After the Fear by Rosanne River’s takes place in a dystopian society in which England has to pay of the “debt”, which they do by holding these events called demonstrations. If someone breaks the law, they get thrown into a demonstration. This book follows the perspective of a younger heroin named Sola. It sounds quite like the Hunger Games when you talk about it, but trust me. It’s better.
First of all, there is a well-written, strong female protagonist in this novel. I’ve found it difficult to find books that realistically portray a female lead, and River’s got it perfect in one. Sola faces not just issues that exist only in this fictional world, but also ones that regular teenage girls face, such as drama. But that drama doesn’t take over the book and there’s still plenty of action to go around.
I see the comparison to the Hunger Games, but the two books are not the same. There is fighting in an arena, but in After the Fear it’s more Roman gladiator style verses attempting to live in a strange yet controlled environment. The plots are also entirely different. This book is much less of a story leading up to a rebellion and war and more about the main character dealing with things as they’re thrown at her. She does find out about what the government is doing, but for once, there’s a main character who actually thinks better about striking back at full force.
The setting in this novel is fairly creative. It took England and twisted it around. Cities stayed cities, but the names were changed and the style of cities did too. No one could leave or enter them and, while some of that is standard practice in dystopian novels, the way River’s went about it and the setting she used as the base was fairly interesting.
There is also a political base to this novel as well. It talks about debt and, similar in this sense to Anthony Horowitz’s Oblivion, takes an issue from today and escalates it to how it might be in the long run if nothing is done. It was a creative approach and the plot twist in the novel really ties it in to modern day.
Overall, I give After the Fear a five out of five. I can’t find much fault with the book and I can see myself coming back to this book multiple times to reread. It easily made my top five favourites of all time, and it’s fairly difficult for a book to place there. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a bit of action that also satisfies their dystopian society needs. I would also recommend it to any Hunger Games fan. The romance in this novel is fairly minimal as well, so while there is some, it is not sickeningly so. The only warning I have about this novel is that there is a lot of killing, and that could possibly make someone uncomfortable or be a bit of a trigger warning. But overall, this book is brilliant and I highly recommend it.