(clicking on the cover will take you to Goodreads!)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published on: September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Fantasy & Contemporary Fiction (YA)
Part of a series?: No
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won't be able to put down.
Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she's taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.
Woven into Darcy's personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved and terrifying stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love - until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
After the Uglies trilogy, I wasn't sure about reading Afterworlds. The Uglies trilogy has had some mixed reviews and I wasn't feeling very positive about the entire trilogy (or series?) either. But since BEA, Afterworlds has gotten a handful of glowing praise and there's been a bit of buzz about it. Plus, the paperback edition of Afterworlds is huge. And wonderful. And I just had to get it because the premise sounded good. Teen author publishing her novel? I'm in.
This was my reaction after turning the last page of Afterworlds:
I was a tad disappointed.
What's so funny about Afterworlds is that just like Uglies, there was a lot of potential which fizzled out later. The beginning makes you think that this book is going to be one of a kind, a book that you will give five stars to, without a doubt. A book that will hold your attention until the very end. When you reach the middle though, the story doesn't seem to be so brilliant after all. You start to wonder if the beginning of the book was just a ruse. Hold on...where did all that amazingness that made my insides do a happy dance go to?
Like I said, the beginning of the book was excellent. It was a bit slow, but everything was perfect. I had a hunger to explore this new world that Darcy had created and was also given a chance to learn more about the world of authors...or whatever you want to call it. What makes Afterworlds more enjoyable is the alternating storylines or POVs. There are two different storylines in Afterworlds; one centers around Darcy, and the other, Lizzie. Darcy is the teen author who managed to write a draft of Afterworlds in one month (I know - sounds like NaNoWriMo, right?), and Lizzie is the protag living inside the world that Darcy created. We get to see those two worlds in different chapters, which is great. The insider tips about writing and publishing plus Darcy's bookish perks bumped this book up the relatable factor. It was both new and familiar territory, and for that Afterworlds will still be a well-loved book even for its meh ending. I also liked how it was made evident that there were two alternating storylines by marking Lizzie's POV -the character that Darcy created- with a black border on top.
The major flaw about Afterworlds was that the story left out a lot of exposition, big time. I wanted facts. A bit explanation as to what was going on in Lizzie's bizarre world. Lizzie's story plunged on without the much-needed elaboration and as a result, there were a lot of things that I struggled to understand. The story felt like disorganized, like the author had a lot of good ideas but didn't properly arrange them into the plot. The irony in all this? Darcy was warned that her book had too much exposition, and I think the point of Afterworlds, and all the alternating chapters, was to give us a feel of Darcy as a debut author. Her story isn't the best out there. It's terribly flawed but later, Darcy was told about the many errors in her writing. She also starts to realize that being an author isn't easy and encounters several writing issues. I think that a bit of Darcy was reflected in Lizzie's character as well. Both of them are young to the world that they are suddenly exposed to and they slowly grow from their mistakes.
All in all, Afterworlds wasn't too bad. Personally, I thought that there were too many facts left unexplained and Lizzie's story felt like a mess, but I guess it really depends on how you view the alternating stories. It truly was fun to see the world of writing and publishing through Darcy's POV. The first few chapters stirred something in me that had gone into hibernation for some time -the passion to write. After all, isn't Afterworlds dedicated to us readers?
"To all you wordsmiths, you scribblers, you Wrimos in your vast numbers, for making writing a part of your reading."
Any YA book lover or aspiring author will find this book relatable. There's two storylines told in alternating chapters so Afterworlds has that extra something to look forward to!
Kat is a voracious reader who enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good book. Fantasy is definitely her cup of tea. She often complains about never having enough time to read and constantly struggles with keeping her TBR pile a considerably decent size. Read more or keep up with her bookish whims on Goodreads or bloglovin.
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