Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Aftermath Review: Claudia

I live in a desolate world.
One where it's a daily struggle to live.
Where thirst, hunger, and cannibals are everywhere.

But then I realized something.
None of my actions are my own.
I am being controlled, like a puppet.

There is a gamer who controls me.
But when she's gone, logged off...
That's when I'm able to move and speak freely.

A boy, Declan, found me.
Says he can get me out.
Away from here, from my gamer.

My name is Claudia Virtue.
Hi! Today, I happen to be Claudia from Jen Alexander's book The Aftermath!

Book: The Aftermath
Author: Jen Alexander
Series: Aftermath
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: Nashville, 2039
Genre: YA post-apocalpytic, dystopian
POV: first person, told by Claudia

Reading: first time
Comments: very unique concept. I don't think I'll ever look at video games the same after this!
Rating: 4 stars

Whew. I must say, it feels nice being able to finish a book in a day again. The beauty of having time.

This book definitely has a seriously cool idea. The idea of a characters in role-playing games actually being real people controlled by other gamers? Daaang. This is just a touch spoilery, but think about it: the low class/poor people are forced to be characters that the high class pay to control. It's just...creepy. And it really shows the structure of society, how the high class lives off the lower classes' suffering, because think about it: if you had the choice to either control someone or be controlled, everyone would definitely rather be the one in power, the one controlling.

The horrors of being a character. Claudia, upon receiving a hit to the head, becomes sentient, and starts to realize that she actually can't control her actions or words. Her thoughts are her own, but her motions are not. That is, until her gamer "logs out", in which Claudia is supposed to be left in a suspended, mindless state of rest, until her gamer returns. But because she's aware of this, she no longer is the empty mindless person. Once her gamer logs out, Claudia's up and about, taking action, trying to figure a way out of the Aftermath.

Claudia's determinism to get out while sneaking behind her gamer's back is really awesome. She knows, or at least can guess, the consequences of being discovered, yet still her continues on. She has a clear goal in her mind, and she plans accordingly so that she can reach it, with minimal interference from her gamer. Another thing I love about her is that once she realizes that everyone else, all the other characters, are actually real people being controlled by other people, she wants to free them. She's not selfish; she wants to help the other people, because being controlled by someone else is clearly wrong.

I don't think I'll ever look at a role-playing video game the same again. As a gamer, am I actually forcing my character to move? Are they aware of me? Does my character hate me for controlling their every movement? And what exactly does my character do when I'm not playing? Oh, the philosophical questions!

What do you guys think? Give The Aftermath a read and let me know!

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