After ( After #1 )
After We Collided ( After #2 )
After We Fell ( After #3 )
After Ever Happy ( After #4 )
Before ( After #5 )
It´s taken me years to come up with reasonable words that sum up my feelings towards the `After` series by Anna Todd. Because, the ugly truth is – I couldn´t come up with anything better than swear words to describe my emotions.
Now, before I begin with my actual review I´d like to mention that before I started this series I was oblivious to everything that was associated with this story. All I knew was that the story was originally published on the online writing platform, Wattpad.
That was it. I never heard of Anna Todd nor have I heard of the sensation this story was supposed to be. It was by accident that I found the „After“ series.
Later on ( after finishing the fourth book ) I was informed that `After` is a fan fiction romance and that Harry Styles, from the band 1 Direction, was the inspiration for the male protagonist.
I didn´t know who Harry Style was and I had absolutely no clue who 1 Direction ( or 1D) were. After a quick google check I wasn´t any smarter. I figured it didn´t matter. Nothing could have changed my opinion towards the story, or should I say – nothing could have made me think better or worse of what I forced myself to finish.
Staring with book #1, After… I have to admit that I liked it alot. I´m not a huge fan of college romances but I liked how the story started and how it ended.
A well protected wallflower falls for rude, mysterious bad boy.
What´s unique about this story is that the main characters, Tessa and Hardin, are polar opposites who shouldn´t even be near each other. Two extreme youngsters who can´t seem to stay away from one another. The story has mean – as – shit college students, lots of pre-adult drama and a bet that could break whatever the hell these 2 characters have for each other. The key word is: could. There wouldn´t be more books if the bet had ripped the characters apart for good. There´s alot going on and there´s tension. An entertaining story with so much potential.
Like I said- I liked book #1. I just wish I could say the same for the rest of the books.
With `After We Collided`, book #2, Tessa and Hardins story continues. After a relationship hiccup the couple tries to sort themselves and have a steady relationship. Little do they know how hard it is to be together, especially when one is a complete harm to society.
I self diagnosed the Hero, Hardin, in this book. In book one I truly bought the bad boy act but since his behavior didn´t really improve I began to think he had more than just a few screws missing.
A few things come to my mind when I think of Hardin: alcoholic, abusive, antisocial personality disorder and bastard. Because he is all those things covered by a pretty face of a college student. It´s plain to see that he has / had issues. In book #1 a reader gets to accompany the main characters and live the ups and downs, back and forth with them. In book #2…. nothing changes. Tessa and Hardin are two „kids“ stuck in an awkward nightmare relationship where both have no bloody clue as to how things work. A reader does get to meet the sub characters a little more, which is good. But the rest? Screw ups after screw ups, heartbreak and tears…. it was time to see some happiness happen for these characters. 671 pages full of „Why the hell isn´t she leaving him??“
My final thoughts on `After We Collided`: After reading such an intense story with such intense characters in book #1 I hoped there would be some character development in book #2. There was none. But… there was more emotional abuse. So much that I felt the need to open a bottle of wine afterwards just so I could digest the catastrophe I read.
`After We Fell`, book #3. An 834 page long book. The book is just as thick as the bricks we used to build our house with. 834 pages of repetitive emotional abuse. Tessa and Hardin continue their abusive / back and forth relationship. But this time it´s painful for a reader to witness the mind fucking going on between the main characters and how they pulled other family members into their world of fuck ups. Family and friends of Tessa and Hardin also suffer under the hands of Hardin. He´s a ticking time bomb. He has anger issues. He´s afraid of losing the one thing he can emotionally torture. Hardin claims he loves Tessa but still breaks a piece of her every time he fucks up.
I couldn´t believe I sat through another book that had NO character development, what-so-ever. I got the picture: Hardin wasn´t healthy in any way, on any level. Hardin´s behavior took it´s toll on Tessa and I was so waiting for her to wake up and smell the roses. She needed to get rid of him. Actually, that needed to happen during book #1. After I finished book #3 I opened another bottle of wine.
The new relationship status from Hardin and Tessa: An apocalyptic catastrophe.
`After Ever Happy`, book #4, was the book that finally cracked my calm. I was fuming. I shook my head through 512 pages because there was nothing else I was able to do. Tessa and Hardin- they had ANOTHER life/relationship challenge. Another one. Or, let´s say… they had a few more and those challenges were such a waste of my time because 80% of those challenges were recaps of the ones from the previous books.
My hopes for a character development were shot to the moon after book #3 but I still had a tiny bit of hope that there would be some sort of a happy ever after ( because the title does hint it ). A reader does get a sloppy version of a happy ever after. You get approximately 450 pages of emotional disaster with the main characters and then it´s fast forward from then on.
BAM – you see the characters do this.
BAM – you see the characters do that.
BAM – BAM – BAM – BAM – BAM.
There´s no time for a reader to process all the info shoved in our faces.
The pace of the ending can be compared to the recent season 7 of Game of Thrones. We got 6 seasons of drawn out info and a super speedy season 7.
(NOTE: I love Game of Thrones and would normally never compare the genius of a story to the After series, except when referring to the pace. I´m probably going to go to hell for even mentioning GoT in this review. )
Anyways- the finale ending of the After series… A full-blown disappointment. So disappointed that I returned book #4. I don´t want to have a book like that on my kindle.
My overall feelings towards this series: A big fat NOPE.
It´s unnecessarily complicated, the Hero is abusive, the relationship Hardin and Tessa have is over the top unhealthy. What they have is a twisted sense of reality. There´s nothing remotely romantic about 2 young adults acting the way they did. The story was a train wreck I should have looked away from.
But wait… there´s one more. Yupp. I kid you not. There´s a 5th book in the series.
`Before` ( After #5 ) and it´s the story of Hardin´s life before he permanently ruined Tessa´s life.
I didn´t even try to read it. Why would I? A reader can make their own picture of Hardin´s past and readers definitely find out the true reason behind his abusive behavior in book 3 & 4. I´m really not interested in further details. My guess is that the author wrote this book for her dedicated fans, which is fine. Only I´m not interested in spending another dime on this story and I´m not interested in spending more hours on reading about a glorified prick.
So, there we have it. Not everything with the words `sensation`printed on it is actually a sensation. The only thing sensational about the After series is that so many people loved it.
Would I reread this series? Nope. Not now. Not ever again.
Would I recommend this series? No.
The Covers – 4 stars ( The covers have nothing to do with the story. They´re all actually pretty to look at )
The Story – 1 star ( No. Either I´m too old to appreciate the kind of twisted romance After is or I´m a different kind of romance reader. Either way- No. )
The Characters – 1 star ( The world doesn´t have enough wine to help me get over these kids)
My emotional state after finishing this read – I feel like I need to upgrade from wine to vodka.
I´m giving the whole `After`series by Anna Todd 1 out of 5 stars.