Review: After the Fear

Cover of "After the Fear," featuring a girl in a school uniform holding a knife with blood on her hands standing in front of a roman-style coliseum
Image from Rosanne Rivers

Title: After the Fear

Author: Rosanne Rivers

Genre: Dystopian

Back Cover:

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.


When I first discovered After the Fear through Rosanne Rivers’ website, I thought the premise sounded interesting. If nothing else, it should have plenty of action.

And boy, am I ever glad I gave it a chance.

Sola was a great character. At times, she was a pretty average girl. At others, especially during the demonstrations, she was … I’m not quite sure what the right word is. Brave, maybe. She fought because the alternative was to die. But she felt guilty about killing, and she had an extremely hot temper when it came to her family. Basically, despite the fact that she lived in a dystopian world, she was a normal girl.

Dylan, the Demonstrator that Sola kissed, was only a so-so character. He was just kind of … a Demonstrator. He wasn’t annoying, and I didn’t dislike him, but I found him kind of bland, personality-wise.

Coral was the perfect evil girl. She hated Sola with a vengeance, no matter if Sola was nice to her or mean to her. She was selfish and mean to everyone, and perfectly happy to act like a friend to anyone until she had what she needed from them. I hated her, but I also liked her as an antagonist.

Alixis was awesome, but she wasn’t in as much of the book as I would have liked. She was witty and upbeat and a great best friend. I wish she wasn’t a minor character, because she was just so much fun.

I loved the plot – or should I say plots. Besides the main, don’t-get-killed-in-a-demonstration plot, there was also the Coral-hates-Sola plot, a romance plot where Sola likes one guy and a different guy likes her, and a minor plot involving Alixis. And they were all awesome. It was a perfect blend of intense emotions and deadly action, and once I got into it, I stayed up way too late trying to see what happened next.

When I started After the Fear, I didn’t think Sola’s world was much different from ours. They had this thing called Debtbook, which I assumed was something like Facebook, and some high-up government people called Liaisons, but otherwise, it seemed pretty similar. Then, as the story went on, I realized it was quite different. I won’t say much about it, because finding out the intricacies is half the fun, but it’s much more different than the beginning would lead you to suspect.

Overall, although one aspect of the romance plot wrapped up just a little too conveniently, I enjoyed the story. And while I really don’t think there’s much room for a sequel to After the Fear, I’d definitely be willing to read something else by Rosanne Rivers.

I received a free review copy of After the Fear from Immortal Ink Publishing.  Their generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.


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