Series: After the End #2
Published by HarperCollins on May 5th 2015
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
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When Juneau's clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people's gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village.
Juneau and her new companion Miles's cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau's people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people - and herself - Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.
First, this is the sequel to After the End. (You can find my review here.) So if you haven’t read that… well, this won’t make much sense to you, so probably go read that first? I will say, before we get into the actual review, that this sequel is definitely a win. I liked the first book, but this book really pulled everything together wonderfully, so if you had doubts about it being a duology, no worries there!
First, I am going to talk about the one thing I wasn’t so fond of in the first book: The magic. In Until the Beginning, it is fleshed out much more, with a lot more explanation and purpose, and basically negates all of the trouble I had with it in the first book, to the point where I actually really liked it! There were a few revelations that were a tad farfetched for me, but on the whole, it was a solid attribute in the story.
Now, to the best part of the book: Juneau and Miles! I adore Juneau and Miles, and their witty banter, and their escalating romance, and trust and understandings they have come to. They have both grown tremendously during these two books, all while maintaining the best parts about their individualities. I really don’t think character development gets better than that. Juneau is strong and wise and ready to do anything for her people, but Miles helps to bring out her softer side, her more vulnerable side. Miles is still level headed and realistic, making Juneau a bit more grounded. But she is able to show him what it means to be loyal and to fight for what you believe in, and Miles starts to believe in himself. Basically, Amy Plum can do character development like no other.
And there is a road trip! I do love a road trip, especially when there is a time constraint and unknown dangers. This book, of course, has both. There are secrets to be uncovered, mysteries to figure out, and the great part is, that both Juneau and Miles’s strengths and resources are needed to figure out their next steps. Oh, and no worries, there are major swoons to be had as well! I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but it moved along wonderfully, I read the book quickly because I was anxious to know what was coming next!
Bottom Line: If you haven’t started this series, I recommend. If you have, and liked After the End, you will probably love Until the Beginning. It has all the good parts of After the End, but expands on them and explains and reveals so, so much. And come on, it’s Juneau and Miles!