After the Fear 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.

If you haven’t
already (being the fans of dystopia that you are) you really need to read this
book. Yes, we might say that a lot here on Delve into Dystopia, but we only say
it because we mean it, and After the Fear is no exception. This books manages
to bring together the fight of a young protagonist, development of fitness,
pressures of a diminishing society and the evolving of friendships and
relationships together all in one book, something not very common in the long
line of YA books.

If you’re the
kind of person who gives up quite easily on a book because it’s slow paced or
doesn’t grip you instantly, then you are missing out. After the Fear starts out
quite slowly, perhaps not initially offering much to us as the reader, however
it is an incredibly gripping book from around a quarter of the way through.
Despite starting out with the question of whether or not the book will hold
much excitement and quality of writing, the book brings a whole other dimension
to YA dystopias as we know them in the form of our protagonists journey.

After the Fear
has wrongly been compared to Suzannne Collins The Hunger Games many times,
which does make sense as it involves people fighting to the death, however the
story itself is so different. Firstly, After the Fear takes place in England,
where the major cities have been contained and made separate to the rest of
society in order to control crime and pay off the countries debt. This brings a
wonderful British feel to the dystopia, much like we gain from books like
Children of Men, which sets it apart from the americanised societies that some
of the most popular dystopias have – we need a push for diverse cultures and
traditions in YA dystopian books, and After the Fear is leading the way.

Our protagonist,
Sola, is feisty and brave in ways that seem possible, not impossibly
extraordinary like some dystopias, and yet is still incredibly vulnerable to
the society and those around her. This makes it very easy to connect to her and
route for her as she becomes the victim of being changed and shaped by
society’s needs. Sola is very ordinary in the scheme of things, but evolves
hugely as a character throughout the whole book due to the path that her
journey takes. This again makes it very easy to relate to her as we can use our
own imagination to craft her similarities to us and place ourselves in her

The development
of fitness for a female body is something explored vastly in this book, which
acts as an incredibly positive image for young females. Unlike our own
society’s pressure for “skinny” After the Fear presents young women
becoming toned, fit and healthy in order to survive the fight of society. It
shows how empowered you can feel as a result of fitness, which is important in
the world today as we often are so focussed on body image that we forget to be
healthy in mind and body.

After The Fear
is a feel good dystopia with plenty of positive images, but that’s not to say
that the society isn’t harsh and dark, but more that it is balanced with the
two to create a fantastically gripping dystopia. Unfortunately there is
currently only one book, rather than a series, but we can hope that Rosanne
Rivers continues to write and thrill us with her words. So, go and pick up the
book of your shelves, or, if you haven’t got a copy, get one here:


  • Fakhir 01/03/2016 at 7:48 am

    I think that’s true the Big Brother thing is a default; that’s what we’ve deidecd dystopias look like. When I really think about what scares me now, though, it isn’t Big Bad Government controlling my every move. It’s corporations encouraging us to focus on immediate pleasure at the expense of the long-term, and government stepping back and giving them license to do basically whatever they want. This is very much a teen issue, as they are so heavily targeted by ads, but I haven’t seen as much YA sci-fi in this vein as I might expect.

    • Delve into Dystopia 01/03/2016 at 8:59 am

      I completely agree. It’s weird that there aren’t as many books that explore such a relevant topic. For me, the dystopias that are the scariest are where the goevrnement aren’t controlling and are instead corrupt and virtually non existent. Thanks for the comment!

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