Monday, December 22, 2014

It is the End... Or Is It?

Some things are never as they seem, and After the End, by Amy Plum is no exception. A story within a story that leads to another story, this is one post-apocalyptic tale you haven't heard before... because nothing is as it seems. 

Juneau was raised to be the next Sage for her community. Using the earth and its energy, the Sage can communicate in a way completely foreign to the humans of the past. Then again, much of the post-apocalyptic landscape after devastating World War III would be foreign to the humans of the past. Juneau's parents, among others, escaped the war-torn wasteland to hide and survive in an isolated area of Alaska. They live off the land and with the land. But when Juneau's entire community disappears while she is on a hunt, along with the sighting of a helicopter- a piece of technology that should be long gone with another way of life, she knows she must find them. 

Meanwhile, there are a lot of people looking for Juneau. When she makes her way back into the United States, she doesn't find what she expected. Life is carrying on normally. In fact, it appears there never was a war. Determined to find her parents, cynical, skeptical Juneau picks her way through the country looking for her people. When she comes across Miles, she has no use for the disrespectful boy, but he has a reason to go along with her- he wants to help capture her and curry his father's favor. While Juneau doesn't trust him, she also isn't aware of the depth of his deceit. The only thing she cares about are her people. 

I was totally surprised by this book! I expected your typical post-apocalyptic story (clearly didn't read the description too carefully before starting it) and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and differences of the story. I even really liked Juneau- a girl completely out of her element in the modern world after growing up surviving in the Alaskan wilderness. It was refreshing and even comical at times to see her trying to make her way with so little knowledge of survival in a world of technology.

My one confusion was Miles. There are these moments when Juneau really feels drawn to him, and I just don't get. Usually I like the wise-guy with a heart of gold character, but Miles didn't have that redemption for me. Instead he seemed like a pompous, self-serving little twit most of the time and his few moments of unboorishness were so few and far between they left me undeterred in my original opinion of him. Overall, I liked this story and there were a lot of unanswered questions that I look forward to exploring in the sequel. I just hope Miles stops being such a darned twerp!

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