Title: After The Ending
Author: Lindsey Fairleigh, Lindsey Pogue
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars (4.5)
Description/Synopsis: 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—with the rest of the world—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 so wrong. My name is Dani O’Connor, 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’ve been stripped of my home, my dreams…all that is me. 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 Cartwright, 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. Fear and pain may be unavoidable, but we’re strong…we’re survivors. But to continue surviving in this unfamiliar world plagued by Crazies and strange new abilities, we have to adapt. We have to evolve.
And more than anything, we have to find each other.
WARNING - SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT - REVIEW BELOW
This book came very close to a five-star rating from me. Very close. I found it very engaging, I loved the variety of characters and locations, and before I knew it, I was sucked into the book. Unfortunately, there were just a handful of things that had me making this a four-star rating rather than a five.
This story at it's heart, is about two girls - best friends - separated from each other and learning to deal with the aftermath of a devastating plague that kills off 90% of the Earth's population. Each chapter switches back and forth between the two friends as we follow along their journey through illness, recovery, death, looting, and just plain surviving. As the girls desperately try to meet up, they exchange e-mails back and forth, and each tries to deal with their own obstacles in surviving.
Although it was a little hard to get used to in the beginning, I found the e-mail writing between Dani and Zoe to be clever, and interesting. The story would have been fine without the recounting of the scenes we'd already seen, but I think it helped to engross me as a reader to see these two girls communicate with each other through this difficult time. It really gave me a sense of their strong bond as friends and their concern for one another.
For the most part, I loved almost everything about this story to be honest. It was a very different take on a post-apocalyptic novel than what I'm used to. I've read a lot of these types of books, but usually we follow one character or one group in their journey to survive. In this case, we got two complete groups with different personalities and struggles.
It was fascinating. I also really enjoyed the paranormal aspect of this book and how the survivors of the plague started mutating to gain super-human abilities. It was fun trying to guess what type of ability would pop up next and how they'd handle it - and even learn to use these abilities to their advantage. It also helped to create some truly evil villain characters that had me cheering on the two friends as they struggled against them.
Now, there were a few things that bothered me about this book that I feel I need to point out. The first being that the girls' "voices" were very similar if not identical. Without the labels at the beginning of the chapters I wouldn't have been able to tell the two apart even though the authors kept reminding me how different they were in personality. I didn't see that big of a difference to be frank.
Second, there were some unfortunate corollaries between the villains and struggles between the two groups that I think could have been written better. One group would deal with crazies, then the other group would deal with crazies. One group would meet an enslaving-evil-female... the second group would meet an enslaving-evil-female. It was predictable and I would have liked to have seen a little more differences in the obstacles the girls faced.
And last: I really hated the ending.
It wasn't a satisfying ending to me.
Still, overall, I really enjoyed the book, and the few things that bothered me about it weren't enough to diminish the entertainment value. I'm certainly interested to see how the next book in the series will turn out. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic settings in novels, or enjoys paranormal stories, romance, and endearing events. There were a lot of really good moments in this book between friends and couples, and the authors did a fantastic job of making me indecisively jump back and forth between the many love interests in the book. They were all so interesting and adorable in their own way! I certainly enjoyed reading this amazingly entertaining journey with Zoe and Dani.