“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.” (description from Goodreads)
Once I read the blurb for this a few months ago, I knew I needed to read this book. I’m very glad that I followed my instinct on this one. It was such an enjoyable read.
For a debut release, Rivers proves that she’s taken the time to perfect here writing and knows what she’s doing. The society that’s in place for this future England is well put together. After only a few chapters, I felt like it was the real world and that it was possible this could be the reality of the near future. Her characters are great, as well. There’s no lack of depth to any character. With the struggles that take place, a lack of this character development would have made the story flat, boring, and easy to put down. After the Fear is anything but that.
How far would we allow social media to infiltrate our lives? The Debtbook in After the Fear blends the idea of Big Brother and the increasing intrusiveness of social media sites to the extreme. With the whole of this future England under a Mount Everest of national debt, control like this has become the way of life. Way to pay back the debt are set in place, and stepping out of line means your time might be cut short.
This is what happens to Sola, the main character. The reader follows her as she fights for her life, literally, as a demonstrator. While she’s training to be a killer and not to be killed, her humanity is put to the test as well as her ability to keep a level head, friendships, and do whatever it takes outside the stadium, to survive. Sola is a bad-ass female character and I loved every moment of it.
What I really enjoyed in this book is the idea of the demonstrators. As gruesome and barbaric as the gladiators of Rome seem, and how much blood must have flooded the sands of the Colosseum in its prime, what would happen if humans resorted to a similar form of punishment/entertainment? A demonstrator is similar to a modern-day gladiator. I found this such an interesting concept to throw into an (almost) modern civilized culture. Are humans really that separated from their past atrocities or is this not a far stretch of the imagination that we could bring back the concept of making prisoners fight, prized and trained warriors kill, and created deadly twists for the competitors just to make more money?
I found myself questioning just how much of a fiction this might be to a future world. It’s aspects of a dystopian novel, like this, that interest me the most. While After the Fear is a greatly entertaining novel, the way the reader is able to sit down and think about what they’d do if they we put in Sola’s position, or the position of a number of supporting characters, brought my level of enjoyment for this novel to the next level.
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more great novels from Rivers. If this is only the beginning, I know she’ll blow me away with whatever she has next.
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About the Author
Rosanne lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series. She currently lives with her partner and two bunny rabbits and is working on a New Adult fantasy novel.
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