TOP PICK! Review of The After War by Brandon Zenner

See full issue for 2017 10-02

The Rundown

Two years after the world was ravaged by war and disease, two cousins, Brian and Steve emerge from their underground bunker to face what is left of humankind. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Simon and his loyal dog Winston are also leaving the cabin that has kept them safe for two years. Neither party knows what to expect, but all three men are driven by the desire to find loved ones and create a new home. As post-apocalyptic stories go, this one is superb. The first part of the book is largely concerned with the characters journeys, both emotional and physical. As they make their way across a ruined landscape, they are instantly forced to fight and survive. Brian and Steve do this by fighting, while Simon, a survivalist, relies heavily on nature to see him through. I think everyone is to some extent fascinated by post-apocalyptic survival stories. We all wonder what we would do, or wouldn’t do to keep living. Along the way, all three men encounter horrific situations that test their sanity and their physical strength. I was totally drawn into the scenario, reading with my breath held at times, the tension alive on every page as I feared what or who was around the next corner. Brian and Steve end up going separate ways, but all three men still end up in the same place, a place they were told would be safe after the war. They are all hoping to find loved ones there, and they all assume they will be safe once they arrive. Humankind has not quite learned its lesson, however, and as the new safe zone collapses into war and violence, who will survive the war after the war? My heart was with Simon and Winston. Please don’t kill the dog, I kept thinking! In conclusion, a riveting read, very hard to put down, with believable characters and dialogue. I also felt I learned a few survival skills in case I ever need them!

The Recommendation

I would highly recommend this gripping post-apocalyptic thriller to anyone who has a thirst for the genre, and to anyone who wants to read an action-packed, thought-provoking book. The first part of the book builds the tension up superbly, like a horror film, tipping you to the edge of your seat, whilst also dipping back into the past to explain what has brought the world to this point. The second half of the story is almost sad in its gory inevitability. Humans have not had enough violence or death, and the war continues. I was fully involved with the characters and rooting for them to come through. Very much looking forward to reading the next installment.

The Rating Selected as a Top Pick!

Top Pick! 5 Stars (out of five): Freaking amazing. Any agent or publishing house that passed this one up made a big mistake. It was selected by our reviewer as a personal favorite. This is also a nomination for our Novel of the Year award.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Believable, Characterization, Page Turner, Plot, Strong World-Building

The Links

More about The After War on UBR

The Reviewer

Chantelle Atkins

Visit Chantelle Atkins‘s website.

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