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 didn’t have access to the internet when I started reading this novel on my Kindle, so I couldn’t refresh my memory about the synopsis before I plunged in. But truth be told, I actually think not knowing the synopsis made After the End even more interesting for me because early on, when the truth hit about WWIII for Juneau and Miles, I was shocked and totally riveted to the spot. It’s always fun to go into a book without knowing the premise, and generally I am always surprised by what I learn along the way, having no expectations going in, and so I feel like I should do it more often, especially after absolutely falling in love with this novel.
I will admit that the first chapter didn’t reel me in right away. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and this is why people write a synopsis for books in the first place—to give a little background. Juneau’s story was a bit interesting, but not riveting, and I was definitely thinking Hunger Games throughout that first chapter, but then Miles came on the scene and changed everything for me. I can’t express how exciting it is to figure something out before a character does; to have an “aha” moment before the entire picture becomes clear, but as Miles’ story began to evolve, I definitely had a moment where everything suddenly clicked and I was hooked, line and sinker.
If you haven’t read the synopsis above as of yet, well, I’m about to ruin it for you. The whole idea of a society gone into hiding after WWIII, only for the truth to come out that there never was a WWIII, well… genius. Just. Genius.
Can you imagine finding out that the entire world you know and understand, or thought you knew and understood, was a lie? That everyone, mentors and parents included, have lied to you since birth? It’s mind boggling, yet this is exactly what Juneau experiences as her world deteriorates around her. Thrust into the unknown, a world she was taught to fear, she must trust the most unlikely allies in order to find her family, and it’s definitely a bumpy and intense ride the entire way.
Filled with elements of the paranormal, Plum’s latest novel is epically fun. I especially love that it’s told from two different viewpoints, allowing readers inside the minds of both Juneau and Miles as they make decisions and choices that could ultimately end with their death if they aren’t careful—but to not take risks means ultimate failure and the death of others. Locked between a rock and a hard place, unsure just how much trust to put in the other, both Juneau and Miles have many choices to make, and lots of growing up to do. Five amazing stars.
In exchange for an honest review, has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on May 6, 2014.