the remaining novels can move forward to the heart of the story. World building (or mythology building in this case) is important, and sometimes patience needs to exercised to get the pay off. I think that this novel is doing just that (of course only the next chapters in Juneau's story will prove me correct or not).

A slow building romance is typically what I love, but my only little issue with this novel was actually the romance. The 'why' of the romance is what sells it, at least for me, and I never got WHY Juneau and Miles like each other. They don't trust each other, and sometimes barely tolerate each other. The build up was something I was happy about, but I wanted to pinpoint the moment their feelings switched. Perhaps they are still building, and I will see it in the upcoming installments. Both characters are rather interesting on their own, but perhaps this romance just isn't for me. Luckily, there are other, more pressing, elements that take precedence in the story.

The 'magical' aspect of this novel is going to be a hit or miss with people. I found myself understanding where Juneau was coming from, and could grasp what it meant to her, so it felt natural to the story. It was enough that Juneau believed for me. I admit that I did want more of an explanation. I wanted answers. Answers that I don't think we're supposed to know yet. I do think it's all coming in the subsequent books (especially after something that happens later on in the book) but I am unsure if people will give it the time it needs to expand and be revealed.

After The End ultimately won me over with it's heroine, Amy Plum's storytelling, and it's potential. I see this series gaining speed as it goes along, and I am curious as to what will be revealed next. While not everything appealed to me, there is more than enough to keep me coming back. Fans of Amy's previous novels should devour this one as even though it's different from her previous works, everything you love about her writing is there.

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