Series: After the End
Published by HarperTEEN on 6th May 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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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.
Hmmmm I don’t quite know where to start with this review. There were parts during this book that I was eye rolling in disbelief and then there were parts where I couldn’t put the book down. My rating for this one changed continuously while reading it and even now I keep hovering over what to rate the book.
The book starts by introducing you to a small Alaskan community who are a group of survivors from WWIII. This group lives in harmony with the land and can connect to Yara which allows them access to limited magic-like abilities. Things aren’t actually what they appear to be and Juneau, the main character ends up on a mission to find her clan after they vanish while she is hunting one day with the unlikely help of Miles a self absorbed rich kid. Juneau has to come to terms with the fact that there was no WWIII and everything she has known was a lie while she and Miles are hunted across the US searching for her family.
The book is narrated in alternating chapters between Juneau and Miles and this works quite well however I found Miles to be an incredibly annoying character which made those chapters a little bit difficult to get through at times. Miles…. I just didn’t get him. I couldn’t work out his motivation and while the plot gave him one it didn’t ring very true. For someone who seemed very lazy he made a huge effort to randomly go looking for a girl he only had a vague description of simply because of some overheard conversations at his dad’s office door?? Hmmm…. He also thought she was crazy for the majority of the book yet this didn’t fit with his actions for the majority of the story.
Juneau thankfully was interesting and very resourceful which I enjoyed reading about and while at times she seemed to pick up skills a little too easily (um driving a car after just from watching someone… hello?) I could let that go to the wayside as it still fit with her personality. I also really enjoyed her growth through the book as she adapted to her new surroundings and learnt more about her innate magical ability.
The relationship chemistry between these two was just plain bad and except for when the author actually wrote about the tingles they got from one another you would be forgiven for completely missing that Miles is Juneau’s love interest, in fact I actually thought that this book was going to be devoid of any romantic relationship for either character until about 70% into the plot.
Now there were a lot of big question marks for me that kept jarring me out of this novel and into reality. I am someone who is fairly relaxed about plot holes and the like if the story is good so this isn’t an experience I’m very used to and I didn’t like it one bit. I think the first thing I struggled with is that the likelihood that they weren’t close enough to a commercial plane traffic path seems unrealistic surely they noticed things in the sky especially seeing they had encyclopaedia’s and she knew what a helicopter was. I just really find it hard to believe that anyone who was only 3 days away on foot from a city could actually have lived for their entire life without noticing anything at all.
Most of the book is spent with Juneau avoiding Whit, her mentor who is also apart from their group and appears to be one of the baddy in this story. Considering she realises fairly quickly that all the adults have been deceiving them and Whit appears to be the lead instigator I just can’t imagine why she wouldn’t have a million questions for him and continued to run from him when she could have sent messages to him for an explanation or arranged a meeting. She is so determined to find her clan yet so willing to throw him to the wolves I just don’t get that.
I loved the part of the story where she is learning about her connection with the Yara and the backstory about her clan and why they separated was interesting though I had a fairly good guess at what at least part of the reasoning was right from the beginning. To be fair, perhaps I cottoned on quickly because I’ve read some other YA dystopia’s recently which had very similar back stories. The plot pace was fast especially for the last 30% of the book and I was really enjoying things and getting caught up in the read, when bam the book ended without any real wrap up and a huge cliff hanger. If there is one thing I despise it’s books that don’t tie up properly and finish as a book should, this whole finishing a chapter and deciding that’s the end of book 1 is just pure laziness on the authors part as far as I’m concerned!
When I first finished this book I gave it a 2. After sleeping on it I revised it to a 2.5 because as much as that ending annoyed me if I’m completely honest with myself I’ll be desperately waiting for the next instalment to find out what happened so I’ve added an extra half star for keeping me hooked for book 2. Well played Ms Plum indeed.
– some real promise and enjoyment if you can suspend belief while reading