In the End by Demitria Lunetta is the sequel to her debut novel In the After. Three months after Amy left New Hope, she is contacted by Kay, who tells her that Dr. Reynolds has Baby. Now she must travel to Fort Black and find the one person she thinks can help her save Baby, before she runs out of time.
*This review contains spoilers*
I haven’t read the first book, so I looked up what happened before I read this one. Basically, it’s a distopian novel about aliens who invade Earth and start killing everyone, zombie style. Except they’re not actually aliens, they’re humans who were turned into Floraes (zombie-like killers) by a man-made virus. Amy, the main character, is a girl who has learned to survive in the After (what she calls the time after the Floraes appeared). Along the way she picks up a toddler she calls Baby and they find their way to a place called New Hope. New Hope is a community for people that have survived the After, and it’s run by a man named Dr. Reynolds, the Big Bad of the book. Amy eventually escapes New Hope, but leaves Baby behind. Lunetta writes the book in a way where I could have started In the End without knowing what happened in In the After and still understood what was going on.
The book begins with Amy back out on her own after escaping New Hope. She is surviving, but is very lonely. One night, Amy gets a call from Kay, who tells her that Dr. Reynolds has Baby. He knows she was one of the children given the original vaccine for the virus and is experimenting on her. Kay tells Amy to go to Fort Black. Her brother Ken is a researcher there, and he might be able to get Baby away from Dr. Reynolds. Amy walks to Fort Black within a day and is met by a man named Tank (nicknamed so because of his huge stature). They get into an altercation and Amy meets Jacks, who takes her under his wing and gives her a place to stay. Jacks promises to help her find Ken but in the meantime Amy needs to learn to fit in at Fort Black. Fort Black used to be a prison and it is quite a change from New Hope. People fight one another for entertainment and if someone is suspected of murder they are thrown outside to the Floraes before being shot. For someone so good at surviving in the After, Amy sure had a problem with trying to fit in and stay inconspicuous at Fort Black. She also keeps trying to find Ken by herself, even though everyone tells her it’s too dangerous and to wait for Jacks to help her. When she runs into trouble, usually with Tank, someone will swoop in and save Amy, and she’ll promise never to go out by herself again, but before you know it…
Amy eventually finds Ken with Jacks’ assistance, but he claims he can’t help her. Amy figures out that Tank is trying to kill her and escapes Fort Black with the aid of a girl named Brenna. Tank follows and tries to kill Amy, but she shoots him and he runs off. The scuffle is loud enough to attract Floraes so Amy and Brenna find a place to hide, but Brenna is hurt by a Florae. She doesn’t turn into one though, and Amy figures out that she is one of the original children given the vaccine. Amy and Brenna return to Fort Black, where Doc (the mad doctor and father to Jacks) is convinced his latest vaccine works. He injects Fort Black’s residents with Brenna’s blood and they immediately turn into Florae and start destroying the place. Amy, Brenna and Ken escape to New Hope via helicopter, but Jacks stays behind.
Back at New Hope, Amy stays hidden until her friends figure out a plan to rescue Baby. They break into the lab, but it is a trap set by Dr. Reynolds. He seals the lab and releases Floraes into it. They eventually fight their way through to Baby, but Ken is killed in the process (but not before saving his research that includes a cure for the virus). Amy and her mother release information that turns New Hope against Dr. Reynolds. Jacks contacts Amy to tell her he’s still alive and she convinces him to come to New Hope where they live happily ever after. The end.
I enjoyed reading this book and got through it pretty quickly. I thought the parts at Fort Black were a little slow and the parts at New Hope were rushed. Everything seemed too easy at the end and it wasn’t very satisfying. I wish there would have been less time spent at Fort Black and more at New Hope. I also wish it wouldn’t have ended so abruptly. I still thought the book was entertaining and couldn’t put it down.
I won an uncorrected proof of In the End by Demitria Lunetta through the Goodreads First Reads program.