Aftermath – Joe Reyes
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Joe Reyes
Publisher: Wasteland Press
First published: 2016
Cover: pdf eBook
Blurb: (Taken from Goodreads)
Aftermath is a growing series about war, love, brutality and most of all, survival. What was once the United States has become a savage post-apocalyptic environment where the worst of the worst prosper and the remaining good hide. The series features a brutal setting, where seven characters in different parts of the United States must adapt to this new environment. The "fight or flight" mentality plays into the story, as the nation is divided into factions fighting for control of the country. The government is outnumbered, outgunned, and forced into hiding as well to recoup their forces. The novel follows a fast paced momentum from the first page to the last word. The plot pits these characters against the elements and each other, with plot-lines intertwining on opposite sides of the war effort. And one character's quest for revenge can jeopardize not only the war outcome, but the reshaping of the entire nation. With an ever-changing storyline and evolving characters, the Aftermath series gets more intense with every chapter. But what these characters don't realize, the terrifying evil making its way across the ocean.
History of my copy: I was given a free pdf copy of this book by through Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I will be featuring a spotlight of this book and a guest post by author Joe Reyes tomorrow.
I was initially really worried that I wouldn’t get around to finishing this book in time for my stop on the tour as I was tied up with so many other things. However, Aftermath was a really fast-paced book that enticed me in and I got through it much quicker than I expected. It was a really page-turner and ended on a cliff-hanger of epic proportions. I need to know what happens next!
Plot: As you can gather from the blurb above, Aftermath is a post-apocalyptic book set in the US. Not much seems to be known about the cause of the bombs that set the scene for Aftermath, but I imagine that will be covered in the next book.
The story is told through seven perspectives: Ian, Carmen, Sara, Justin, Ron, Eric and Alice. It covers not only the story that carries through the book, but also includes flashbacks to show how each character got to where they are now and what events led to their current situations. Each chapter jumps between the seven lead characters and although this takes a little while to get used to, it works with the book really well. I’m a huge fan of being introduced to a collection of individuals which somehow end up being involved in the story together and Aftermath doesn’t disappoint, with a bunch of surprising turns in events, leaving some people working for or captured by the different factions of the post-apocalyptic world.
Setting: It goes without saying that I am a huge fan of dystopian novels. However, I think it’s a genre that is quite hard to pull off, especially post-apocalyptic. There’s only so many settings that many people can come up with, and only so many plots of cannibalism and faction wars. However, Reyes succeeds brilliantly. The settings work well and suit the style of the novel, making the whole thing believable and real feeling.
Characters: One of my favourite characters is Ian, which is why I’m super excited to share Joe Reyes’ guest post with you tomorrow – an interview with Ian! He comes across as such a down-to-earth guy yet, when push comes to shove, actually has a daring bravery hidden inside him.
I also really like Penny and Sara and their relationship. It was a really pleasant surprise to have a lesbian couple in Aftermath. Whilst it is something I wouldn’t have missed, it added some realistic diversity to the book.
In terms of ‘bad guys’, I’m mostly intrigued by Cortez. After his revelation towards the end of the story, I am yearning to know more about who he is, where he came from and his role in the war. There also seemed to be a little more to him. After all, he didn’t even want to use the nuclear bomb, which means there must be something good inside him. Perhaps his back story will be explored more in the next book.
To read or not to read: Read. Although it took me a few chapters to get into the story and writing style, I really enjoyed Aftermath. In places, it felt like a cross between the Gone series by Michael Grant and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth but it very rapidly returned to its own unique story again. It felt a lot longer than 284 pages, but in a good way – it was fast-paced all the way through and never felt dragged out, even when it focussed on the characters I cared a little less about. As my first book by Joe Reyes, I am really impressed and eagerly anticipate his next book (which will hopefully be the sequel because damn, that cliff-hanger!!)