After the End by Amy Plum
Summary: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.
After the End is, without a doubt, a highly original and entertaining read; despite the few qualms I had with it. The direction Amy Plum takes on her world is unique and utterly compelling and like nothing I have read of before.
It’s been thirty years since the war. My parents and fifteen others escaped in the very last hours, after the first firestorm of nuclear explosions triggered the aftermath . . . the creeping death of radiation and famine and genocide. They came here to Alaska’s unspoiled territory, far from any city that would have been targeted for destruction.
Juneau has lived in the Alaskan wilderness with her tribe for her entire life after the world was damaged by the nuclear explosions, radiation, famine, and genocide of a treacherous World War III. Luckily, the few survivors bonded together and journeyed to Alaska – the most radiation-free land they could find – and survived for over 30 years by being one with nature.
But one day, after returning from a hunting trip, Juneau’s tribe disappears; and as she sets off to find them, she realizes a shocking truth…
Beneath me lies a city. It is not in ruins. It isn’t decimated by war and poisoned by radiation. It is a thriving city with massive glass buildings glistening in the late-afternoon sun.
As a character Juneau is absolutely intriguing. We sense her naïvety, and how truly confused she is about everything that happens to her. You can’t help but feel sorry for her as she gets overwhelmed by the constant hustle and bustle of modern-day society. But, despite her sheltered past, there’s no denying that Juneau is a strong, determined protagonist; and that she’ll do anything for those she loves.
My problem with the story is that it is rather predictable and all of the problems seem to be solved a bit too conveniently for my liking.
All in all, if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read with a highly original concept and plot, After the End is definitely something you should look at. If you want something complex and mind-boggling, I wouldn’t quite say this is the read for you.