ARC Review: IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta

ARC Review: IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta
In the After
In the After #1

Written by: Demitria Lunetta
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: June 25th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: ARC from ALAMW 2013
Format: select
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you... until you are dead.

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.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.


Yes, we’ve seen this before: another story where the world has been invaded by hostile aliens/creatures and the population all but wiped out, with a few colonies or lone survivors fighting to keep humanity alive. I feel like I’ve read quite a few of these lately – most notably Icons (which did not work for me) and The 5th Wave (one of my favorite releases this year)… Thankfully, In the After totally worked for me – it stands out and puts a unique spin on things in a number of ways.

In Part One of In the After (part 1 of 3), we follow the survival of a teenage girl, Amy, a few years after some kind of alien creature has basically destroyed civilization. At first I definitely got the feeling that these creatures aren’t terrestrial in origin. And they are pretty interesting – they only come out during the day, and their hearing (not their eyesight) is off the charts. But they don’t seem intelligent, they’re more like mindless monsters and a little zombie-like. So I was a little confused at first how they could’ve gotten to earth and successfully taken over so quickly. No spoilers, but all is not as it seems.

Anyway, Amy was incredibly lucky when disaster struck and the creatures attacked, because she was in her home, which happened to run on solar power and was surrounded by an electric fence, which made her self-sufficient for a time and kept her safe from the creatures who couldn’t get past the fence. Maybe a little too lucky – but setting aside the happy coincidence that landed her in possibly one of the safest places on the planet, her life “in the after” is by no means easy. The creatures only really come out during the day, and they have incredible hearing, so when Amy runs out of food and has to venture outside, she learns to only leave her house after dark, and to be absolutely silent everywhere she goes. This created a very eerie picture of the world, the silent dark being the only semi-safe place from the vicious creatures.

After living alone for some time, Amy finds a toddler (whom she calls “Baby”) in an abandoned supermarket. It’s clear right away that there’s something special about her – she understands the need for quiet, and her instincts are incredibly sharp for such a young child. So Amy decides to take Baby back with her to her home, and together the two become like sisters in this new, bleak world. As Baby gets older, she and Amy invent a silent sign-language that they use to communicate, sometimes by sight and sometimes by feel, signing into each others’ hands. This is something else I loved about Part One – Amy and Baby are fantastic characters and I loved watching their relationship develop.

Part Two and most of Part Three are where things went a little downhill for me. Amy and Baby are found and taken to New Hope, a compound where a large number of survivors are living and trying to rebuild a small bubble of civilization. Right away, it’s clear that not everything at New Hope is as great as it first appears, and things turn from a post-apocalyptic survival story to more of a dystopia. New Hope also introduces a lot of additional characters, and I felt like these characters weren’t nearly as well-developed as Amy and Baby. Maybe this is understandable, since we do spend the first third of the book just getting to know those two. But the characters in New Hope feel like ones I’ve seen before, and a bit one-dimensional, including the boy Amy ends up liking. So that was disappointing after Amy and Baby were developed so well. However, there were a couple other great characters, including Kay, who is the head of the Guardians – basically the protectors of New Hope. Amy ends up spending quite a bit of time with Kay, and I really grew to like her.

Part Two also slows the plot down a lot. It jumps back and forth between where we left off in Part One, and into events that start a few month in the future – these time-jumps happen throughout Parts Two and Three, and I found this method to be a little awkward. What we get is a three-part story, with the first told normally, and the (chronological) second and third parts interwoven so you’re jumping between them for actual Parts Two and Three. Maybe it was done this way to make sure the middle didn’t drag as much (the chronologically-middle section of the book wasn’t as exciting, for sure). That being said, it was really cool in the last few chapters to have both of the timelines’ resolutions all coming to a head at the end, and certainly made for an exciting ending.


In conclusion…

All in all, I really enjoyed In the After. The best parts, for me, were Amy and Baby, and their friendship and survival story in Part One. But even though the middle was a little awkward with the time-jumps and so-so characters, the ending totally paid off with twists and turns that, while I sort of saw them coming, made for an exciting conclusion anyway. I would definitely recommend In the After to anyone who enjoys alien-invasion or “zombie books” (I’m not a zombie-book fan, but I think there are elements here that would appeal to those who are). And of course, anyone who enjoys a good post-apocalyptic, dystopian survival story. I’ll be excited to see what happens in the sequel!

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22 thoughts on “ARC Review: IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book! I wasn’t sure I wanted to read In The Dark but you help me make my decision easier. Thanks for posting and for the giveaway!

    Brenna @ Two=Tall=Tales

  2. I’ve been itching to read this book for the last month or so! I love character development so I’m happy to see the MCs are both developed well and they didn’t end up being ones you couldn’t stand. It is a bit convenient that Amy is in the exact spot where these alien things can’t reach her. Who lives in a house with an electric fence?! The rest of the book sounds kind of confusing with all the timeline jumps. Was it semi-easy to keep up with? I’m kind of worried if the plot slows down! I’m a huge plot person and if it kind of lags, I’ll get uninterested. But seeing as how you rated it 4 stars, I’ll definitely give this book a chance! Thanks for the great review :)

    Christine @ The Bookish Daydreamer recently posted: In My Mailbox/Stacking The Shelves (10)

      • It wasn’t confusing to keep up with – in my ARC the two timelines were formatted with different fonts, so it was easy to tell the difference between the two plotlines. I just found it a bit awkward, was all. That kind of time-jump can work really well when used in moderation, I think, but instead of smallish snippets as chapter-openers, or having it only happen for a limited part of the book, it lasted for the last 2/3rds of the book and kind of lost its appeal. But yeah, it wasn’t confusing.

        The plot does slow down considerably in part two, partly because we’re no longer following the survival of Amy and Baby. But it still held my attention. I think the issues I had with it were mainly just the timeline thing, and feeling like it slowed down because it stretched out the slower parts of two plotlines by revealing them simultaneously. But while they were “slower”, they were still interesting.

        And you’re welcome! I hope you read it even if you don’t win, I definitely still recommend it despite my issues. ;)

  3. I really enjoyed In the After, and I completely agree that Part 1 best of the book. I couldn’t help wishing that Amy and Baby had stayed on their own, because the survivalist portions were so well-written.

    • Yeah, I tend to agree – the first part was definitely the strongest part of the book. I hope we get some more of that kind of thing in the sequel, what with Amy and what happened at the end of the book… fingers crossed!

  4. Ahh, I keep seeing good things about this book, I really need to read it! The general consensus seems to be that the first part is really good, and then when the main characters move to New Hope, it’s too dystopia and it gets a little boring. I’m happy to hear the strong character bond between Amy and Baby, though! I’m super curious to read about them. It sucks that there has to be a romance, and that the characters were less developed. I think I’ll have to push through the middle section of the book, but overall, In The After seems like a really cool book! Thanks for the awesome review, Nikki!

    • I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts if/when you read it, Jen! I’ve read a lot of similar opinions about the first part vs. second/third parts, too, and tend to agree with most of them… but I still loved how the ending tied things up – that was worth any awkwardness or slower sections, for sure. ;)

  5. I keep hearing how the first part is fantastic in this book, and the rest is a bit more mixed. Amy and Baby sound like great characters! I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

    Nice review :)

  6. I hadn’t realized this was about alien (or some sort of) invasion. How interesting! Just from the way you describe the plot, it reminds me a lot of some other post-apocalyptic books I’ve read, but if this worked for you in spite of all that, then that’s awesome!

    • I wasn’t sure going into it whether it was an alien invasion or some kind of zombie-like thing… I changed my mind multiple times during the book before it was actually revealed what it was. Yeah, it’s similar to other post-apocalyptic books, but somehow it kept my attention – plus the way it ends, I was definitely left wanting more! I hope you enjoy it if/when you get around to reading it! :)

  7. I’m usually not one for alien books, because I just haven’t seen one done well yet, but this one sounds super interesting. I’ve also got Icons and The 5th Wave on my to-read list as well so maybe one of these will change my mind.

    • I’d HIGHLY recommend The 5th Wave!! It’s easily in my top 3 books this year… possibly THE top, lol. In the After is really good too though (obviously, lol), I hope you like it if you pick it up!

  8. I’m a fan of dystopian and post-apocalyptic reads, and I guess that though this book may have developed less than you liked, it’s still seems like a pretty cool story, that I’d like to explore :) I’m glad you liked it well enough, and though that’s most of what I can really say since I’ve never read it, I CAN tell you that I absolutely loved this review- I loved how you went a bit more in depth and really gave me the low down on what to expect. Great job as always, Nikki! :)

  9. This looks like such an interesting read!!! I really like aliens so hopefully I’ll like this one. I loved how you broke the review done be the parts in the book and didn’t include any spoilers! Nice job!

  10. I agree with everything you said in this review! My review wasn’t nearly as detailed as yours (very well done). But that is because I read it awhile ago and some details fell out of my head. Lol.

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