Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Rosanne Rivers' tour for After the Fear, a dystopian story about a girl who must fight in the future equivalent of gladiator battles in order to survive. Rosanne was kind enough to provide an electronic copy of After the Fear for one lucky Working for the Mandroid reader. You can enter the contest at the end of this post. To find out more about the author, visit her profile on the Immortal Ink Publishing website. She can also be found on Twitter.
After the Fears
Immortal Ink Publishing
Released January 19, 2013
YA / Dystopia / Violence
You have not attended a Demonstration this month.
In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.
Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.
Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.
Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.
For all of the recent books that have advertised themselves as being for fans of The Hunger Games, this one is most obviously like that best seller series. Perhaps the writing isn’t as visual as Suzanne Collins and maybe the characters aren’t as three dimensional, but if you’re wanting a book about a horrible government oppressing its people by making people, including teenagers, kill each other, then this one is definitely for you.
But until The Hunger Games, the Demonstrations are gladiator-type battles in the most literal of sense. They start with teams of people drawn at random from the populace who are divided into groups, thrown into an arena full of screaming spectators, and then forced to kill members of the opposing team until only members of only one team are left standing. Fighters range from the terrified young children to middle aged adults and they all face each other. Bloodshed is prevalent and plentiful. Those who are left standing are then forced to fight alone in a series of Demonstrations against criminals throughout the country.
After the Fear is the story of Sola’s trek through these gladiator trials as she fights for her life hoping to eventually make it back home. While there are plenty of scenes that take place in the training camps, it’s the fights where Sola truly grows as a character. The visual descriptions of the fights often were difficult for me to visualize based on the writing, but the brutality of the world Rivers is creating and the growth of her main character are clearly visible.
All this violence and bloodshed is under the guise of paying down debt. For a good chunk of the book this didn’t make sense to me. Sola lives in a future Great Britain where the country has been split up into 26 cities named after the alphabetical code words of the army. No one travels between cities other than the Demonstrators and life is generally dreary underneath the polluted fog that blocks the stars at night. How pitting sacrifices from these 26 cities against each other and criminals could possibly assist in paying back debt to anyone seemed a little ill conceived, but as the story moves forward, things become more complex and it becomes clearer how this barbaric entertainment might have a hand in assisting in the financial future of the country.
Seven Sheppards are the only existing government, a position passed on by birth like a royal title. It’s never really clear what these seven people do beyond choose sacrifices, but they are the face of the government. One of these Sheppards happens to live at the training camp and, at 22 years old, is only mildly creepy when he takes a romantic interest in Sola. There is of course the romantic interest in Sola’s trainer, Dylan. They also, of course, have a misunderstanding where they hate each other for a while when a simple conversation would have cleared up all the misunderstandings.
And there’s the arch enemy – Coral, the epitome of the mean girl. There were hints of complexity with her, but not ever really developed. Instead she was just a mean girl with weapons and a huge vendetta against our heroine. She’s the catalyst behind most of what happens to Sola and because of this, the plot of this book was really obvious to me. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the more action packed pieces of the novel.
There isn’t really anything surprising about After the Fear, but Sola is an interesting and capable young heroine, who feels guilt for killing, but doesn’t hesitate to kill when required. The action is enjoyable and the plot is very fast-paced. I think it might be a standalone too, which is always an enjoyable surprise. Rivers has created an odd yet interesting dystopian future with characters stuck in compelling yet horrific situations. It’s a fast-paced adventure that will appeal to dystopian fans, who like a little (or a lot) bloodshed mixed with their action.
I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the blog tour in return for an honest review. Thank you Rosanne and Immortal Ink Publishing for having us on the tour.