Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End #1
Publication: May 20, 2014 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC sent by the Publisher
Category: Dystopia, Romance, Sci-Fi
"I have no idea what is truth and what is fiction. I'm all I've got now. I can't trust anyone."
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.
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I don't normally read synopsis. That way I won't get my hopes too high or I could avoid judging a story over a bad synopsis. All I know about After the End is that it's a dystopian novel. Today, am so glad I didn't read the synopsis. I was blown away by how deep the story truly is as opposed to what was printed at the back of the book to tease me. Am just so glad that I loved After the End more that I thought I would.
Juneau, together with the rest of her clan, lives in a somehow remote place in Alaska. They all grew up there knowing there is no life outside their small town. They were taught that after World War III in 1984, all of the towns were destroyed, almost a few survived and the surrounding has been toxic with radiation. Juneau is going to be a Clan reader next to Whit, her Mentor. He teaches her how to be a good leader and more specifically, how to commune with the Yara. The Yara's mark is visible through their starburst pupils. One day while on a hunt, she heard brigands nearby and she was shocked that their entire village people were captured. She sets off to find and save her father and the rest of the clan that as soon as she steps outside the border, she realizes there was no signs of war. She continues her search and with the help of her connection to the Yara, her path leads to the truth about her and her people, about Whit, her starburst and to a person that will help her find her family, a beautiful city boy named Miles.
This is no doubt Plum's best book yet. The way she plotted and wrote After the End is stunning and brilliant. At first I was introduced to confusion and nearly gave up on it. I wasn't connecting to it. Thankfully, I persevered and was completely caught off guard how truly satisfying the book is. Am deeply in love with the concept of being shunned from the rest of the world then braving what unknown there is outside the comfort zone in a dystopian kickass way. The plotting wasn't just a mere plot but inception of consistent plots. Every single turn of each page is so trivial to the entirety of the story that I wouldn't allow myself to miss a word. I inhaled After the End like how I need oxygen. The unexpected turn of events and unparalleled revelation kept me clasping my mouth from shouting. It kept me awake all night, unable to put it down. Am too afraid to stop reading feeling and thinking the story might go somewhere else without me and also eager to be there every step of the way. How Plum managed to entwine small details with big details I don't know, but am happy she did it this way. It perfected the story, it exceeded my expectations, it completed me.
I commend the entire book in a heartbeat. I want to also commend the characters. Juneau, such a strong-willed character whose love will never falter despite betrayal. She's naive, brave, wise and unselfish. Most of all, I love her faith in things she knew is right and her unique sense of humor. She's one amazing female protagonist I will adore and there isn't a single thing I hate about her. Her character is the only match for Miles'. Miles character is the typical boy-next-door I know. Handsome, rich, rebellious. He gets sarcastic when he doesn't understand or believe things. However, his voice captivated me, not only his hilarious line deliveries but the depth of it is so strong I was swept away. Getting to know him added rainbows to the story. He's very alluring and funny to listen to. I may have found my OTP in him. I do. I love Miles.
The debate whether who's the bad guy can be easily won. But along the way to discovery, you will find yourself confused. Will you side with Whit, who might have done everything to protect the clan or will you pick Murray, who is a little obsessed with whatever caused the starburst? This, along with the ending I will never ever accept, is the ultimate ending of book one. And once you reach this point, you would beg even the god of Pop-Tarts for the next book.
After the End is truly mind numbing, heart breaking and fist clenching dystopian take. The depth of my love for this book is undeniably immeasurable. It took my breath away in a surprisingly beautiful way. The striking prose combined with the astounding mystery behind the plot, this book is worth all the praises the dictionary can ever produce. Brilliant, wonderful, magnificent.
Thank you HarperCollins International for the review copy!
"Doubt everything [...]. Doubt everything at least once. What you decide to keep, you'll be able to be confident of. And what you decide to ditch, you will replace with what your instincts tell you is true."
"Something is nagging at the edge of my consciousness. It's a good feeling, but I can't quite place it. And then suddenly I do. It's a feeling of being where I'm supposed to be. A feeling of knowing that I'm in the right place at the right time. With the right person."