Until The Beginning: Book Review by Dinh.
When Juneau’s clan disappeared, she lost more than her friends and family; she lost her entire world. She discovered her life was a lie-her people weren’t living in the wilderness because they were the sole survivors of a nuclear war. They were in hiding, hoping no one would find them and learn their secret: they never get sick, they hardly age, and they have the power to communicate with nature.
Juneau is closer than ever to finding them, and she couldn’t have gotten this far without Miles. Although he originally pursued her with the goal of turning her over to his father, he has become her greatest ally. Even as an outsider, Miles has helped Juneau realize she is far more powerful than she’d ever believed.
But now the same people who took Juneau’s clan are after her too. Somehow she is the key to unlocking the mystery of her people’s gift. To rescue her clan and protect their secrets, Juneau must push past the boundaries of what she was taught, to discover what she is truly capable of.
Synopsis is from hardcover book, 321 pages, and published in 2015 by HarperTeen.
It’s not a surprise that I picked up Until The Beginning by Amy Plum right after I just finished the first book After The End. It wasn’t the cliffhanger that pushed me to read this book. It was because of the fast pace adventure that I liked. (See After The End Review).
So did the sequel disappoint?
On reflection, I have to say no, and here’s why.
Continuity of Pace
What I liked in the first book, After The End, was the speed and consistency of the pace of the book. With the sequel, it also continued with the action packed pace.
The second novel has the same set up as the first book. Short chapters, with lots of dialogue, and continuous action make a it a page-turner. I really enjoyed that it was so easy to read.
Juneau’s strong personality is still pervasive in this book. I liked that her focus and drive is never questioned. She has tunnel vision- only in trying to find her clan.
I like that Miles has changed into a better person. I was expecting that to happen and my prediction came true. Bad boys always change once a girl is involved.
“You make me want to be a good person, Juneau. I see how you are and it makes me want to be strong.”
Okay, what Miles says is a bit cheesy but with romance there’s always these sort of lines. It’s expected and a taken so it doesn’t bother me.
We see Juneau’s and Mile’s growing relationship in After The End, and with the sequel, the budding romance continues. Miles becomes besotted and wants to do everything in his power to help Juneau.
Was there anything I didn’t like?
I liked that the plot got a bit more complicated with additional characters and finding Juneau is the key for the drug Amrit. But what I didn’t like was how Miles suddenly is able to harness all the powers that Juneau had been learning all this time.
Mile’s life was saved by Juneau. She performed the rite that only her and Whit (Clan Sage) knew how to perform. In doing so, Juneau opened up Mile’s connection with the Yara.
It’s fine that he was saved but it’s not really believable that he can conjure so quickly.
In the scene where he’s trying to help Juneau by going to the ranch where her clan is held, Miles detonates a light bulb just by using his connection with the Yara. Isn’t that a bit unrealistic? Come on now…
I like happy endings and this book did have it. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the way it was done.
After saving her clan, Juneau and Miles just end up walking away from the mess and leaving the clan to clean it up. Okay, she only 17 years old but she went on this long journey to find them and then just walk away when she saved them?
I would have liked for Juneau to get some closure by understanding why the clan elders made the decision to live in Alaska hiding away.
My Final Thoughts:
Although I didn’t like the unrealistic part where Miles was suddenly able to use his powers and the ending, overall the book came together and it didn’t make me wish I didn’t read it.
The book was a page-turner and the story line had surprises which kept the interest going. It was not as good as the first book but it’s the conclusion of the story so it’s nice to have the finished the duology.
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Do you like Young Adult genre? After reading Until The Beginning review, did it pique your interest? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!