Nov 3, 2017

Series Review | After the End #1, #2 by Amy Plum

Title: After the End by Amy Plum
Series: After the End, #1
Genre: YA - Science Fiction
Publication:  May 6, 2014 by HarperCollins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: I didn't have high expectations for this one, but all I knew was dystopian so I figured I would give it a shot. I'm not even sure if I had read the synopsis, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was a very fun, and unique story that I really enjoyed.

The story begins just like the synopsis explains, with Juneau and her clan getting kidnapped and finding out that the world is in fact, intact. Of course she feels betrayed, but also wants to find her family. Luckily, she comes across our friend Miles who is just a regular guy with no special skills at survival, which would come especially useful since they are stuck trying to survive life in the wilderness. Juneau and Miles are quite a pair, and their banter, weariness of each other, and eventual friendship really kept me captivated to the story.

There are some fantasy elements entwined in this story, which I felt weren't exactly necessary but definitely didn't take away from the story. I really don't know what else to say, other than this book surprised me with how different and enjoyable it was. While it wasn't dystopian, or science fiction, it does have a bit of each, as well as bits of other genres.

We are left with a cliff hanger of an ending, too, so I suggest having the second book handy because you'll need to know what happens next if you're invested in these characters and this story.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Title: Until the Beginning by Amy Plum
Series: After the End, #2
Genre: YA - Science Fiction
Publication:  May 5, 2015 by HarperTeen
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: When Juneau's clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people's gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village.

Juneau and her new companion Miles's cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau's people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people - and herself - Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.

Thoughts: This didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. The book begins with more fantastical elements than the last one, and that would've been okay. But after the cliff hanger gets resolved, the relationship between Miles and Juneau changes quite drastically for just a few days in between. It becomes something awkward and I was mostly whatever about, which sucks because that was really my favorite part of the first book.

While the story does progress, there is less of a sense of adventure in this one, and more of an expecting of something to happen. Things do go down, but overall, I felt whatever about those too. I gave this book a 3 stars only because I got a good enough conclusion (even though I wasn't sure if this was the last book, with that ending) and I still wanted the protagonists to succeed in their mission.

The first book was definitely a better, more fun read. I feel that if the author had condensed this second book and made it a larger standalone, it would've felt better. Instead, it was made into a duology and the second book is just sort of bland. I do recommend the series because I really loved the first book, but I do have to say not to expect as much from the conclusion to the story. It was a fun read overall, but could've been finished off better.

Overall Rating:

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