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Ana, British School of Gran Canaria

After the Fire

Even though it might appear to be, After the Fire is not a story about faith or religion. It is not even about the infamous Waco Siege and the terrifying consequences it had on the people involved in it. After the Fire is, however, a story about grief and loss, and about a little girl forced to grow up before her time.

Captivating from the very first line, the book centres on Moonbeam, one of the most complex characters I have ever encountered. She made me understand how sometimes there is no right solution and, mostly, how even the most independent and individualistic people need somebody to talk to in moments of grief. Seeing the story from her perspective is amazing since it allows me to understand a little more what was going on inside her head and actually realize how devastating the effects of such a traumatic event can have on teenagers.

Moonbeam's plight shines a light on how one can stop trusting everybody and how one can stop even comprehending your own emotions and feelings. I didn't expect to identify so much with the other characters of the story. In the end, it was as if I really did know Nate, Honey, agent Carlyle and all the others.

I admire how After the Fire doesn't need difficult words to convey complicated concepts. How the engaging and immediate style of writing of Will Hill forces a connection between scribe and reader. How he manages, with words alone, to make you believe you are truly inside the Base, standing next to Father John, Moonbeam and Horizon. And how he never needs growing tension or suspense to stop you from being able to put the book down.

Nevertheless, even though this book is a masterpiece, it also had its flaws. For example, it lacks context with some background information about the event it was based on, the Waco Siege, missing. As well, I must admit the ending's a little disappointing; since it seems rushed and hurried.

Some people might find the switching between Before and After confusing. I don't and it was yet another narrative mechanism which kept me addicted. It was great how it allowed the writer to reveal what really happened progressively.

Nonetheless, nothing could prepare me for the story's message. It shows how sometimes even the people you think you know the most will fail you, and that you need to think for yourself and use your own standards for right or wrong, not other people's. It challenges you to question your beliefs and ideas, to think if they are really yours or somebody else's.

Posted on: 4th May 2018 at 09:45 am

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