Prepping for an apocalyptic event has almost become a popular romantic dream for many people these days, and Joshua V. Scher‘s new book, After the End, plays into that fantasy with the story of a young prepper facing a real apocalypse a little less prepared than he thought.
After the End is the story of young Addison (Addie) who is surviving a recent viral apocalypse on his own when he runs into a young pregnant woman named Ava who is also doing her best to survive. Addie finds that his years of disaster prepping didn’t prepare him for everything… namely Ava and the problems that follow her.
I want to keep this review relatively spoiler free, but I did want to go over my favorite and least favorite parts.
I originally picked this up as an audio book because listening to books just works best for me these days, but I had to give up on that a few chapters in. It’s not that the narrator was bad — in fact, I think he has a great gritty voice for the subject. But the book started off slowly enough to make listening a distraction. So I forked over the 99 cents for the Kindle edition and had a much better experience with that.
Addie is by himself, doing quite well surviving with just his bike and small bike trailer. He has expert bow skills for hunting, can trap, and knows how to scavenge just as his wise uncle Izzy taught him years ago.
But when Addie crashes his bike and gets himself severely injured, he finds himself at the mercy of the young Ava who reluctantly helps him.
Of course, Addie finds himself a bit smitten with this (barely) older pregnant woman, but Ava has plenty of her own emotional walls that make Addie question if she’s friend or foe.
Eventually Addie and Ava run into a piece of Ava’s past that is much scarier than any virus outbreak, and Addie finds himself utilizing his prepper skills to survive the worst part of any lawless apocalypse: other people.
There are so many really great quotes in this book that made me just stop to appreciate the quality of writing. This is Scher’s second book, but you really can’t tell. The book is vividly descriptive and intense in the best parts.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book despite the (seemingly, to me) slow start. The characters are realistic and relatable and there’s an underlying humor that is quite enjoyable. At least it’s a nice break from the bleak apocalyptic landscape we’re used to, and that’s important.
When this book was first brought to my attention at the beginning of August, I was told that a movie was also being released on August 17th. I have to admit that I forgot about that little tidbit until I finished the book. So I looked up the movie’s trailer, thinking that it might be your usual low-budget three-person production, but was pleasantly surprised that it features veteran actors and an apparent quality to it all. I was especially pleased with how closely the characters in the movie coincide with the characters in my head (except Ava, honestly) after reading the book.
Strangely enough, IMDB is showing the movie under the title “I’m OK” as released in 2017, at which time it was nominated for two film awards, but this new release is on DVD and streaming through Shout! Studios.
The film stars Alex Frnka (The Inbetweeners), Justin Hall (Jeepers Creepers III), and Dot-Marie Jones (The Boondock Saints) and is directed by Ron Hanks (Lee & Bree).
I haven’t actually seen the full movie yet, but I definitely plan to give it a shot. From the trailer, it looks to be very faithful to the book and that’s always a good thing.