Monday, 14 October 2013

After The Ending (#1 in The Ending series)

Authors: Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Type: Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) Kindle e-book
Series: #1 in The Ending series
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: L2 Books
First Published: February 2013
First Line: "If someone had told me three months ago that 90 percent of the people in the world were about to die, I would've laughed."

Book Description from NetGalley:  The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.

When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them, but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was wrong. My name is Dani, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’m someone else now—broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing—we’ll do anything to reach one another.

Disclaimer:  I'd like to thank L2 Books and the authors for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book for my Kindle in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  Over the past few years I've come to enjoy post-apocalyptic reads.  Nothing makes you feel better about your day-to-day struggles than reading about the world ending, am I right?

While After The Ending sounded like it had all the right stuff to make a good read (and start to a new series) unfortunately it didn't appeal to me for several reasons.  First of all, while the premise was interesting I just didn't feel like there was enough energy and substance behind the idea.  I honestly had a very hard time finishing this book.

I also had no emotional connection with the two main characters, Dani and Zoe.  They were described as 26 year old women but the voices, tone and vocabulary that they used made them seem more like flighty teenagers (my apologies to teen girls everywhere for the comparison).  Imagine the Gretchen Weiner and Karen Smith characters from Mean Girls as central characters in a post-apocalyptic read.  Ya, not so 'fetch'.

These two women come off as very self-centred as they complain about having to take time to find the loved ones of the people who are helping them to safety.  Instead they prefer to focus their time getting art supplies instead of valuable survival gear (say wha?!?), complaining about having to share a laptop and flirting with guys after pretty much everyone they know has been killed by a horrible illness.  This honestly felt to me like Post Apocalyptic 90210 focusing on the angst of "teens" instead of the world ending and how these 26 year olds dealt with the aftermath.  If the only way to save the world is to hook up with someone then Dani and Zoe are on the right track.  Unfortunately, I don't think getting a new boyfriend will solve all their problems.

If an author wants to win me over with a post-apocalyptic read (or magical, supernatural etc) they have to give me a book and characters that have a smidgen of probability.  J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Julie Kagawa (Immortal Rules) both have this technique down pat.  Do I expect to be able to ride off on my very own Hippogriff after reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time?  Sadly, no.  Can I expect to run into zombie vampires like Allie in The Immortal Rules?  Thankfully, no.  But those authors have a way of describing events, characters and places that make the supernatural element seem possible. 

Unfortunately, the implausibility of certain things was an issue that I had with the book.  Dani and Zoe keep tabs on each other via texts and emails.  Great.  But in their world 90% of the population has died, there is no food, gas or power and yet these two ladies always manage to find Wi-Fi for this communication.  It just doesn't seem likely.  I can get behind a lot of stuff (like Time Turners and flying Ford Anglias) but it has to be written in a way to be probable (along with a healthy dose of imagination).  Sometimes it's those little inconsistent points that tends to stay stuck in my head as I continue reading and shadows how I feel about the book overall.

Back to those texts between Dani and Zoe ... It was these texts and emails between the two women that I felt really bogged down the flow of the story.  The two points of view were so similar that it was, at times, hard to figure out who was speaking.  Plus, the texts/emails between the two main characters quickly became redundant by retelling what just happened in the story.  Basically, there was too much telling of the story instead of showing.

I HATE giving a really bad review because I realize how much time and energy it takes to write a book.  But the author has to meet me half way and provide an entertaining and believable read with characters I can connect with.  Unfortunately, this book just didn't get there for me.

My Rating: 1/5 stars

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