After the End by Amy Plum Review

Monday, August 11, 2014

Title: After the End
Author: Amy Plum (Twitter)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Copy

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.
It's taken me a long time to both read and review After the End, in large part because I feel like the dystopian genre, although downright entertaining at times, has been a bit overplayed in the past couple of years. I was, however, intrigued by the premise of the novel because it seems so very different from the dystopian novels I've read as of late. If anything, it offers us a faux dystopian, which is remarkable because, if done right, we'd have the chance to see just how powerful those behind it would have to be…and why they did it. With veteran author, Amy Plum, at the helm of this one, I knew that I would love the writing, so I just needed to see if I would actually love the story, as well.

In terms of characterization, I absolutely loved how Juneau and Miles were complete opposites. Juneau lived in a society that believed they lived after the destruction of World War III. Miles, on the other hand, lives a fairly average and boring existence in his normal, everyday life and when their paths collided I knew that we were in for a treat. There was a beautiful dichotomy to the fact that they both thought the other was nuts. While Juneau's point of view was confused, but articulate, we saw Miles' as bewildered and just going along for the ride. There are massive trust issues that course through their interactions, as well, which kept the tension alive throughout After the End - especially because these two worlds have collided in a way that seems entirely implausible and chaotic.

The plot's pacing, however, was a different ballgame for me. After the End starts with a bang, and sets off at a rapid pace, propelling us on this journey to discover the nature of Juneau's world vs. Miles' world. And, for the first third of the book, I found myself unable to stop reading. However, as the story begins to evolve into a bigger picture where Miles and Juneau's lives intersect, it becomes a bit of a roadtrip story that's much more introspective than action-filled. I wanted more from those chapters, simply because I felt that they lagged after such an impressive start. Luckily, however, the pace picks back up in the end, and we're propelled towards a grand conclusion that definitely sets the stage for future installments.

In the end though, I have very mixed feelings about After the End. On the one hand, I loved the utterly original take on the dystopian genre, and I enjoyed how vastly different our two main characters were. On the other hand though, I wanted a little more consistency throughout, and I felt a bit like this novel was setting us up for future drama. In the end, that's great, but it tends to throw off my interest in the meat of the story a bit. I give it a high 3.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy dystopian and sci-fi novels. 

8 comments:

  1. Great review! I have been very curious about this book since I am a huge fan of Amy Plum. I am pretty tired of the dystopian genre though, so not 100% sure. I think you are right about the dystopian genre being a bit overplayed as of late. The pacing of this book sounds like it may be a problem for me, but the premise sounds pretty entertaining. I think I may get this one from the library. Thanks for the honest review!

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  2. I hadn't actually heard of this book, but I love the sound of the main characters and I think that I will definitely have to add it to my wish list now. I have yet to read an Amy Plum book so this could possibly be the place to start for me. Great review!

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  3. This genre's definitely entertaining but, yeah, very saturated. The pacing seems a bit odd but, with a good couple connection, I can overlook it. Lovely review as always, girl!

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  4. I'm glad you liked this one, Melissa. The characters were definitely the highlight for me, especially Juneau. I do agree with you about the pacing though. I felt like there wasn't much as regards to action in the mid-section, but I'm hoping that improves in the next book. I still thought it was a decent read and I liked that it was a faux dystopian, as you said.
    Lovely review, Melssa! :)

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  5. Wonderful review, Melissa! I've been so curious about After the End - I've not had the chance to read Amy Plum yet. It sounds like she did a great job with the world set-up and the characters for future books, despite the off kilter pacing. :)

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  6. I was really excited to read this one Melissa, but most of the reviews I've seen have mentioned a similar issue with regard to the road trip aspect of the story and the fact that it slows everything down quite a bit. I do love the way you describe Juneau and Miles and their fundamental differences though:) Gorgeous review my friend!

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  7. I've been hearing excellent things about this one lately but haven't picked it up yet. I'm waiting to see how the trilogy unfolds since most of these dystopians have a bad habit of evolving into trouble. :/ Glad you enjoyed this one, Melissa, and I hope the series continues to excel.

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  8. I just couldn't do it. I loved Amy Plum's first series, but this one ... Sigh. By the time we got to the road trip part, I was praying the car went over a cliff or exploded so it would be over. -__-

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