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It’s 1955, and Benjamin Burrows and Janie Scott are trying to live a safe, normal life in America. It’s not easy, when they have the power to prevent nuclear disaster, and sinister forces are circling. Soon the advice of a mysterious, unscrupulous magician propels Janie and Benjamin into danger, and toward the land of the dead.
Meanwhile, their friend Jin Lo washes up on a remote island where an American spy is stationed, and finds herself on the trail of a deadly threat in China. But she’s on the other side of the world—how can Janie and Benjamin reach her?
The triumphant finale in the trilogy that began with Maile Meloy’s bestselling, critically acclaimed The Apothecary, and continued in its captivating sequel, The Apprentices, The After-Room is full of enchantment and heart, with Ian Schoenherr’s stunning illustrations throughout.
Second guest review by my friend, Hugo! Hopefully, he will soon become a co-blogger on this blog. We’ll see 😏 (By the way, the header image was made by him. Isn’t it nice!?)
The After Room is the third book in the “Apothecary Trilogy”, and it is the only one of the trilogy that I have read. This made it very difficult for me to understand what was going on, as the story seemed to pick up right after the second book.
There was very little character development, as I guessed that all happened in the previous books, and this made it hard to get to know them. At first it seemed very clichéd and the way that the “After Room” was woven into the storyline seemed rushed. All of the sudden they were on another adventure at literally page 10. That seemed very rushed to me as I was expecting them to be “trying to live a safe, normal life in America.” (Quote from blurb which I semi-relied on to understand what was happening).
There is not much I can say about the book’s plot. Everything in this book is pretty much determined from the other two books and I do not wish to be spoilerrific! But I can talk about the prospect of the amazing idea of the “After Room”. The idea of them travelling to the land of the dead was so magical and was described so beautifully. It was original and inventive. If they were just travelling to heaven or hell, yes it would be interesting, but it would not even be close to the mysterious and wonderful land of the “After Room”. The book itself was just as beautiful as the world it created, with stunning drawings on every page or so.
The book definitely knew where it was going, but sometimes I didn’t. I got very lost and confused in all the characters that were suddenly introduced to me, and I didn’t know if I was supposed to already be familiar with them. For potential readers, I’m assuming this book will be completely different, as they would hopefully have read the first two, unlike me! I couldn’t really feel the suspense until the book neared its end, as I didn’t know what the characters were really going through. I can’t rate this as highly as I would have liked, as there was little character development and the previous two were not explained thoroughly. For me, I found it very hard to follow as they took off on their last adventure. Pretty much, if you knew about the characters, you would be completely capable to read this book by itself. But you don’t, so you’re best off reading the first two. I definitely recommend doing so, and hope that first two are as original and creative as this one.
Thank you to Text Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion!
Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 6/10
The After-Room is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.
- Title: The After-Room
- Author: Maile Meloy
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Text Publishing (October 21st, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN10: 039917544X
- URL: Goodreads, Amazon