Monday, September 1, 2014

ARC Review: The Aftermath (Jen Alexander)

The Aftermath (Aftermath #1)Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Harlequin Teen

ARC Provided by Publisher in Exchange for an Honest Review

Sometimes, I dream that I'm someone else.A girl with dark hair who doesn't worry about hungeror 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. 

A native of North Carolina, Jen Alexander spent her childhood with her nose buried in either a book or a video game, and sometimes both at the same time. Following a dream about a character trapped inside a live-action video game, Jen was encouraged by her husband to write The Aftermath, which is her debut novel. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family, going to the gym, and trying to beat agonizingly tough levels of God of War and Call of Duty.
Jen is represented by Mollie Glick at Foundry Literary + Media.

"In the world of the Aftermath,
every day could by your last...."

I am a huge fan of survival stories so of course when I saw this book I knew I had to have it. Survivors trying to live in a world ravaged with cannibal Hoarders?? Ummmm YES!!!! I love survival stories where the characters have to search for food, water, shelter, and where there is always danger lurking around the next corner. This book was all that I expected and more....

The main character, Claudia and her small clan of survivors are just trying to make it day by day by scavenging from nearby cities. While on a scavenge hunt Claudia runs into another survivor and during the encounter she gets hit on the head by an object. The next thing she knows...she is either dreaming or thinks she is...She hears people talking about "fixing" her and she sees machines working on her and she is totally confused. 

"But 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."

It is at this moment when Claudia realizes that she is actually a pawn in video game and that all her actions and decisions are being made by the gamer that is controlling her. 

"You look terrified---I thought I told you not to think of the game.
But I didn't, I want to say. I thought of a different game where I was a different type of gamer. And worst of all, I'm not sure where the memory came from or if I'm simply imagining even more violence.
And the craziest thing of all is that I hope that's it--that it's my imagination, that I'm going off the deep end; that there isn't more blood on my hands."

I first wanted to read this book because I thought it was a survival story and while it still felt a little less intriguing once I knew that someone was actually "playing" each character which in turn means that the issues and problems that the characters were facing are really just made up to make the game better. 

The one thing that I would have liked to seen more of was romance. The story lacked a good romance story and of course that always makes a book better. I think when romance is added into the book it always makes the book more emotional and makes it easier to connect with the characters. 

I wasn't sure where exactly the story was going to go at first but still found myself completely absorbed in it. Claudia is such an intense character and her fight to discover the truth was so compelling that I found myself cheering her on. There are so many twists in this story and just when you think you have it figured realize that you have no clue. Fans of young adult, dystopian, suspense, sci-fi, and gamers will really enjoy this book. It had just enough action in each chapter to keep you hooked. 

**The quotes from this book have been taken from an Advanced Reading Copy and are subject to change when the final book is printed. Please refer to the final, finished copy for exact quotes!**

**I want to say Thank You to Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to review this book!!**

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