Title: After the End
Author: Amy Plum
Published: May 6th, 2014 by HarperCollins
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.
After the End tells the story of Juneau, who believes that her clan is one of the survivors of World War III and that the rest of the world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. What pulled me into the story is the fact that everything she believed was a lie and the war never happened. I thought that Amy Plum did a wonderful job taking us with Juneau on her journey to find her clan and through the emotional turmoil she faced as she was thrown into a world she believed had been destroyed decades ago.
I felt that the first few chapters were somewhat slow and didn’t really manage to keep my attention for long, making me put it down several times. And I especially thought Miles’ chapters, in the beginning, were sorely lacking any excitement and I didn’t know why we needed 2 pages of Miles every time Juneau’s chapters were just getting interesting. But despite its slow beginning, I thought After the End really picked up once two main characters crossed paths, and I finished it pretty quickly.
Juneau and Miles are two very different characters and it shows in each of their chapters. Juneau’s upbringing makes her wary of the modern world, but she also finds things that she likes (mainly junk food). Their ways of thinking differ greatly, and it shows in the way their chapters are written. Juneau is more contemplative and observant, while Miles is sarcastic. I thought that both Miles and Juneau are likable characters. They each have good qualities and flaws that make them realistic and relatable. Their character development can be seen throughout the book, making me care about them even more.
The villains in this book didn’t feel very intimidating, maybe due to their lack of scene time. But they weren’t menacing or scary, and I didn’t really care much about what they want. I understand their objectives, and I don’t want them to win, but their whole scheme felt very lukewarm and uninteresting. I wasn’t sure if the ‘plot twist’ is supposed to be a plot twist, but it was also quite predictable. Although apparently “things are not as they seem”, so we’ll have to see what happens in the sequel 😉
One thing I really appreciate is the lack of insta-love since the entire book takes place in less than a week. Juneau and Miles clearly like each other, maybe not at the beginning, but definitely towards the end. But they both had more important things to think about. And plus, for most of the book, Miles thought Juneau was the crazy girl who was brainwashed by her family.
With so many dystopian/post-apocalyptic/etc stories out there, After the End brings something new to the table. It may not be the end for the rest of the world, but for Juneau, it definitely felt like the end of hers. So to me, it was a refreshing take on something that is more common. While it has a slow beginning, I think the strong protagonist and intriguing storyline more than made up for it. I really enjoyed reading After the End, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. Especially when it ended with a cliffhanger!
If you’re looking a for a quick and easy read that’s not too deep and emotionally tiring, After the End could be a fun read for you 🙂