It has been a week after a solar flare hit the entire planet, killing half the world’s population, and disrupting power grids, internet connections, communication devices, and transport systems. Most survivors have become violent mutants called Zapheads, and the remaining normal humans are left navigating in a civilization that has been brought back into the dark ages.
The protagonist Rachel Wheeler affectionately known as Ray Ray is a God-fearing young woman from Charlotte North Carolina, who believes that everything happens for a reason and that the apocalypse is possibly a test from God. She has lost her entire family and friends but has been successful in surviving on her own so far.
Along the way, she meets a black street-smart young man named Devontay and a 10-year-old orphaned boy named Stephen. The three of them make an odd trio, but they grow very fond of each other while trying to find a safe place to hide and survive. However, It turns out that the mutants are not their only enemy.
Even though After: The Shock is a post-apocalyptic thriller with violence as one of its themes, the author Scott Nicholson cleverly touched on some sensitive issues such as suicide, addiction, guilt, religion, and the meaning of life, in a humorous way which I appreciated and enjoyed. The ending lays a solid foundation for the next book in the series After: The Echo which I am looking forward to reading.
This story opened my eyes to how differently humans experience life depending on their backgrounds and beliefs. I saw how facing difficult situations can test one’s morality, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that even after we lose everything materially, what will always remain is that which makes us human; faith, love, and hope.
I’m giving this book a rating of 4 stars out of 5. An overall great read.