Monday, 20 July 2015

Review: Until the Beginning by Amy Plum

Title: Until the Beginning (After the End #2)
Author: Amy Plum

Release date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 321

Source: Publisher

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.




This conclusion to Amy Plum's sci-fi duology was just as enjoyable as I was hoping for. Juneau finally gets the answers she's been searching for, and she discovers a lot about herself and her clan. Until the Beginning is a great follow-up to After the End, and I was sucked right into this world all over again, thanks to the great characters and intriguing plot.

The first book left me pretty confused about what Juneau's abilities really are, but everything's cleared up in this book. Juneau and Miles travel across the country to find her clan, and when she does, she finds out why her clan was kept separate and why she's somehow more special than the rest of them.

I loved the dynamic between Juneau and Miles in the first book. We don't get as much of that in this, but some of it is still there. Miles is unconscious for a while in the beginning, since he just went through the Rite. And now he's got similar abilities to Juneau, except that he doesn't share her beliefs about the Yara and nature. The two of them grow closer, but other issues also rise up, the primary one being that Juneau needs to use all her abilities to rescue her clan, and Miles kind of slows her down. I'm glad there weren't any fights or anything - the two of them know to focus on the bigger picture, which is rescuing Juneau's clan. But I wish there were more moments between them, where they talked or connected the way they did in the first book.

There were some parts while Juneau and Miles were traveling together that dragged a little, but once they reach New Mexico the pace picks up again. Plot-wise, though, there wasn't too much going on until the last quarter of the book. It was great to see the growth in both characters during the course of this novel, but considering the fact that they're the only major characters, there really could've been more development.

I liked the little plot twists towards the end, when Juneau is told the entire truth. She's a tough heroine and can take anything, but hearing that everything she believed in her entire life was a lie? That's got to be crushing. But Juneau powers through it all, never losing sight of her goal to rescue her friends and family. And Miles really steps up in this book as well - he's come so far from what he was in the beginning of After the End.

Overall, a satisfying conclusion to the duology and a great mix of action, romance, and general badassery (I know that's not a word but it really fits in here). Juneau is an awesome protagonist, and Miles is the best sidekick ever. He has these awesome show-stealing moments that are my absolute favourites of the series. Bottom line, read these books even if it's just for the characters you'll meet. They're fantastic.

*Thank you to Megan at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 3.5/5

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