After the End by Amy Plum
Publisher- Harper Teen
Released- May 6th 2014
She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.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.My Thoughts:
Already a big fan of Amy Plum's Revenant series, I couldn't wait to read her latest project, After the End. Once I read the blurb, I knew that I needed this book in my life, and while I had a couple of tiny issues with it, it still turned out to be a pretty amazing escape.
First off, huge props for this extremely well plotted storyline. I can't say that I've read anything like it before which made it even more thrilling and absorbing to read. When I think of Alaska, I always associate it with the harsh frigid cold, but it's a place I've always been intrigued with. While I do wish we got to spend a little more time in the village and see more about how the clan lived, it turned out not to be relevant to the storyline and Plum still managed to do an incredible job bringing this world to life with her crisp storytelling and refreshing characters.
Well I'm impressed! This book has a lot more to offer then what I originally thought. I don't want to say to much plot-wise since I think other readers will enjoy everything this book has to offer, but I will say that this is more in the fantasy genre with psychic connections then the apocalyptic theme that I was lead to believe. Which isn't a bad thing. It's cleverly deceptive, unpredictable and even shocking and I really loved Plum's concept about Yara and how it ties with spirituality, mother earth and natures goodness. It's a very fitting blend to Juneau's character and what makes her stand-out amongst other fictional characters.
The beginning of the story is absolutely fantastic. We have Juneau in crazed-survival mode trying to figure out what happened to her father, clan and mentor when she discovers that her village has been invaded and her people kidnapped. When she connects with Yara to find them, the riddle-like clues point her to Seattle.
When we meet Miles, he's being expelled from high school just months short of graduating and his chances at Yale are growing slimmer and we soon learn the reason why he's involving himself with tracking down Juneau. And when Juneau and Miles finally do meet up, it's quite amusing to see how these two very different characters clash. But...as the story keeps unfolding on to what feels like a long journey to find Juneau's people, we hit some pockets in the pacing that tended to drag out a little bit to long. Mind you, I was still very much absorbed and invested with the book, but after awhile apart of me was more then ready for some answers. Sadly by the time we get a little information as to what's going on, we're back on the chase moving further from the real truth. It makes the plot gripping, yes, but it also makes it quite maddening to go so far and still be left with doubts and questions on top of a riveting yet evil cliff-hanger of an ending.
There really isn't a whole lot of characters here besides Juneau and Miles, but they both completely owned it and made the entire experience worth the read.
Juneau is a character that simple amazed me. She just found out that her whole life has been a fabricated lie and she feels betrayed angry and hurt. She started to doubt everything she's ever known and I can see why trusting anyone at this point would be difficult. But through it all we watch Juneau and her mystical talents to connect with Yara, Read/Conjure and see her strength, passion and determination leap right off the pages. She's gotz fight and flare that you can't help cheer for.
Miles on the other hand doesn't have the best intentions when he went looking for a girl with a starburst in one eye, and made it painfully obvious that he thinks Juneau and her crazy delusions are nothing more then the rantings of a hippie-lunatic on the run. I'm not going to lie, Miles disbelief makes him seem like a real ass. His patronizing, flippant and taunting behaviour seemed almost harsh at the time, but in a strange way, it was also pretty reasonable and even expected. If it were me, I'm not sure I'd believe Juneau either. Still, it was pretty easy to fall for Miles right from the start. It was fun being inside his head and I couldn't help myself from laughing during his hysterical moments that ranged from questioning his insanity and fearing for his life. Loved his quick wit and sarcastic comedy.
When together, I felt like this is where Juneau and Miles are the most strongest plot-wise and storytelling. While I do like them individually, they shine more when united. There is really no romance in this installment, but we did get a few moments that were sweet. But who needs romance when the bickering banter, stubborn confidence and playful energy is all we needed for true entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their quirky partnership that needed the necessary baby steps to be able to connect them on a deeper level. From tolerating, compromise, accepting, admiration, attraction and finally affection, Juneau and Miles were truly undeniable every step of the way.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. After the End is a promising start to what I believe will be a stunningly fascinating series. I may have had a couple minor issues, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the experience as a whole. I have a lot of questions and Amy Plum as some 'splainin to do, so I can't wait to get the next installment in my greedy little hands. Smart, unique and compelling. I need more!
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