Book Review: After America by John Birmingham (2010)

After America follows John Birmingham’s action tale Without Warning, whereby the majority of the US continent is destroyed by a mystery energy field known as ‘The Wave’. The second book in the series picks up not long after the first, reuniting us with familiar characters and introducing an entirely new world that no longer features America as superpower.

In his usual style Birmingham tells the story of half a dozen characters, slowly unveiling the story with meaningful character development scenes and sharp action beats. To begin with the chapters are distributed at a one-per-character rate, but as the pace quickens so too does the switching between stories.

This is not to say that the story is not compelling. Several of the characters have rich personalities and back stories, making them easy to connect with. Of course, it may seem like a male writer may have focused too much on the special agent’s breast functions a little too much however anyone who has breastfed or lived with someone doing so will know that Birmingham knows just how much a woman focuses on her own breasts at this point in her life.

The child soldier’s point of view was particularly striking, his dedication to his beliefs were articulate and left me empathising.

Always the comedian Birmingham’s best character had to be the ex-Polish soldier Milosz who was fighting alongside US troops, trying desperately to adopt the finer points of his adopted culture.

Ultimately this was a sequel book, a filler for the series. It had some interesting characters and certain events did touch me, surprise me and disappoint me (like a good action book should). It was a fun read, a page-turner and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series, Angels of Vengeance which is out now.

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