As has been said before, One Second After this is not. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, much of the promise of this adventure story..Show More » is hampered, in my humble opinion, by its characters.
Alex is definitely not one of my favorite protagonists. Like many central players in young adult epics, her decision-making process seems consistently limited by the presence of a male character for whom she may or may not have feelings. Obviously, such entanglements are often involved in choosing one course of action or another, but much of this narrative seems driven solely by how Alex feels about a boy. This is a real shame since, as other reviewers have pointed out, Alex puts herself forward early on as a motivated, clever young woman capable of surviving on her own.
Having just come off Pure, where the bombs that ended the world as we knew it fused people to whatever or whoever they were in contact with at the time of the blast, Ashes's premise of selective effects from exposure to EMP doesn't seem quite as out there. If you liked One Second After, Alas Babylon, The Postman or the like and are expecting a modern YA equivalent though, I'd advise you to pack a few extra doses of suspension of disbelief.
Katherine Kellgren's performance seems to be a rather divisive point among reviews. I can understand why, as she engages in what one hires Katherine Kellgren to do, putting distinctive, colorful voices to each character and playing up the action. This means an eight year old girl sounding annoying, will sound annoying. Events that happen quickly, will be read quickly. This style can be jarring if you're not used to it, but she's developed a fair bit of critical praise for good reason I think. In short, I found nothing wrong with it and found it a reason to keep going on more than one occasion when I'd begun to have second thoughts about the book.
And the thing of it is, I actually got into the story. I wanted to know what happened to the characters, even though I didn't necessarily like any of them very much. And of course, the cliffhanger ending was such a surprise that I really have no choice but to continue; any criticisms aside, the author deserves a heap of praise for the last ten minutes.
So are there better stories out there? Sure! But there are certainly many I'd call worse. If you're into the setting, I'd say go for it.
Let's begin by noting that I was not a huge fan of the first book. I was intrigued enough by the rather devilish cliffhanger to eagerly await this seq..Show More »uel's release on Audible, and keep waiting an extra two weeks beyond its print release date I might add. And unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, I was somewhat disappointed.
So here we are with the same characters and some new ones, trying to live through the aftermath of the EMPs and finding out things aren't what they seem. Some characters come more to the forefront, as Alex is no longer an exclusive point of view. Questions are answered with cryptic clues into a more complicated struggle that most certainly requires a serious accounting in the third installment. Along the way, you will meet new people friendly and not so much, and get glimpses at how other communities have dealt with the end of the world and hordes of savage children.
One of this series's strong points is that it gives you a bunch of characters with real flaws, and serious problems internal and external to overcome. The trouble is that it tends to dwell on these, and, aside from a few exceptions commented upon by the characters, our heroes don't seem to be learning from their mistakes. I love seeing the protagonists encountering new obstacles, being caught off guard by unforseen events and having to save themselves and each other through intelligent action. But when I am forced to listen to the same character barely make it through yet another similar scrape brought upon by their own lack of situational awareness, I can't really credit him/her for overcoming unexpected adversity anymore. There is also the fact that while this story has more action than its predecessor, it also consists of multiple POV characters going in circles, sometimes literally, often without much agency. I don't know, maybe that last part may make for an ideal young adult novel in retrospect, as these are books about children meant to be read by children, who are often deprived of the ability to make big picture decisions and just forced to make due with influencing their fates any way they can. The author is a child psychiatrist after all.
If you had trouble with the gore in the first book, expect even more this time around. If you liked Katherine Kellgren's performance last time , you'll be happy with it again; if you didn't, you'll despise this book, with its whimpers, screams, and other emotional accents.
All in all, I guess I can't say I was excessively disappointed, but I was left wanting something, more. And yes, even though we're not left with a huge shocker in the last few minutes like last time, I think I will pick up the last one, just to see what happens.
This is the third book in the series. An EMP wipes out modern technology, and also zaps the higher brain functions of a certain percentage of humanit..Show More »y. The "changed" are not zombies. Most of the higher brain functions are gone, but they are more dangerous than you might think, because they retain the ability to think, plan, work together, and use simple tools. Up to a point, they can even use weapons. Fortunately, they can feel pain, they retain the instinct of self-preservation, unlike the traditional zombie, and they are susceptible to injury and death.
Katherine Kellgren is one of the best narrators I have ever listened too. She has a clear, pleasant voice, and an expressive style that carries you right into the story with her. I hope she will read more books like this.