In the End (In the After #2) by Demitria Lunetta

In the End - 

Demitria Lunetta
ARC provided by HarperTeen through Edelweiss




After having escaped from New Hope, Amy receives a message from Kay: Dr. Reynolds has Baby. He has discovered what she is, and is using her for his experiments, leaving her weaker and weaker.
Amy's only hope of recovering Baby is Ken, Kay's brother, who is also a researcher who Amy needs to convince to want Baby for his experiments.
But Ken is in Fort Black.
I loved the way this book started. Lunetta really made the reader feel Amy's loneliness. If Amy and Baby seemed isolated before, it's nothing compared to what Amy is now, without Baby: she signs to no one, holding silent conversations as if Baby were still there. But all that was bearable - as long as Baby was safe. 
Fort Black was masterfully written. The social dynamics, the whole way it was structured, the feeling of being prey in the midst of predators. Amy is being stalked by Tank, a serial rapist and murderer, who will stop at nothing to add her to his "collection". All Amy has is Jacks. Jacks is the Warden's nephew and a tattoo artist who had been studying prison tattoos before his journey to study the art of Polynesian tattoos when The After happened and he was stuck in Fort Black.
I was feeling reluctant about this aspect of the book. I thought one of the greatest strengths of In the After was its lack of cluttering romance in a world with little time - if priorities are set straight - for things of the sort. The end of In the After, with the introduction of Rice as a love interest was the only weak point of that book. 
I needn't have worried. Lunetta keeps Amy set on her only goal: to save Baby. Everything else... maybe it could be nice, some day, when things are better, but she doesn't have time for that now.
Why is this so rare is post-apocalyptic dystopias? 
Off the top of my head there's The Hunger Games and there's In the After
I find it kind of insulting when I see female protagonists in the crumbling remains of civilization, trying to overthrow the new Big Brother governments, and fight whatever horrors the Apocalypse brought, giving about 90% of their attention to the dreamy boy or boys.
No! Girls are smart! And in emergency situations we have our priorities straight: SURVIVE! Everything else can come later, when things are safer.
So I'm taking this moment to thank Lunetta for focusing on what's important, while still giving us a dash of romance. 
While In the After was mostly about the oppressive feeling of isolation, In the End is about the oppressive feeling of being caged in a place where women are property. I found it to be more disturbing, but just as good, if not better.
There are a lot of action scenes, this taking place in a prison where the prisoners have (mostly) free run of the place.
And, of course, there's the all present urgency of saving Baby. 
The only reason this is getting 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I found the ending not completely resolved. The things depicted weren't certain. It brought closure to most everything, but some things were left a bit vague. I'm not saying a HEA was needed, but regarding the cure, things needed to be at a more advanced stage to give the reader the closure needed.
Still, it was an absolutely amazing book! Everything I could have hoped after having read In The After!
And I hope Lunetta has some new project lined up, because I love her writing and can't wait for more!

Demitria Lunetta's official blog

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