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.
In The After would have been an awesome book for me a couple of years ago, before I had basically read every YA post-apocalyptic survival book out there, but reading it when I did meant that I honestly felt like I was reading the same regurgitated storyline that I've read a hundred times now which meant that for me this book was just okay, nowhere near great.
What mostly fell short for me is that this book depends mostly on the storyline - the characters and the writing didn't really stand out to me - and whilst the first half of this book was really enjoyable and tense, the second half became pretty samey and predictable. The difference was that the first half saw Amy and Baby surviving in the wild using street-smarts and survival skills and Amy was built up to be this tough character and in the second half it became the typical 'survivor safe-place with secrets' storyline which I am getting extreemly tired of. Sure, Lunetta takes it a different way and adds some twists in which will shock a lot of readers and actually a few of the twists did shock me, but the others I saw coming from a mile off.
The description of the aliens in this book was terrifying though, and Lunetta managed to create a world which stood out in survival fiction which is why I enjoyed the survival part of the book more. There are all the normal tropes from survival fiction but the creatures are freakier, there is science behind it, and there aren't really that many attacks from the creatures, so this book is more about building the suspense than actually throwing the action in.
I really enjoyed many of the characters in this book, I'd love for Rice to have got more focus in the book since he seems like he will be a key player in the future books. I will probably read the sequel, simply because the way that Lunetta leaves it suggests that the next book will go back to the survival fiction genre and that could be absolutely amazing.
Overall, In The After didn't live up to it's potential even though it started fantastically. This book could have been amazing but it fell short for me because it didn't really stand out in this extremely popular genre. I may still recommend it for fans of survival fiction because this series does have some awesome potential. I will be reading the sequel.
Overall Rating: C-
Book released 25th June 2013 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review.