Review: The Aftermath by Jen Alexander

The AftermathThe Aftermath by Jen Alexander
Published by: Harlequin Teen on August 26, 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Source: Blog Tour
Book Details
Rating: ★★★★

Sometimes, I dream that I'm someone else.

A girl with dark hair who doesn't worry about hunger

or thirst or running from flesh-eaters.

In her world, those sorts of things don't exist.

Since the spring of 2036, when the world changed forever, Claudia and a small clan of survivors have roamed the streets of a very altered Nashville: polluted and desolate, except for the ever-present threat of cannibal Hoarders. Together they must undergo punishing tests of endurance and psychological challenge sometimes with devastating consequences all just to live another day.

With food and water in dwindling supply, and with danger lurking around every corner, no one can be trusted. And as her world starts to make less and less sense, Claudia begins to realize something terrifying: she is just a pawn in some sort of game, and all of her actions are being controlled from afar by a mysterious gamer. So when she meets a maddening and fascinating outsider named Declan, who claims to be a game moderator, she must decide whether to join him in exchange for protection and access to the border.

If they play the game right, they are each other's best hope for survival and a life beyond the only world Claudia's ever known: the terrifying live-action game known as The Aftermath.

The Aftermath came to me at a perfect time. I used to be the girl who would sit at home and play video games for 8 hours a day. In recent years it hasn’t quite been like that. I’ve been reading, blogging, and working and barely playing any games. But recently I’ve been getting back into Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), so this book couldn’t have come at a more perfect time!

The Aftermath was a mixture of awesome, creepy, morbid, sad, and LIFE IS SO UNFAIR! It was a lot of fun because we hear things like: raids, clans, quests, side quests, points, health, save points, and missions. I was reminded of my old raiding days in LOTRO when my kinship (clan) and I would team up to take down Thaurlach (a Balrog of Morgoth).

LOTRO: Killing Thaurlach

A Balrog of Morgoth in Lord of the Rings Online

The Aftermath had me constantly thinking. In particular, I was totally starting to question my sanity. Am I a psychopath? In The Aftermath the ‘characters’ are real people who are ‘played’ by other real people (gamers). The gamers have their characters kill people.. which is basically killing REAL other people. So when Claudia is forced to kill people or participate in violence, she curses her gamer for it. She doesn’t want to be this violent murderer but her gamer is making her do it. So then I’m thinking about my own obsession with killing Orcs and Balrogs and I’m like OMG I’M A PSYCHOPATH MURDERER!!

But I love how Jen Alexanders really made me feel for Claudia. Even though I adore killing virtual things and button mashing the shit out of my keyboard, I got so angry at the injustice in the book. How could people in society condone forcing real people into some sort of powerless, murderous slavery? I wanted to smack some serious sense into the universe!

The ending in particular REALLY got me riled up. This is after all the details and mysteries got revealed.. and OMG I legit wanted to kill this one character. (I think this book really brought out my violent side—what do you think?)

Overall, I love how The Aftermath was the ultimate gamer nerdgasm. More than anything, I had a lot of fun reading this book. It was really quick and easy to breeze through and I enjoyed it a lot. I think it’s fantastic that the book riled me up so much because it was in a good way. The Aftermath isn’t clearly labeled as a series but IT BETTER BE! Things don’t totally get resolved at the end and there’s this mini-cliffhanger and the guy who I want to see die still isn’t dead yet so I NEED MORE!!

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if this book will appeal much to people who aren’t gamers. But if you do like gaming, it’s definitely worth a read!

The Verdict


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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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    1. Haha I used to like The Sims but I found that I always got bored of it fairly quickly. πŸ™

  1. Hey I played Lotro too. Until I had a kid, now I don’t have time. But when he grows up, we will play together. We needed a healer for a raid. Lol
    Your talk about the book reminded me of another game I played a lot. The Sims. I don’t know if you are familiar with the concept, but there you really tell other virtual people what to do. I remembered how I used to make my Sim fall in love and get married and then I killed her husband. Easy extra money. What if those were real people?

    1. I hope so! I’m actually doing an interview with Jen next week and that was one of my questions for her. So we’ll find out!

  2. I’m not a MMORPG person at all, but I suppose I can still be called a gamer. My middle school days were full of NIntendo RPGs, especially Pokemon and Animal Crossing. I’ve been on a DS kick lately. I started playing Harvest Moon and Dragon Quest IX again. I want to play Rune Factory, but I’m not sure where I put it…
    A couple of weeks ago, I binge-watched Sword Art Online, an anime in which the characters are stuck in an MMORPG game. I’m interested in the concept of MMORPG, but I never play.

    I’m super excited for this book. It sounds perfect for me! The only thing I’m worried about is the main character’s name. Claudia is also the name of one of my cousin. I’ve always been super close to her, so I’m worried that reading this book will be a bit weird for me.

    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: How do you manage your reading/blogging time?
    1. Yeah you don’t have to play MMOs to be a gamer. Any kind of games will do the trick!

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