20 Years Later by Emma Newman
kindle book purchased from Amazon.com
Description from Goodreads:
LONDON, 2012: IT arrives and with that the world is changed into an unending graveyard littered with the bones, wreckage, and memories of a dead past, gone forever.
LONDON, 2032: Twenty years later, out of the ashes, a new world begins to rise, a place ruled by both loyalty and fear, and where the quest to be the first to regain lost knowledge is an ongoing battle for power. A place where laws are made and enforced by roving gangs-the Bloomsbury Boys, the Gardners, the Red Lady's Gang-who rule the streets and will do anything to protect their own.
THE FOUR: Zane, Titus, Erin, Eve. Living in this new world, they discover that they have abilities never before seen. And little do they know that as they search post-apocalyptic London for Titus' kidnapped sister that they'll uncover the secret of IT, and bring about a reckoning with the forces that almost destroyed all of humanity.
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. I finally just bought it for my kindle and read it very quickly. For such a fast read, the post apocalyptic world is built and revealed very slowly. The reader learns about the small patch of London where Zane and his mother Miri live in a mutually beneficial relationship with two of the local gangs. Zane has managed to reach early teens living within this sanctuary of a garden where he and his mother raise the fruits and vegetables that feed them and provides the herbs for healing the wounds of the gang of boys that live nearby. This sheltered existence can only be sustained for a time, and as Zane grows up, new people arrive and strange things occur, their lives become even more precarious and interesting than before.
There are mysteries about Zane's father and what happened to him as well as about what exactly IT was and how and why it occurred. As the story unfolds, more mysteries pop up such as what is the relationship between Zane, Titus and Erin and later Eve. Why are they different from the others? How did they get this strange link they have? Why are the Bloomsbury Boys always boys and where do they come from?
Zane is very innocent and this provides an interesting contrast to some of the other children in the story, particularly the Bloomsbury Boys and Erin. Is innocence like this possible in such a post apocalyptic world? I'm not sure, but within the safety of the garden and the limited areas he is allowed to venture into, it seems like it might be possible. His mother has strong motivation to keep him protected, so it seems plausible.
The story moves pretty quickly and the book is hard to put down. There are some answers but still more questions at the end. This leads me to believe and hope that there are more books in the wings. If you enjoy post apocalyptic fiction, this might be a good book to try.