After the End (After the End #1)

13601681Author: Amy Plum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy-pr-everything-untoward, sci-fi

Ladders and lassos, old bedtime mainstream YA story time!

But first foreword: After the End was completely incongruous with my expectations, which drifted towards dark and post-ap and wrought with tension, similar to Under the Never Sky. It turned out to be a restful, agreeable kinda story focused on the characters more than the plot. Which might not have been the aim, considering the rapidity of the novel, and the elements of the story. Or it might have been, I really don’t care. I’m taking what I get as I read along. There were some parallels between the aforementioned book and this one, but none appear overtly obvious.

Roadtrip/On the run. Girl on rescue. Boy after girl. Girl after boy(because of an Oracle said so). From the two rivaling sides of the same coin. Romantic tension. Misunderstandings. Typical greedy villain. Family secrets and lies. Could have been complex side characters but really weren’t. Destiny(obviously albeit it’s not mentioned outright). Conventional cliffhanger. End of story. To top off the cake, nondescript handwriting and flat, and as Rayne mentioned, one chapter literally starts with, “I was looking at the roof and thinking many things.”

It’s two teenagers meeting on unfamiliar turfs, inevitability in their steps as they seek the other, and the hints and troubles of young love. Because one can try to figure out the plot and predict where the story will follow, immerse oneself in their world, brainstorm, but a.it’s not the kind of story where you brainstorm, it’s kind where you settle in for a ride; and b. it wouldn’t matter anywho because it relies much too heavily on coincidences and chance meetings and destiny and deus ex machina, and powers popping up and developing out of nowhere. Just there in moments of heat, which I could believe, except they felt too convenient, discovered at exact moments. I don’t like convenience.

After the End was a rather mediocre book but not bad. Even in its unoriginality, it didn’t feel too derivative because of the sequence of elements, of the arrangement of elements, and how it was incorporated and worded. Especially worded. I think that was one of the few plus points, sadly.

One of my peeves besides the long list was easy resolution of conflicts, which contributed to lack of tension. I don’t mind angst, but I mind simplcity, which is how the book went on. Magic happened, characters appeared, guilt settled- easy peasy, just tap your heels three times. AND, what was with the absurd premise.

I’d like to believe there’s some secluded community far off at Mt McKinley, but I can’t. Albeit I’m not an expert on all things US, I’m not even an expert on little things US, but common fucking sense prevails, you know? I know it sounds weird, but I’ve given in to my common sense since I was a kid and now I’m practically a slave to it. So pardon me if I think this a tad mundane and far-fetched, especially for thirty consequent years. AND what comes next, which was SOOOO stupid I can’t even. Nope. Watching people like ants from who knows where. But I’m not an expert, it could happen. People could make it happen. Believe what you wanna believe, and do what you wanna do. I think I’m being very narrow-minded but common fucking sense, you know? I’d like to say F YOU to it, but it’s been very patient all these years and doesn’t usually comment on my stupidity and my far-fetched ideas and belief in all this Doctor Who and magic. I feel like I should give in to it some, you know?

I did like the characters, circumventing the scarcity of angst and realness. I’m not exactly sure what to say about Juneau besides that I liked her, because I couldn’t form much of an opinion about her. Which is, in fact, weird and woulda been complete bullshit if not for the fact that it’s because the ratio of screentime of Juneau to Miles was somewhere around 3:2. IMO, Miles was a good character- not the most complex- but his naivete made him seem real, and that is really what brought me closer to liking him. The thing I didn’t like about him was that his development was too instant, over and done with in a few seconds and the same number of lines.

Also, for the first quarter of the book, Miles’s chapters’ length remains constrained to half a page. These chapters are actually a way to monitor his father’s actions vicariously through him, and were really mostly about his father. Perhaps so we could see the progression of the story from all directions but I personally felt it was poor penmanship. Besides being bland, the writing also lacked drama and passion and sentiment. Revelations were made, next scene played out, where are the fucking emotional ramifications? Chapters pass, oh look! there’s a mention that the unforeseen revelations had some kinda effect on her, though I don’t really SEE it. She’s simply telling me there is, and pardon me, but along with my common sense, I prefer to believe what I see(unless it’s a mirage but they’re cool actually). I could never get a feel of how calamitous or appalling or grim all things were.

The climax was really short, and I could there was no fucking climax because that’s how it seemed. Everything was so… plain. On a level ground, the whole ride was played out whereas I expected a bit of rollercoasting. (view spoiler) There were almost no answers given, other than the explanation for the premise, but that’s what sequels are for, right? Which, I think, is one of the major causes of Second Book Syndrome.

The romance was hushed, and this was mostly the getting to know part of a long life of kissing and snuggling, the deciding to go on a first date, the going and deciding to go on a second but taking things slow… No confessions of undying love! Hurray! This is where it differs from most, so basically this was one of the major factors in my decision to rate it at 3 stars.

Another was:

Why did I feel safer in a post-apocalytic world than in this functioning, civilized world?

But cliffhanger? That was a total ploy for the longevity of readership. SO really, cliffhanger? Fuck you. I’m not interested in continuing with the next book.

Skipping this one won’t be a great loss to your YA foodweb or ecosystem. You might happen to like or you might be bored. I suggest reading Rebel Belle in the stead of After the End, which was fun and quirky and sixteen figurative pounds of awesome, and which I should talk about in its reviewing space. Oops!

Review copy provided by the publishers.

Mushu

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