Review: The Aftermath by Jen Alexander

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Aftermath by Jen Alexander

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.

This was a different sort of book, and by that I mean, it stands out in the sometimes crowed dystopian YA genre. On one hand, there were the thriller and gamer aspects and on the other hand you have the heavy dystopian/post apocalyptic feel. It really made for an interesting read, not quite like anything else I've read, and trust me, when something stands apart like that, it's something worth some attention. Sure, the beginning was rather confusing, and answers were a bit slow coming at first, but it never reached the point of frustration. In fact, I think the opening confusion better allowed me to connect with Claudia directly early on as it felt like we were experiencing that same confusion together, ramping up my enjoyment even more.

That being said, while I was sucked in at first into Claudia's plight, so much of the book is about the game and the different aspects behind it along with the real world as well in the mix. The control vs non control was such a large part, that I think it eclipsed the character development just a bit. I mean compared to the world behind the story and the game itself, the characters almost seemed a bit secondary. So while I absolutely loved that really strong world building that kept me very sucked in, I would have preferred to have just a bit more depth to the characters so I could have grown more attached to them. That being said, I think with the next installment, this will become a non-issue as by the time I finish the investment of a second installment, I'm sure those characters will be fully cemented.

I'm not a gamer, but this book almost made me want to be. The twists and turns kept me more than hooked throughout and it wasn't easy to put this one down. THE AFTERMATH is perfect for anyone who loves dystopian YA but is looking for something a bit different than anything else they've read. And if you're a gamer to boot, then this one will be golden for you.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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