Title: The Aftermath
Author: Jen Alexander
Series: The Aftermath
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 3.86
Published: August 26th, 2014
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.
"There was no end of the world. There's only a game called The Aftermath, and I feel stupid for just realizing this."The Aftermath was quite honestly a really cool idea that wasn't executed as well as I hoped it would be. There wasn't enough action for my taste (the whole idea being a video game-esque scenario), and for the most part the novel went by very slowly. I never felt like the main character was in any real danger, the sense of urgency was just not there for me. Still, the novel is full of fascinating ideas. What if the character you play in your RPG game were real? What if the game you are playing is their reality?
The beginning is confusing as hell, because you don't really know what is going on with this reality. Is the MC a character in a game, or is she a real human being? What is she? What is this place? And who is the girl who seems to be controlling her? I had a lot of questions, tons, and for the most part a lot of these were answered. The world of the Aftermath was well developed (as well as a devastated waste land CAN be developed anyhow) but the world outside The Aftermath is still mostly just a mystery. I don't exactly want to give any of the story away but I still have questions that were not answered about the country's history, questions that could have been easily answered here.
"I am not just some virtual person stuck in a reality that was created by computers. I am something else. Something called a character. A human trapped inside an intentional hell that's been created by designers--other humans."The character of Claudia was okay. It felt kind of weird she had supposedly been sentient for years but then she just ignored all the weird stuff coming out of her mouth? And the weird shit she would do? She just brushed it off... Yeah, if I felt like my body was doing things without my consent I would FREAK OUT. It would have made more sense for her to have had the mentality of a prisoner inside her own mind, but this is not the case. One day she is just... fully sentient, realizing all the weird shit she has done or said through the years wasn't her. Again, interesting concept, little sketchy execution.
Also the "gamer" that was in charge of Claudia, Olivia, was a complete and total bitch. I absolutely hated her, and I hope to god that was the point. I couldn't sympathize with her at all, not even with her forbidden love scenario because of how ridiculously bad she treated her "boyfriend". Claudia on the other hand was more relatable, and after being under the thumb of Olivia you just wanted her to escape and be free.
Romance between Olivia and her boyfriend is just, blah. I couldn't exactly believe how he could stick by her, or why. She didn't make anything easy. As for Claudia and her romantic interests I thought it was rushed. I am not in awe of the boy she feels the butterflies for. I don't feel butterflies for him at all so... Also the objective of the boy in the game was very unsurprising.
I don't know what is on hold for the future of the series, but I think I would pick up the sequel if only to see what exactly comes next for Claudia. She was the only character I really liked in this book, I also kind of want to see Olivia burn (or at least seriously explain her behavior). Overall not a bad novel, it was just slow and it lacked some much needed action (specially for being in the video game genre).
PS; If you liked The Aftermath then you must try RUSH as well. Much more action, and better romance overall.