Published by: Harlequin Teen on August 26, 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Source: Blog Tour
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).
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!!