The one thing that author Amy Plum does really well, is to leave readers hanging in the lerch, while she sits back laughing maniacally at us poor suckers who picked up her stories looking for a good time. After the End once again proves that Plum loves to see her readers squirm like little kids being put back in to our play pens for behaving badly. Yes folks, I am talking about the dreaded CLIFFHANGER ending!
After the End flip flops POV's between Seventeen year-old Juneau Newhaven, and Eighteen year-old Miles Blackwell. Juneau has spent her entire life being brought up in seclusion in a little village called Denali, Alaska. As the village's presumed next Sage, and best hunter, she's been told that it has been 30 years since the LAST WAR, and that her parents and others escaped to Alaska to avoid the nuclear explosions. Returning to her village after hearing flying machines, Juneau discovers that everyone in her clan has disappeared, the dogs have been slaughtered, and message has been left for her to RUN!
Traveling into the great unknown, where supposedly no other member of the clan has gone before, Juneau's entire outlook on life changes, along with her connection and belief in YARA. She is forced to face the reality that her father, elders, and mentor Whittier Graves, have all been telling her lies her entire life. She has to ask her self the age old question of how do you separate fact from fiction, while trying to reunite and save her clan from the unknown world. She tries to understand this new world while staying one step ahead of those who want to capture and use her access to something she's never heard of before, while discovering a new connection to a boy who may have his own agenda.
Miles is a "blissfully ignorant spawn of the rich who has lead a fortunate life, unfortunately for the rest of us." He's been thrown out of high school for cheating, thus putting his chances at entry into Yale in jeopardy. After learning that his father, the owner of Blackwell Pharmaceuticals, is searching for a teen girl with long dark hair, who is 5'5", and has a gold starburst in one eye, Mile's decides to find the girl and give her to his father. If only it were that simple. How does one just drive to Seattle, collect a girl he knows nothing about? What are the real reasons behind his father and others obsession with this strange girl who believes in Magic? How can he put his future ahead of hers, knowing that she's an innocent and naive teenager who is apparently more interesting that he could have imagined?
After the End has fallen into the wrong category by many reviewers because of the cover of the book, and the synopsis itself. The story is in no way, shape or form dystopian, or post-apocalyptic, especially since the so called wars, never actually happened. The story reads like a science fiction novel filled with mysteries, and a road trip to discovery between two characters who have absolutely nothing in common, but absolutely need each other in order to survive what's coming their way.
I will say that the opening chapters of After the End, and the last ones, are possibly the best chapters of the entire book. The other chapters are basically one LARGE road trip crossing the Northwest trying to unite Juneau with her father and her clan, while Miles comes to understand Juneau and her magical abilities. While I often cringe at the duality POV aspect, I will say that you get an understand of Mile's character over time, while trying to focus on Juneau's belief in YARA, and the fact that her entire life is a mountain of lies and mistruths told by elders who knew better.
After the End does not offer up any sort of 3 way love triangle, or insta-lust situations that I loathe so much. It offers up a determined character in Juneau who's journey is just beginning, and many secrets have yet to be revealed. Here's hoping that the sequel beats the brains out of this book.
Author - Amy Plum
Title - After the End (After the End # 1)
Published by Harper Children's
Released: May 6, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: E-book 336 pages