*BOOK REVIEW* Aftermath by Joe Reyes
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
Aftermath is a story told from the point of view of seven different characters; Ron, Sara, Eric, Carmen, Ian, Alice, and Justin. The story takes place about 5 years after the “bombs fell” and we are now seeing how each of the survivors is managing to get by on their wits, cunning, and often, luck.
The post-apocalyptic genre is not something that I’ve read too often and I was keen to pick up Reyes’ book because of the ‘darkness’ I thought would be hidden within, and I wasn’t wrong; it’s here in shed-loads, and the scary thing is, it’s all from the survivors, in Reyes’ new world we don’t need zombies to be scared shitless.
In Aftermath, there’s blood, there’s violence, and there’s a lot of fear for the characters. That’s one of the features I liked most about this story, you never quite know whose time is up, and once you’ve bought into the characters, you’re scared to find out! The threat from the surviving population feels so real that you end up assuming that every other person is a bad guy/girl because the world created by Reyes is generally so stark and devoid of humanity. It hit me like a freight train when I first thought if it; the population is fighting, clawing, to preserve the human race, whilst sacrificing their humanity to do so, damn!
There are a few bright spots however, the characters we follow through the story each have their own situations and you get to see what happens to those who have something to cling to. There are those attempting to settle and create a new life with others, and there are those willing to kill to ensure they aren’t snuffed out.
The only difficulty I had with Aftermath was the sheer amount of characters. Having that many is a difficult thing to attempt, especially when trying to make each of them unique and relevant. Reyes does a fairly good job of this, however, I do feel that at certain points in the story, a character will be brought in but with very little to say and it feels a little forced. I think a lesser amount of characters would have negated this and allowed the author to develop the others a little more.
Overall I really enjoyed Aftermath; as a lover of the grimdark genre, this post-apocalyptic story had grit and darkness in abundance and it was used well. Reyes has created a truly bleak world, but there is hope, even if it is over a mountain of dead bodies.
Where to find Aftermath;
Where to find Joe Reyes;
As ever, thank you for reading my latest review. Feel free to like, share, and comment 🙂