After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers
Reading level: Young Adult
eBook: 315 pages
Genre: Dystopian / Futuristic
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Release date: January 18, 2013
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
Source: From the publisher for review
You have not attended a Demonstration this month.
In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.
Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.
Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.
Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.
I don’t like starting a review by saying this, but it’s true. Those who love The Hunger Games, are bound to enjoy this book. Actually, it would make my top ten list of what to read after The Hunger Games. However, while the themes are very comparable, the stories are very different from one another. AFTER THE FEAR tells the story of Sola, a teenage girl who has been chosen to fight for her life in the ultimate battle to pay off her debt, and to ultimately win back her freedom. After her team wins her tryouts by killing the opposing team, she is given the chance to become one of the Demonstrators, an elite group of killer “gladiators”. She needs to win 25 fights to the death in order to gain back her freedom, but as her training goes on, she starts to doubt whether she can actually keep killing people for her own salvation.
The realistic emotions the author has given Sola is only one of the many things that I love about this book. The inner turmoil that brews deep inside Sola makes her such a tangible protagonist, despite the unrealistic dystopian world. I was constantly encouraging her to succeed and survive, but I knew deep down that her survival meant killing more people. I think what toned down the harshness of the battles and the killing is the love story that is definitely present throughout the book. Sola has been infatuated with Dylan from the moment they met, but this infatuation could also lead to her downfall. Scenes with Sola and Dylan were my favorite and because of those scenes, we could almost mistake this book for a romance novel.
Sola provided a unique and refreshing view of a world that is plagued by unrelenting debts, and of a country that has been reformed by an extremist group of people called the Sheppards. These leaders have come up with a drastic way to pay off their debts to other countries with Demonstrations. Created to entertain, these Demonstrations also force people to pay money to see a show that they must attend once in a while, in order to avoid a tryout in the deadly game. A show that always ends with death. The authorities have also installed trigger cameras in public places and in everyone’s home in order to keep tabs on anything abnormal or that would cause a threat to the new government. The whole concept is very Big Brother and on top of the cameras, there’s also Debtbook, something very similar to Facebook, but a little more scarier. In the book, everyone has an account and it provides the authorities a way to keep tabs on every citizens. With the chip implated in each citizen’s hands, every time they arrive at a new location, this chip uploads the information to their Debtbook profile. Kind of freaky if you ask me. I’ve never been a huge fan of Facebook, and I would hate it even more if it became anything remotely similar to this. I think it’s already an invasion of privacy, and to think everything you post isn’t your property anymore just floors me.
From the moment I began reading this book, I was instantly hooked by the story, the character and the not so futuristic world. Not only did the book entertain me, but it also made me think about the current state of the world’s economy and the reality that is Facebook. I had a hard time putting this book down and I’m sure you will too. In my opinion, AFTER THE FEAR is a very good and entertaining debut. I can’t wait to see what Rosanne Rivers will come up with next!