A Post-Apocalyptic Trilogy

After the End Trilogy: The Complete Post-Apocalyptic Box Set by Mark Gillespie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This collection contained three novels: The Curse, The Sinners, and The End War. And while I would recommend reading them in order, they are each essentially self-contained.

All three of these novels are set in a post-apocalyptic America. The country has been devastated by a major international war. There are pockets of survivors throughout the country, but limited communication between the groups and no trust. We follow Eda as she makes her way out of one community into the wider, wilder land. Along the way, we meet other survivors; some good, some evil.

I found there to be more characterization in this book than I would have expected. Many characters have multiple facets and few felt cut-out. The majority of the characters we meet have at least one major surprise that kept this reader on her toes. One of my complaints about this story was that Eda is in her mid-thirties. She certainly read much younger than that. I understand she grew up in an age of war and the “wild years”, but she frequently read more like a child than a full-grown woman.

The first book, The Curse, started a little slow, but allowed the reader to understand the part of the world Eda knew. Once the action picked up, it seldom let go. The action continues through the next two installments.

Each book was on the short side, almost a collection of three novellas. I am more accustomed to longer forays into the post-apocalyptic world, but this was well-done shorter fiction. I could certainly read about more of Eda’s encounters and the next phase After the End.

I would be happy to read more works by Mark Gillespie and I will certainly watch for future installments in this world.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley, all thoughts in this review are my own.



View all my reviews

American Judas by Mickey Dubrow

From the publisher:

“Seth and Maggie Ginsberg do their best to navigate an oppressive theocracy where fundamental Christianity is the only legal religion, and abortion, homosexuality, and adultery are outlawed. When a co-worker outs Seth as a Jew, Seth escapes to Mexico, while Maggie is sent to a Savior Camp. American Judas is a dystopian tale about a young couple‚Äôs life after opportunistic U.S. politicians abolish the wall of separation between Church and State.”

My Review:

A terrifying look at what an American theocracy could be.

This novel was heavily plot-driven, with a lot of message to its readers. The story started out innocuous enough, with just an undercurrent of dread. But it quickly escalated to worst-case scenario and became very grim. As is frequently needed in end-of-world novels, there was certainly some violence, but I would not call it gratuitous. Be forewarned there is some violence.

The author did a good job with interjecting some humor into his story. A few of my personal favorites:

“The Savior camps are not just for lapsed Christians and those afflicted with the disease of homosexuality. They also cure drug addictions, adulterers, Satan worshipers and Liberals.”

“What’s the point of being the damn American Judas if you don’t make it so that a man can drink his beer in peace.”

Tearing down the wall between church and state did not go so well in this world and provided a good reminder in these turbulent times. A state run church is not a new idea in this world, but radically changing the priorities and ideals of a freedom loving country is bound to create some backlash.

At one point, our protagonist Maggie asks Tiffany (an adolescent viewed as an example for all others) “Are you so perfect that you get to decide for other people?” And Tiffany’s answer sums up for me how people can fall into this vicious scenario: “I’m not perfect. Just forgiven.” My belief allows me to make mistakes and make decisions for others I believe are right. Scary stuff.

Overall, I found the pacing of this novel to be engrossing. I turned every page needing to know what happened next. Some aspects of the story were tied up with nice little bows, some aspects were left undone, and some aspects were sped to a hasty conclusion. I was left with a feeling of hope, which I find very important when reading any apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction.

I see this is a debut novel from Mickey Dubrow and I thought it was well-done and timely. I will watch for future titles by this author.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced copy of this book.