Review: After: The Echo by Scott Nicholson
It's six weeks after the shock.
The smoke on the horizon has diminished, and Rachel Wheeler and her two traveling companions head toward the mountains where Rachel's grandfather Franklin has built a survivalist compound.
However, the strange mutated people known as Zapheads seem to be changing from bloodthirsty killers into a force far more menacing. A secret military installation may hold the key to rebuilding civilization, but Franklin doesn't trust their intentions.
And the Zapheads are adapting to the new world faster than the human survivors, who must fight for their place in a future that may have no room for them.
ReviewAfter: The Echo picks up six weeks after the solar flare has wiped out the majority of the population. Though scattered the survivors from the first book are all heading to what they hope is the safety of Franklins compound.
In After: The Echo the Zapheads for me remain the best part of this series. They will kill you in the blink of an eye and do it without feeling any guilt. What I liked this time around is that they have evolved beyond just soulless killing machines. The Zapheads have started to form family units and even seem to feel sorrow when one of their own dies. The now evolved Zapheads have almost reverted back to a childlike state. Like children they are eager to see the world and explore. However don't let that fool you, they will kill you in a heartbeat if they feel threatened. Not that I'm implying Children will kill you but they can throw some pretty awful tantrums. When the Zapheads get riled up it feels like a Child throwing a temper tantrum. However, this temper tantrum won't end in crocodile tears and thrown stuffed animals. No, this will end in your bloody,violent demise.
Since the story is told from multiple POV's we get to follow a variety of personalities and backgrounds. While this worked in the first book, this time around everyone felt stuck. I wanted to see Rachel become this bad ass survivor chick but instead she's still wrestling with keeping the old ways alive. The character Franklin was probably the only one with any sort of real personality change. He went from this hippyish prepper concerned about his Granddaughter to borderline schizophrenic and potential rapist. I didn't like this change in personality one bit. Franklin's personality change felt gimmicky like it was done to give us a potential villain within the group of survivors not because he really might of been a bastard all along. My favorite character in this series remains Campbell but even he let me down as a character this go round.
My biggest pet peeve however is the story itself. I still feel like the Author is holding back information but for what reason I have no clue. I really wanted to learn more about the each character's past and also what is going on in other parts of the country. Does the Government exist anymore? Will another Flare happen? Can the Zapheads be cured? While some small advancements were made in the story it really wasn't enough to warrant a whole book in my opinion. I think most of this could of been tacked onto the first book quite nicely. Let's just say lot's of walking in the woods this go round. I get all the electronics were fried but can't they grab some bikes at least?
Overall, while I did like After: The Echo I was left feeling disappointed. I'm really hoping that the next book ramps up the Action and more information would be nice as well. With that being said I will be rating After: The Echo by Scott Nicholson ★★★.
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