From international bestselling author, Scott Westerfeld, comes Afterworlds, a brand new, thought-provoking, suspenseful thriller you won’t be able to put down!
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.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 25th September 2014
Acquisition: Sent to book store for review
I started reading this book by accident. Don’t judge me too harshly, but when it comes to books that I could probably knock someone out with, I don’t usually start them unless I really really trust the author and even then they completely have to justify writing such a long book. It’s not that I don’t trust Scott Westerfeld but it’s just that I only half loved the Uglies series. But I read the first sentence of Afterworlds and found myself completely hooked.
I came to the book at a time when I felt like I was heading into a bit of a reading slump and I was reading the first sentences of a few different things to see if anything stuck. This one grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and hardly let go for 600 whole freaking pages.
It’s the dual narrative that I think I found particularly impressive. Not only does Westerfeld write Darcy’s story and her journey through the land of edits and redrafts with her debut novel, he also writes Darcy’s novel Afterworlds in the alternating chapters. Somehow he manages to make it seem as if Darcy really has written this novel within the novel, giving her her very own voice within the book.
I had differing feelings about the two different portions of the book. I devoured the New York portions with gusto; the blossoming romance between Darcy and Imogen which was expertly handled and beautifully drawn; Darcy’s writing problems/successes which were forever interesting as a budding writer and, at least in my head, quite accurate. I’ve agonised over a single chapter before, heck I’ve agonised over a single sentence. It made for great reading and was heightened by Darcy’s age and continuous case of impostor syndrome. Everything Darcy did felt logical and it was so easy to find such an affinity with her.
The Afterworlds portion of the book, however, was a completely different reading experience. It was Darcy telling the story here, not Scott Westerfeld. You could literally remove these parts of the book and release it as Afterworlds and it would be exciting and brilliant and different from this book. It’s a testament to his talent as an author that he can do this so effectively. I will admit, I did not look forward to these portions of the book as much as I did the New York portions. The novel within the novel is a paranormal romance which isn’t really my bag, but it was still enjoyable because you knew Darcy was going to talk about it later on or was going to be faced with a dilemma regarding the chapter you just read. It’s not that these portions were bad or weren’t exciting, they were, it’s just that for me, I preferred the New York section.
I think what’s great about the book is that, despite it being a mammoth, I was still left wanting more. I wanted to know about Untitled Patel, I wanted to know what happened with Darcy and Imogen and what happened when Darcy ran out of money and did she go to college and did her book even sell that well and did Standerson blurb her book etc. etc. etc. There were so many questions left hanging that I so wish there would be a sequel to this novel.
In short, this book is simply exquisite, from the first page to the last it is utter perfection and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. The characters are beautifully developed, both in the Afterworlds manuscript portion and the real world New York portion, the dialogue is believable and snappy, and the story is endlessly entertaining both in terms of the romance and how laugh-out-loud funny it is in places. I’m running out of ways to say that this book is completely awesome and will knock you for six. This is a must read for 2014, without a shadow of doubt.