Friday, July 26, 2013
In the After by Demitria Lunetta
If you like: aliens * zombies * teens
In the After is the story of Amy, and her survival after the world is overrun by alien creatures. Silence is imperative, as they have incredible hearing, speed, and ferocity. She is fiercely protective of her home: a sanctuary fortuitously surrounded by an electric fence. In spite of this, Amy does not hesitate to bring home a lone toddler she finds surviving on rotting food in a grocery store. Over the next few years, Amy and Baby develop an impenetrable bond of sisterhood.
In the After is driven by imminent danger. Even the slightest sound could bring the threat of Them. Amy carefully constructs a new way of life without talking, music, or shoes (as walking in them generates far too much noise). Though meeting with Them most likely means death, the danger posed by other survivors is more powerful in some ways. Most importantly, other humans are unpredictable. Initially, Amy longs for companionship. She quickly realizes that her home is far better suited for survival in this world than the majority of other locations, and just how much others would covet it. Amy has learned this lesson the hard way, nearly losing her life, but Baby has a much different perspective. This naïveté may be what saved her before Amy found her, but it puts both of them in danger afterward. The dark nature of the is world leads to many choices lying in moral gray areas, but Amy's logical nature and innate survival skills prevent it from becoming too melancholic.
The After is an inhuman world, which makes the human actions all the more meaningful. The sisterhood between Amy and Baby is the type of bond that could never develop outside of horrific circumstances. Amy is tactful in her decisions, and insulates herself from the pain of exploring too close to home. The memories that lie nearby prevent her from living in the present, and she wisely chooses to live in reality instead of flashbacks. Amy is the rare survivor who is not out to take what she can, and only worry about herself. So many others are out to claim everything for themselves, with no thought for the survival of their species. [Some semi-spoilers ahead!] When the girls are brought to the colony of survivors, they learn that the perpetuation and protection of their race requires losing of the freedom that comes with being human. The things that people are willing to do in order to protect the social order make the violence of Them pale in comparison. Isolated sectors of power allow those who would seek to elevate themselves to corrupt the structure to their own benefit. This dangerous set of circumstances does not mean that the good in people is lost. This true spirit will always find a way to survive, no matter what happens to the world.
If you trust the feeling in your gut, read In the After.
Lunetta, Demitria. In the After. Harper Teen, 2013. Kindle edition.