Title: After the End
Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
Those of you who follow my blog regularly might remember that I went on a digital arc requesting spree back in January – a rather greedy decision that I’m still paying for in May. After the End was one of those titles I probably shouldn’tt have asked for, considering I hadn’t yet read anything by the author. However, I’m glad I did because it drew me in on the first page and didn’t let up until the end.
The dual POV was easily my favorite part of the book, as both Juneau and Miles brought their own flavor to the story. Juneau’s plight was interesting, and I felt intellectually drawn to her throughout the story, but Miles was the character that sold it for me. He was just so funny and I found myself thinking “just one more chapter” to see what would happen with him next. I would go so far as to say he’s one of my favorite characters read about so far this year. He was earnest and vibrant, and I love how distinct his voice was from Juneau’s.
Another thing I really liked about the story is that it took place practically in my own backyard. Not to say that the setting was in Southern Utah, but Plum described places I’ve been and highways I’ve traveled, and it made the story have an extra element of fun because I could picture them perfectly! I’ve also always been incredibly fascinated in Alaskan culture (Eskimos!), and although Juneau’s clan wasn’t indigenous, her people lived off the land and had a great connection with nature… something I’ve always admired but could never bring myself to do (maybe if the yurts had electrical outlets?). Anyway, that bond with nature provided the basis for a cool magic system, and I look forward to exploring it further with Juneau in the second book.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this book was the ending… the story stops in kind of an odd spot and I didn’t find it particularly climactic. As this is a series, the ending isn’t a deal breaker, but I can think of the few things that would have made it stronger. I will leave it at that to avoid spoilers. :-)
Overall, I may not have read anything else by Plum before, but I am strongly considering picking up her other series now because of how much I liked the writing style and the voice of her characters. The writing had this great effortless feel, and was a lot of fun to read. If you’re in the mood for an entertaining story that’s not quite like anything else, this would be a great pick!
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