Tuesday, June 17, 2014

After the End

Juneau grew up in an insulated Alaskan community. Her people were some of the few who had survived the nuclear war that destroyed most of the United States. They live without electricity, running water, or modern luxuries. She is being groomed to be the next Sage to use her mystical powers to benefit the community. Unfortunately, one day when she was away, her whole village is kidnapped. Juneau leaves her homestead of the first time and discovers that she's been fed lies her entire life. The US is fine and the people thrive without radiation poisoning. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, Juneau has to find and save her village before the kidnappers get to her as well.

After the End is a fast paced adventure told in alternating first person narratives. Juneau is strong, self sufficient, and has mystical powers which she can use to see the future, communicate with animals, and use elements, among other things. She grew up in the Alaskan wilderness with no modern technology. Miles is her complete opposite. He's spoiled, a troublemaker, and completely dependent on iPhones, cars, and computers. Both voices are unique to the character. Juneau has an old fashioned cadence to her voice while Miles is more carefree and curses fairly often. I like both of their journeys. Juneau starts to doubt everything after she finds out the huge lie, even her powers. She has to decide how to feel and what parts of her upbringing to accept and what to reject. Her journey is reminiscent of how everyone discovers the outside world and its possibilities after being raised a certain way. Everyone has to figure out how they will live their lives, what religion if any to follow, and what parts of the beliefs of their family to bring with them to the future and what to leave behind. Even though she is so different from us, her journey feels so familiar because everyone goes through this period of doubt and self discovery when growing up. Miles grows as well, though I find him less relateable. He found a purpose when he was adrift in his life. I just found him kind of insufferable at the beginning of the book because he was so spoiled.The plot is twisty and interesting. I didn't always predict where it was going to go.

The main problem with the book is the marketing. From the back of the book, it's kind of like The Village and a pseudo-dystopia with a road trip. What they fail to mention anywhere on the back cover is the magic powers. Had I known they were included, I would have passed on this book. Their inclusion acts too much as a Deus Ex Machina when needed and it's too convenient. Then her powers stop working because of the doubt and then they conveniently come back when needed. I think this aspect just muddles the work by giving it an extra genre and a much too convenient way to solve problems or create conflict. The romance aspect was unnecessary and didn't really add much to the story. It just seems obligatory because it's a teen novel.

After the End is a fun adventure with twists and turns. The action is nonstop and the cliffhanger at the end is evil. I would continue to read the series.

My rating/l 3.5/5 fishmuffins

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