At fifteen she found herself afloat aboard a leaky dingy with a strange boy. She could not remember how she got there and in fact could not remember anything about her life. Not even her own name. Somehow blessed with amazing medical skills, she fought to find her identity and to protect the one she loved. But she is torn between two mothers. To which does she belong?
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The story of Aster is fascinating. She begins life, or her life in the story, a virtual blank slate. She knows nothing of who she is, where she came from, or even her identity, and develops her own identity as she matures in the Church, and becomes a Nun to help teach people. She doesn’t allow her Mother, the Church, or even her lover to define her personality or her life. She takes an identity, accepts it, and grows up to become an independent person. It’s really a great story of how a young woman with no past develops into a strong, mature, fierce woman. The story combines a number of elements: love, coming of age, disaster, intrigue, mysterious pasts, and a seemingly too-powerful antagonist. The story is more than that. I like Aster. I want to be her friend and hang out with her. She's an amazing young woman and I hope Eric Johnson includes more of her life story (and that of her family) in future books.
This book is full of twists and turns you just don't expect. I'm almost unwilling to talk about the book because I'd hate to give the things away. So I'll try to keep it generic. The world this takes place in is a post-apocalyptic world. Not the result of a nuclear bomb or something similar, but from an astrological event. Thousands of years later, man (and its genetically mutated brothers) has emerged from the ashes and is rebuilding. Aster is a 'lost daughter'...but she doesn't know she's lost, nor does she know she's a 'daughter'. In fact, she has no memories at all, yet has a lot of knowledge. She settles in to an orphanage and hospital run by a religious order. There she falls in love with a young man, much to the dismay of the religious order. The book then goes on a roller coaster ride of explosions, gunfire, hiding and seeking, and events that change the face of this small piece of After World. If you're familiar with the other books and short stories of the "After World" series, here you'll run in to some old friends, and may even recognize Aster from the short story "A Day in a Life in After World: Maggie" (which is also included as bonus material at the end of this novel). I highly recommend this book. In fact I highly recommend the entire "After World" series.