by Amy Plum
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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 we’ve been waiting for months to read a book, we can’t help but be afraid to feel disappointed in the end. Let’s get this straight : You can stop holding your breath, because it wasn’t the case here. Indeed while After the end is by no means a flawless book, it delivered almost exactly what I expected : adventure, strong and funny characters, coherent world-building, pretty good writing, and no insta-love. However it lacked something to become a favorite of mine, and I’ll explain why
I’ll try, anyway.
▒ Let’s take a look at this graph, shall we? ▒
As you can see, I can’t say that the plot was always fast-paced, because my interest in the story fluctuated. Indeed, if I wasn’t bored in the beginning, I wasn’t enthralled either, mostly because I didn’t quite understand what the situation was. Now, perhaps it’s my fault because… I didn’t reread the blurb. Imagine my surprise to switch between Juneau’s POV in a post-WW3 world where the world is destructed and the regular teenage life of Miles in high school! See? I was kind of lost there, and I can slap myself for it. Wait – no, actually, no. Because if I got the choice now, I wouldn’t change my decision to not reread the blurb or any review before reading it, as the surprise effect was incredible to enjoy. So, people, I won’t say too much about the plot either. Just know that Juneau lives in a little community and is able to use Nature’s powers in order to get information from her environment. Yes. Magic. As for Miles, well… He is our regular rich teenager who lives in a big city
and I’m not saying anything else about him for now, otherwise I’ll spend my review rambling about him.
Then they meet, and … Nope, no insta-love, no insta-lust either, only a girl who thinks this city guy is a complete moron and a boy who finds the wild girl batshit crazy. Let’s take a moment to savor this.
“I turn to him. “Actually, I don’t trust you. Frankie told me not to, but he also said I had to be honest with you.”
“Who the hell is Frankie?” A note of hysteria creeps into Miles’s voice.
“Frankie is the guy who sits and drinks beer on the corner of Pike and Pine. People call him Crazy Frankie.”
“You take advice from an insane alcoholic?” (…)
“He was my oracle,” I respond.”
I absolutely adored their banter, their misunderstandings, and MILES – OMG. Miles was such a drama queen – fucking HILARIOUS, for real. He’s lost, he spends his time freaking out about everything Juneau says or does and doesn’t trust her guts one second. But then, how could he react differently? I mean, I did used to camp so the wilderness doesn’t scare me but Juneau – Juneau is talking to the fire for fuck sake! And the raven. Oh god, the raven. Let’s talk about a weird pet. Therefore as you can guess, the middle part was my favorite by far : I laughed, swooned, was hooked.
“I’m lying here in a tent, pretending to be asleep but actually fearing for my life as I watch a bunny murderer have a conversation with our campfire.”
However, despite the fact that their relationship grows rather slowly – trust issues, guys – I didn’t quite felt their physical attraction until the very end. Banter? Yes. Friendship? Yes. Let’s kiss? Nope. Not really, and thus I didn’t find this particular evolution completely credible – Not at that moment at least.
I ship them so hard now.
“Well, normally I would say that Whit wouldn’t hurt a flea. But from what Poe here told me –
“Poe?” Miles interrupts.
“The raven,” I say.
“You named the bird?” Miles asks, his voice tinged with a note of hysteria.”
I didn’t reviewed the whole graph, but that’s pretty clear, right? Please say yes.
▒ Now, let’s talk about my loves and peeves, okay? ▒
+++ The characters, especially Miles : as I said earlier, in my opinion what makes this book its strength is clearly the way the characters act around each other (except that kiss, okay, I won’t go over that again). Between the sarcastic and down-to-earth Miles and the strong-minded and nature connected Juneau, everything leads to fireworks and damn, I loved that something fierce. Moreover, to my delight, both evolve throughout the story.
++ The trusts issues were particularly well-handled, as they can’t never really know who and what they can believe and trust – and follow their own agenda.
As Serj Tankian would say
♬ ♪ Lalalalalalalala lie lie lie
Lalalalalalalala lie lie lie
Lalalalalalalala lie lie lie
Lalalalalalalala lie lie lie ♬ ♪
► You get the general idea.
+ I wasn’t convinced by the Yara magic, from which I got too many deus ex-machina vibes : even if her powers don’t always work, it was frankly way to convenient sometimes, for real.
In a nutshell, why should you read it?
✔ Because Miles will make you laugh for sure
✔ Because Juneau isn’t whiny and fights for what she wants
✔ Because the twists toward the end captivated me
✔ Because… What? Isn’t it enough?