A copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I enjoyed After the End for the most part; the story was interesting and different from what I’ve read recently. It helped that I knew that this book wasn’t a dystopian so didn’t have that expectation. I believe, that if I had, I would have been disappointed. This book was more centered on Juneau running from one place to another trying to grasp her new reality. A lot of time was spent traveling through the woods or driving across country.
The pacing was fairly slow, and for it being about a girl trying to save her clan and running from the ‘someone else’ looking for her it was relatively a stress free read. I wasn’t at the edge of my seat or ever really that scared for her. Even given all that I was interested to learn about Juneau, her clan and what exactly caused them to lie to the young about there being a huge war that destroyed everything. I enjoyed knowing that Juneau’s world was not as she thought of it going into this book. Plum has a very easy to read and inviting writing style so though the reveals took some time and not a lot was happening I still felt it was enjoyable.
After the End was told from Juneau and Miles point of view which did help to show differing perspectives and keep me interested in the overall plot. As for the characters I didn’t feel all that much towards them-neither love or hate. They just were. I never connected with either of them or any of the secondary characters. I wish I could have because I think the book would have had a deeper emotional draw.
I think one of the reasons I failed to really connect with Juneau was because she took everything in stride. She realized that her whole life was a lie and yet I never really felt her reacting in a real way. She was upset and angry but her emotions always felt flat to me. She also adjusted to her new reality far easier than I would have expected or liked. I wanted to experience the struggles of adjusting to this new reality with her.
The relationship between Miles and Juneau was a bit lacking as well. They did grow individually as the book progressed but I failed to feel much chemistry between them. As with a lot of things in this book it just felt to easy and convenient. I never felt that Miles’ character ever added up…he was immature and described as a privileged brat in the beginning though he really owns up to things and becomes more honorable as the book progressed. This was incredibly plausible I just never really felt the growth as a reader. Regardless of that I did end up liking him and do believe I enjoyed his point of view the most.
I will say that of all the characters my very favorite was a raven that had a pretty significant role to play. I felt that the interactions between it and the characters were the most entertaining and heartfelt of the entire novel.
Sadly, my above review feels more negative than I really felt about the experience of reading After the End. Though I never truly developed a connection to the characters I was always interested in the plot and Plum’s writing was easy to read and enjoyable.