TITLE: In the After
AUTHOR: Demitria Lunetta
GENRE: Apocalypse, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
PUBLICATION DATE: June 2013
HARDCOVER: 455 Pages
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you until you are dead.
Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape--and even rescue "Baby," a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy's house, the girls do everything they can to survive--and avoid Them at all costs.
After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she'll lose Baby--and much more.
Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.
STAND ALONE OR SERIES: Book 1 in the After duology
HOW DID I GET THIS BOOK: Bought
FORMAT (E- OR P-): Ebook
WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK: I have had my eye on this book for a while, but hadn't really heard much about it this year when it officially published. When I saw the book start to pop up on a few best of 2013 lists, however, and then snagged it as a recent Kindle Daily Deal, I was ready to give this title a try.
I am going to preface this review by saying: I am an idiot. A BIG FREAKIN' IDIOT. Why do I ignore my instincts and shy away from books that I've had on my radar for ages? WHY? I am kicking myself because In The After is made of 100% pure awesome, and I don't know why I wasted so much time getting around to this title. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the story:
It's a day like any other when the world ends. Amy is at home, watching TV and eating bagel bites when They arrive. They are insect-like creatures that are incredibly fast, strong, and devastatingly hungry. Anyone caught outside is almost instantly killed, ripped limb from limb and devoured by the monsters. After a day or two the news stops on tv. The radio stops broadcasting. The rest of the world goes deathly silent. Amy is lucky - if she was outside with her Father camping or with her mother shopping, she would certainly be dead. But, thanks to her mother's highly sensitive government position and her father's preoccupation with the size of the family's carbon footprint, Amy's home is a practically self-sustaining fortress - protected from the monsters outside with an electric fence which stays powered-up by the solar panels atop the house. After days and weeks of fear, Amy ventures outside the house and discovers that she is not the only survivor - she stumbles across a quiet, wide-eyed toddler and adopts her as her sister. Together, Amy and "Baby" survive the post-apocalyptic landscape for weeks, months, even years - learning to communicate only in sign language, for They come at the smallest sound.
But one day, everything Any and Baby have come to expect of their world changes. They are not the only survivors - a colony called New Hope exists, protected from the horrors of the outside world. New Hope isn't all that it seems, however, and forces threaten to tear the sisters apart. It will take all of Amy's resourcefulness and courage to keep herself and Baby alive.
Well color me embarrassed, folks. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book because it is awesome. I'm talking possible top 10 of 2013 material kind of awesome. In the After is the kind of alien-invasion apocalypse that I've been yearning for all year, and never quite got. What sets In the After apart from the slew of other alien invasion books to come this year? What makes it more resonant (in my opinion), than Rick Yancey's blockbuster bestseller , or Paul Antony Jones' chilling scope in and ? In my opinion, it's the core relationship between Amy and her adopted sister Baby (and later, other survivors and members of Amy's family), as well as the nature of the invasion itself (and the answers given plainly in this first book).
At its courageous, beating heart, In the After is a story about sisters. Yes, it's also about survival and the apocalypse (which is frightening and actually quite zombie-esque, with an auditory twist), and scavenging supplies and facing down the monsters and other survivors who are predictably cutthroat. But at its core? The thing that makes this book tick is the bond of trust and unconditional love forged between Amy and Baby. As Baby's elder by several years, Amy almost leaves the toddler behind when she first stumbles across her - unwilling to take the risk and face certain death. As time passes, though, we see Amy and Baby form a routine, strict rules to keep themselves alive, but they also never stop hoping for more. I love the way their relationship is tested by the involvement of outsiders, and that while there is a subplot involving a romance, it is the bond between the girls that is the driving force of the novel. MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
Similarly, I loved that this book is not a 600 page tome, that the novel actually spans several years but is expertly paced, AND manages to answer some key questions as well. The book is divided into two parts (during the apocalypse - or, as Amy calls it, the After), and then in New Hope. The result is a little disjointed, but it worked for me and I liked the change of pace and revelations in the second part of the book. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that the twist on In the After's particular end-of-the-world story is awesome (if not entirely unexpected). The book ends in a way that is logical, refreshing, and makes me incredibly excited for book 2.
Ultimately, In the Afteris a fantastic, apocalyptic read and absolutely in the running for one of my fave books of the year. I cannot wait for the concluding volume of the duology, In the End, out June 2014.
NOTABLE QUOTES/PARTS: You can read the first 100 pages of the book .
RATING: 8 - EXCELLENT
READING NEXT: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
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