Title: In the After
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Book #: 1st of Series
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish Date: June 25th 2013
Date Read: September 3rd 2013
Rating: ★★★ / out of 5
Something emerged, turned toward the camera, stared. Still coughing, I pressed PAUSE on the DVR remote and stood.
That was the first time I saw an alien.
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.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
Unlike the last book I just reviewed, The Infects, in which I divided the book into three parts, this book is already parted. We have After, New Hope and Guardians. Unfortunately, the last two parts pale in comparison to the first.
In the first part of the book, we see the MC, Amy, as she discovers that the world has been invaded by "unfriendly aliens". We are there with her as she tries to adjust to life surviving on her own, soon realizing that she definitely lucked out- her house is surrounded by an electric fence and powered by solar panels. While other houses lose power and are scoured by aliens, she is protected. She believes her parents are dead and that she may even be the last person alive on the planet. Then, she meets Baby. The two of them create a silent way of communicating (their own version of sign language) and together they survive in this deadly new world.
Though Amy definitely learns quickly- she soon abandons shoes, for they make too much noise, and only goes out at night, when the creatures are hiding- she is not perfect. She does make mistakes, like not assuming from the start the light and noise will attract attention, taking on a second stray who doesn't seem to understand the survival precautions, as well as following a surviving man into his home. She does, however, learn from her mistakes.
Looking back on that first trip, knowing what I do now, it was a miracle I survived at all (page 27).This first 150 or so pages were my favorite, and really the only thing I liked about this book. (view spoiler).
Unfortunately, the last two parts were really disappointing. Before, I found myself agreeing with most of the decisions Amy made in order to survive. Not every single one, but most of them. After Amy is taken to New Hope, though, she starts making certain judgments, decisions and opinions that I didn't. One minute, she will be declaring something someone said as propaganda and then next she will so happily believe them. The MC and I just were not on the same page.
The story, too, just seemed to lose it's luster. It was no longer a fast paced survival, but now a government conspiracy/dystopian? While I do enjoy reading about the latter, it was really dull in this book, especially in comparison to the first part. The pacing seemed to slow, and now Amy's priority went from surviving to disobeying authority because she didn't like being told what to do. Side note: I do agree, though, that this new mini government was corrupt: Required (with partners chosen for you) pregnancies every 3 years and "keeping everyone happy and ignorant" is not the way to run a healthy community.
We also meet a bunch of new characters, each that made no impression on me. From the love interest and forced romance, to the new best friend, to the "bad-ass Guardian" who I was supposed to look up to?, to Amy's mother, and then to the bad-guy behind it all. None of these new characters affected me, nor did the death of one of them. I didn't find any of them as being unique, but rather cliche.
At the very end, we get a big "reveal". I saw that some people claim they knew what was coming, but I didn't. However, instead of finding myself shocked or surprised, I just sat back and rolled my eyes. Really? You think people are that stupid? Well, I guess they honestly are because they believed it (including myself but also excluding because I don't actually live in this world). Did no one realize that it was an art exhibit?! The explanation just seemed like a lame cover-up. Though it did work, because that's what everyone believes, it was still super lame.
Though I don't compare books often, I couldn't help but think of Oupost, by Ann Agguire, while reading this. The "aliens" are very similar, physically and behaviorally, to the Freaks in Outpost. Especially after the reveal: (view spoiler) There is "survival out in the wilderness" in the beginning, "adjusting to life in a survivor camp" in the middle, and then "back out in to the wild" in the end.
However, Outpost pulls this whole concept off much, much better.
One thing I did like that these two books had in common, is the elemental question about ignorance. Quoted from In The After:
"Sometimes ignorance isn't bliss. Sometimes it's just dangerous." (page 375)
Overall, I had really high hopes for this book, but, unfortunately, only the first part lived up to those hopes.
When I still believed things would return to normal. I no longer hold that hope. Nothing this broken can ever be fixed.
On My Goodreads;