Friday, October 18, 2013

Review - After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

Series: The Ending #1
Author: Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
Publisher: L2 Books
Release Date: February, 2013
Pages: 478, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 3.58 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars
My Content Rating: New Adult (explicit sex, language)

Summary from Goodreads: The first book in the emotionally charged post-apocalyptic series, The Ending.

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—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.

After the Ending is one of those books that is hard for me to review because I have such mixed feelings about it.  There were aspects of the book that I really enjoyed and aspects that just didn't work for me.  

The story is told from both Zoe's and Dani's points of view, two best friends who are living across the country from one another when a terrible virus wipes out most of the world's population.  A good portion of those people who do survive end up going insane.  Zoe and Dani both suffer the loss of loved ones and decide to head out (along with groups of other people, including military) in order to try to meet up with each other in Colorado, where there is a rumored safe-haven.  Along the way, they begin to discover that they may not have simply survived the virus, but it may have changed them - giving them new abilities.  But the question remains whether or not these new abilities are a gift or a curse.

The negatives:
  • Characters are immature.  Both Dani and Zoe are supposed to be 26-year-old women, but they seem very immature and self-centered.  Even when the world ends, their thoughts are mostly consumed by lust for this or that boy (or, I guess man, since the men are supposed to be in their thirties, but they DO NOT seem this age) and which girl is a b---- (driven by jealousy, of course).  They are somewhat concerned about their families, but are so self-centered that they get angry when they have to wait to allow others to search for their own families.  Overall, I just didn't find myself really liking Zoe or Dani all that much (especially Dani) and they were so similar that they kind of blended together.
  • The emails.  Throughout the book, Dani and Zoe communicate via email.  This was sometimes interesting because you got to see the girls' relationship and it kept them connected (otherwise the book wouldn't have felt very cohesive), but a lot of times these emails ended up retelling what we had just read about, so they felt very repetitive.  Plus, I thought the girls seemed at their most immature when they were writing back and forth to each other.
What I enjoyed:
  • The abilities.  For the most part, I enjoyed learning about the new abilities that people were developing.  I appreciated that they were subtle abilities and that no one was sure right away that they even had them - it wasn't as if characters could suddenly fly.  It was interesting to try to figure out ahead of time what ability a character might have and I especially enjoyed aspects of Dani's ability (which I won't spoil).  
  • The romances.  While the romances were way too integral to the story as far as I was concerned (the world is ending here, people!) I did really like both Jason and Jake and I was on board with the romances and wanted these couples to get together.  There was LOTS of great sexual tension to keep us going throughout the book!
  • The ending.  The authors did a great job of building up to the climax of this book and then giving us a twist at the end to propel us into the next book in the series.  I am definitely curious to see what happens next!
Overall, I thought that After the Ending was an interesting book with some really intriguing concepts.  The immaturity of the main characters kept me from loving it, but I'll probably still check out the next book in the series because my curiosity has been piqued!  3/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and L2 Books in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***