Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: September 23rd, 2014
Read: September 3rd to 21st, 2014
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Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*
Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…
Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.
I once started Uglies in my native language, but since I’m not really into translated fiction, I put it down, returned the copy to my local library and never once gave it a second glance. Not going to change that, but I’ll definitely check out Westerfeld’s newest releases in the upcoming years and here are the reasons why.
I didn’t know much about Afterworlds, but had seen a ton of arcs on photos from BEA. I didn’t even expect to get approved for this, to be honest, but so very glad I did. (Thank you, Simon Pulse!) If you’d like to know the unspoilery version of what goes down in this book then all you need to know is that Afterworlds is a diverse YA book that tells the story in alternating POVs of two completely different, yet very similar women, and their growth into people they didn't necessarily expect to become.
Darcy is a high school graduate who moves away from home to pursue her career in writing and her story is quite inspirational. She goes through great character growth and I think that while some people may think her story is a tad more boring than Elizabeth’s, the main character in Darcy’s novel Afterworlds, I think that aspiring writers could definitely benefit from Darcy’s story. Her doubts, right and wrong decisions, growth and lessons learned? I’m not an aspiring writer myself, but if I were, I bet my worries would be something very similar to Darcy’s.
As for Lizzie’s story, since I wasn’t aware what this novel was actually about, I was really shocked about what went down in the opening chapters in Lizzie’s POV, but was immediately hooked! Westerfeld creates a haunting and horrifying atmosphere for Lizzie’s story, but the more her story unravels, the more it lost its edge in my opinion. Most of the time Lizzie was an awesome narrator to follow and root for, but as the end of her story nears, she starts making emotional decisions which you’ll definitely want to yell “No! Don’t do it. Come on, Lizzie! Could you please think with your head right now?” at. You understand her need to do something about the whole situation and help the people she cares about. That doesn’t make you any less frustrated with her in the final parts of the book though.
There’s a romantic plot in both stories and while I enjoyed them, I felt as though there was too much emphasis on both of those romances. No love triangles in either stories. The ending of Darcy’s novel leaves you wanting more and I definitely wondered what happens next for Lizzie and her friends. The world building for Lizzie’s novel, while interesting, felt a tad lackluster. I wanted even more of this unique take on ghosts, reapers and Indian mythology. Too bad it’s a standalone and we don’t get any development on that part. There is a companion novel in the making though and you can read about it here.
As a whole, I loved the idea of this book, what it represented and I mostly enjoyed all the characters and their individual journeys. I wish the romances were a little more on the background, but they were still enjoyable. Same goes for world-building, only in this case, I wish there would have been a little more of it in Lizzie’s paranormal world. Even though I guessed most of the plot twists, I was still surprised by some and overall it made an enjoyable guessing game. I definitely recommend this if you want to read more diverse books and especially if you’re an aspiring writer.
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
Meet the author
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Thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing an arc. My thoughts are my own
and in no way did the review copy affect my opinion on the book.
<33 this looks like so much fun, thank you, Ella!Delete
Can't wait to get into this book, it sounds freaking amazing! I think it's a long people and kind of confusing which turns some people off, but I love books like this. Like you, I never really read the Uglies series either even though I own it. And Indian mythology, woah, that's more than I thought in this book! Great review Siiri!ReplyDelete
It's realllllly long, but enjoyable. Don't expect too much of this mythology though. It's loosely based on some of it and I wished there was more. It has a sort-of-mystery plot which, knowing you, I think you'd enjoy :)Delete
Diverse books? YES PLEASE. I actually thought Darcy was a guy and Lizzie was a girl *sobs quietly* but this still sounds really original. Looks like the romance should have been more balanced out!ReplyDelete
Lovely review, Siiri <33
I can imagine reading translated work would be very different! I've heard very good things about this book, it certainly is an interesting concept. Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
Def sounds like a diverse and unique kind of readReplyDelete
I have to admit to being a little intimidated by the sheer size of this book Siiri! I was lucky enough to snag a copy at BEA and I definitely am excited to try it because I think the premise and format is so unique, but the thickness of it is a touch daunting. Glad that despite the romances being a bit too prominent for you, you enjoyed this one overall!ReplyDelete
I like that this is diverse, but too much emphasis on romance and a lackluster world building? I think I'm going to have to skip this one especially because the book is so big. Maybe, I'll pick it up one of these days in the future, but definitely not anytime soon.ReplyDelete
Lovely review, gorgeous! :)
Gotta say, this one never caught my eye until I saw that awesome trailer all those ya authors did for it. You should check it out if you haven't :)ReplyDelete
I had nooo idea this was about writers until I read a few reviews and now I seriously want to read it! I wasn't a fan of Uglies, though, which is kind of what made me walk in a wide circle around Afterworlds. BUT I SHOULD GIVE IT A CHANCE. I should. It's huge though, I mean, it could probably successfully be a door stopper.ReplyDelete
This story within a story sounds very intriguing, Siiri! I've never heard of this book and I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it. I do think I'd be annoyed with Lizzie making foolish choices, though. Sometimes it's so frustratingly unbelievable! Wonderful review as usual! :)ReplyDelete
I didn't feel Westerfield's Uglies series either Siiri, I remember reading the first few pages and thinking this isn't for me. But this book does sound really original, I don't know where I've been the past few months either, may be living under a rock, as I hadn't heard of this book before, but I think this could be something that I could like. Lovely review as always. Btw do you have a new blog design? (I've been away for far too long!!) It's so pretty!!! :)ReplyDelete
Ohhhh I saw this ages ago but I never thought to read it because, well, I don't know. I JUST DIDN'T OKAY, STOP PRESSURING ME!!! Hehe.ReplyDelete
This kind of sounds like the dreams I used to have when I was in secondary school. Clearly Scott plagiarised my mind. RUDE.
You definitely enjoyed this one a hell of a lot more than I did Siiri. While I loved the diversity in the book and the idea of the alternating stories I wasn't interested in Lizzie's story after her first chapter (too much romance that was by all means instalove) and while Darcy's YA author story was interesting (after the first few boring chapters) I was not completely sold on it either by the end. SO MANY RECKLESS CHOICES! *sigh* this book definitely for my blood pressure up and caused me a lot of anger so it definitely wasn't for me but I'm happy to hear that for the most part it was an enjoyable read for you. I wouldn't wish my reading experience in anyone.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if I'd enjoy the alternating povs of characters in different worlds, I feel like I'd get mixed up with everything going on, but the story does sounds quite intriguing. Wonderful review, Siiri :)ReplyDelete
I've never read a book by Westerfeld, despite the many glowing reviews his books have received, but I'm not sure what to think about this one to be completely honest Siiri. One of my main pet peeves in YA is when the romance overtakes the plot, and you mentioned how that happens here, so I'm not sure how that would go over with me. I do like the sound of the characters though! :D Thanks for sharing Siiri, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3ReplyDelete
~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
LOL We did the same thing with Uglies! I started the translated version first but then I wasn't so interested in it and switched to the English one and it was so much better. So you should try that as I see that you, like me, enjoyed the writing here. However I have seen this one around but honestly I had no idea it this diverse. I love the whole idea and both main characters seem so interesting and somehow I feel like I'll connect with Darcy! I'm not that happy about the romance though, but well it still seems worth reading. Amazing review, girl :)ReplyDelete
I didn't know about this one I confess but I'm really happy to see you had a wonderful time with it. It sounds realy well done and I'm quite curious to discover the characters now. Great review!ReplyDelete
I've only ever read one book that goes from the pov of two females and that was Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. Since then, I guess this is the first time I'm coming across a book with alternating female povs. It does sound really good! I wish you'd liked it more, but oh well... Really good review, Siiri!ReplyDelete
Sarika @ The Readdicts