In the After

In the After - In the After had all the makings to potentially be one of my favorites for the year but fell a little flat. Maybe my expectations had been too high. I’m not sure. I had been really excited for this title for some time so I did have high hopes. I mean, come on, aliens… it seems this is becoming popular lately, but I’m elated with the idea of aliens just popping up more and more. It’s something fresh and has so many interesting and unique possibilities to be worked with that I don’t feel like it’s a theme that could be easily tired out. The action started out immediately for this one without any real buildup. As the reader, you’re taken right into the story with the narrator, Amy, and she tells it all in a quite simplistic manner that often I felt like she was just sitting there talking to me. Sometimes I liked that. Sometimes I didn’t. The pacing felt off though, and maybe that was just me. In the beginning she talks of finding this “toddler” but as time passes Baby grows into a 6-7 year old, and Amy grows into a 16-17 year old. When I think of the word toddler, I think of ages 2-3 years old. I was a bit confused to be honest, because I couldn’t recall the age of her in the beginning of the story. Had she been around 13 when the apocalyptic event began? I guess you could call me lazy for not wanting to go back and double check--or maybe I just didn’t care. I think it was 14. But it really felt off for some reason. And in the beginning the girl gave her parents barely an hour before she gave up all hope on her parents lives?? Maybe it was just me personally, but I know I would’ve had more hope than that. Instead it felt more, “Oh they’re not home… I guess they’re dead!” I felt so un-sympathetic toward her from the start with some of these characteristics and interactions.When they arrive at the compound, things change and I felt it became not as interesting. Sure, you see how much humanity can change during an apocalyptic event. The effects that come with such a tragedy… And it’s realistic. But I felt the first half had more of the impact and action and suspense, and I liked seeing the survival side of things with her better before she was dragged into the compound. At the same time though, I liked meeting Kay and the other guardians. It was nice seeing some more character interaction. It was also where I learned more about things that were going on, more of the backstory, and so it helped clear a bit of the confusion from the beginning. I didn’t get into the budding romance really. It happened a bit quickly and I just didn’t feel it. The twist at the end was extremely disappointing, I admit. I saw it coming in a way. And without putting in a spoiler, it just was sad that it didn’t work for me like I’d hoped. Not what I’d expected out of this read. But meh. What I really liked was the fresh take of being day walkers with a disability of night blindness. Normally, our monsters are night stalkers but in this case Lunetta makes the reader fear the day with hers--and sound--by providing a creature that thrives in the daylight and will chase after anything that’s making the tiniest noise. I found myself getting easily spooked right along with the characters. It was thrilling. I feel like there are still some unanswered questions. A possible sequel maybe? If so, I do look forward to seeing where it could go from here. This was an entertaining read that I enjoyed and read through quickly. Despite the minor nitpicks I had, In the After is an experience that I don’t think you want to miss out on. It’s gritty and suspenseful, and will have you checking over your shoulder if you’re too loud after you’ve read the book. 3.5 stars