4 out of 4 stars
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Aftermath: The Armorian Chronicles by Courtney Beals is a young adult dystopian novel that chronicles the lives of twins Lyla and Lilly Langston.
It’s been eighteen years since dark creatures concealed underneath black hoods invaded the world. The dark creatures killed the majority of the world’s population during the invasion. The surviving population was forced into hiding to avoid the dark creatures, who continue to hunt and kill survivors while establishing a dark army aimed at taking over the world. Among the survivors are twin girls named Lyla and Lilly Langston, and their grandparents, who have raised them from infancy.
Lyla and Lilly’s grandparents have done a superb job training them to survive amidst the dark creatures. The girls are tasked with locating food and supplies, self-defense training, weapons training, and mastering survival skills. Lyla and Lilly seemed well prepared. When their grandmother is killed, and their grandfather is taken captive by the dark creatures, this preparation is tested. On a quest to locate their grandfather, the girls realize that they have unique, magical abilities. Unfortunately for Lyla and Lilly, the same magical abilities that may be the solution to rescuing their grandfather are sought after by the dark army for nefarious purposes.
The story that unfolds is magical, thrilling, and suspenseful. The author does a superb job of inserting perfectly-timed plot twists. The storyline of Aftermath is engaging and intriguing and leaves the reader guessing about what is to come. When you think you may have things figured out, you realize that things are not as they seem, which led to some page-turning reading. In addition to an exciting storyline, I found the author’s world-building detailed, which is paramount in a dystopian novel.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the bond between Lyla and Lilly. This bond is endearing and ever-evolving throughout the book. As Lyla and Lilly learn more about their abilities and past, their relationship evolves. Regardless of what these twin girls face, their bond is strong and powerful. This aspect of Aftermath provided an excellent balance to the traumatic events that occurred and gave more depth to the characters.
It is hard to find criticism in this book. I believe the book is professionally edited. I only noted two minor errors. There were a couple of occasions where I felt as if the writing style approached a middle-grade level. My opinion is that these occasions were evident only because of the juxtaposition of two writing styles. The author may have intended this in their writing, or it may just be a subjective observation on my part. I do not feel these occasions detracted from the storyline or my enjoyment of the book; therefore, they did not negatively impact my rating.
My overall impression of Aftermath is that it is a magical, action-packed story that will appeal to many audiences. The world created by the dark creatures and the surprising amount of magic within this world will enthrall readers who enjoy dystopian fiction. Readers who enjoy fantasy quests will find the challenges and experiences of Lyla and Lilly engaging and unique to those of others I have seen in this genre. I also feel this book will appeal to many ages. While I am not a young adult, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
There is no profanity in this book. There is a romantic element to this book, along with romantic acts, such as kissing. It is important to note that there are vague references to more graphic romantic situations. For these reasons, parents of younger readers, or those sensitive to these subject areas may wish to use their discretion before reading it.
It is my pleasure to award Aftermath by Courtney Beals 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend this book to others. On a final note, I’m not sure if the author intends this book to be a stand-alone novel or the beginning of a series. After reading this book and noticing the subtitle The Armorian Chronicles, I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a beautiful young adult series.
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