Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Afterworlds Review


Title: Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review Copy: Library
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'm shamefully admitting that I haven't read any of Scott's books until this one. I'm not sure how he's slipped my radar because I feel like a derp for not reading any of his books beforehand. I plan on reading his Uglies series next.

This book is definitely unique as we have 2 stories going in between the pages. But not 2 stories of the same series, or 2 stories from the same author. No, we get to experience Darcy, whose writing the next YA book, Afterworld, along with the story of Afterworld itself. I applaud Scott for the accuracy of Darcy's story was about the actual writing process. Ramen noodles for days! 

I loved getting to know Darcy, not only does she write, edit, rewrite and promote a book, she also discovers herself too. It makes her seem real, like if I was in her shoes, I'd be doing the same thing, maybe with just more coffee. We also see Darcy fall in love, which was a beautiful experience. Not because it was expected, but the fact that it felt real. Relationships aren't all puppies and kittens all the time, there can be jealousy, secrets and denial. There's denial because Darcy falls for Imogen, whose a fellow author of the same publisher. Not everyone whose gay is 100% sure they're gay, and sometimes they don't know their gay until they end up with someone of the same gender, which is what happened here. It all starts with a manuscript in the case of Darcy and Imoegn. But that is all I'm saying on the relationship aspect, the rest you'll have to find out yourself. 

Now, as for Darcy's part of the story, I can understand if people felt it dragged on. There are times where a whole day is only covered in one chapter. But I just think of it as the fact that Scott wanted to give the readers a real taste of what it's actually like writing a story. Everyday on twitter and other social media platforms we see authors spending countless hours working on their masterpieces. Now for once, we truly get a sense of what's its like to be on the flip side. 

Let's talk about the story within this story. Afterworld is an interesting story about getting through past events, but also about death. The story starts out as Lizzie going home from visiting her dad over winter break, as she's waiting at the airport, there's a terrorist attack. The key word is this story are "play dead". These are the words that literally saves her life. Now little did she know that playing dead would also mean she'd also visit the dead, In the midst of the chaos, she discovers that she is a pyschopomp. Which is more commonly known as a death escort.  

The story of Lizzie was an interesting read, Lizzie learns about why her mom the way she is, the fact that there's a ghost of her moms childhood friend living in her house and that she now has a new occupation for eternity. As I was reading this, I tried to judge it as Darcy's words, not Scott's. Which was interesting to do, and came quite naturally. I think this had to do with the fact that we read Dary's story and then Lizzie's. Lizzie grows as a character, but at times has some blips of immaturity, which is natural for any teenager. 

There is a romance in this story, but it's not one that everyone would think would work. Some would say is it's because the boy she falls for is also a pyschopomp and he can relate to her, or some would argue is its because it was him that comforts her after her first time of crossing over. Whatever you think would be the case is most likely right. Darcy focuses on this aspect for a bit of her story in the book as she struggles with what to do with the romance. This was appealing to read because you can see the arguments as to why she could go the different routes possible. 

If you're like me and haven't read any of his books yet, DO SO NOW. Scott is a fantastic author and takes a reader on wonderful journeys between the pages. 

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