Afterworlds (B&N Exclusive Edition)

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Overview

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. This edition includes an exclusive deleted chapter!
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 ...
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Overview

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. This edition includes an exclusive deleted chapter!
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.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2014

Teenaged Darcy Patel writes a paranormal romance novel in a 30-day haze of inspired speed-writing, then rapidly finds an agent and a publisher. The story of her entrance into the New York publishing world—rewrites, overpriced apartments, first love, figuring out how to write the elusive sequel, hanging out with a thinly veiled fictional version of John Green—is told in alternating chapters with her novel, which opens with a crackerjack scene of terrorism and semi-death at an airport, and jumps between the real world and an eerie Afterworld from there. The novel bursts with cleverness and a love of writing (and reading) that will send you straight back to the languishing manuscript draft on your own laptop. See all of the Best Teen Books of 2014.

The New York Times Book Review - Stephanie Zacharek
Afterworlds is a wonderful book for any young person with an interest in growing up to be a writer. Its tone is somewhere between "Writing is harder work than you think" and "Shoot for the stars!" And there's a sly joke embedded in its dovetailing stories: The chances of getting a huge advance for a Y.A. novel are slim. Still, they're much greater than the likelihood of meeting a sexy teenage death god after nearly being killed by terrorists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781481438513
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 9/23/2014
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 16,092
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Midnighters trilogy, The Last Days, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and the sequel to Peeps. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for

    Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

    HOLY WOW! The first two chapters of this book are amazing. Afterworlds is a legit page-turner. The dual storyline concept of a debut author completing their first novel (which you read alongside) could have gone horribly wrong, but Scott Westerfeld nailed it. I LOVED the juxtaposition of Darcy’s (the author) journey alongside Lizzie’s. It was incredibly clever to watch the editing process affect the outcome and style of the Afterworlds story throughout.
    I was also majorly impressed with Westerfeld’s ability to write the young female voice so honestly and without the cliched traps many older authors fall into. These were human beings living their lives. It didn’t matter what their gender, race, or sexuality was. Very nicely handled.

    I’m not sure if I enjoyed this book more because I’ve been working with authors for the past year… but I found the process thrilling to experience on the page. I feel like I was totally in the know about the life of a writer. Some really good *wink wink nudge nudge* Would be interested to know how fellow writers feel about this piece…

    One of my favorite reads of 2014. Thanks for the opportunity to read/review the ARC, Simon Pulse!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BEST BOOK EVER;)

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2014

    Afterworlds is the most recent book from Scott Westerfeld, autho

    Afterworlds is the most recent book from Scott Westerfeld, author of the popular Uglies trilogy.

    Darcy Patel was a normal high school senior until she decided to write a novel in thirty days. Now she has an agent and is signed with one of the top publishing companies for her novel Afterworlds and its to-be-written sequel. Darcy decides that this is her chance to live her dream life and, after some debate with her parents, postpones college to move to New York City and become a full time writer.

    Darcy's story follows her as she begins her life in New York City and navigates the world of writing and publishing. It is filled with lovely insights into how novels adapt from the first draft to the final as well as the struggles and fears that authors have. Darcy is faced with the challenge of having to find a new ending for Afterworlds when her editor decides it isn't happy enough, which causes Darcy to doubt if she's truly cut out for writing novels. Meanwhile, the deadline for her untitled sequal is mere months away and she hasn't even begun to think of what it might be about. But as Darcy works to discover the ending her book was meant to have, she also begins to question her life and decisions, which she explores with the help of her girlfriend and fellow author Imogene. This leads to conflict between the two when Imogene begins to have problems of her own with her novel Pyromancer.

    Darcy's story is alternated with that of the novel she is writing, Afterworlds. Afterworlds follows Lizzie after she nearly becomes a victim in a terrorist attack and finds that she has the power to cross over into the "afterworld", the space between life and death, making her a psychopomp. It is there that she meets and falls in love with Yamaraj, the lord of death. With his guidance and the assistance of a more sinister psychopomp, Lizzie learns to navigate the afterworld and use her powers to help ghosts cross over after death. She has a more sinister plan of her own, however, as she decides to use her new found powers to right wrongs in the real world that others cannot help her with.

    Although the novel is a chunky 600 pages, it flies by as you feel like you are reading two separate stories. By weaving chapters of Afterworlds with Darcy's life, Westerfeld allows you valuable insight into why each character acts the way they do and gives you a better understanding of their thoughts. While Darcy's chapters are very informative and fun, Lizzie's bring plenty of drama and excitement that creates a nice balance in the book. I had a few problems at first though, because I assumed you were reading the first draft of Afterworlds when you are actually reading Darcy's final book, a distinction that is not necessarily made; this made some references in Darcy's narration to scenes that had been cut or changed in Afterworlds somewhat confusing.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of young adult fiction, especially if you have an interest in how books are published. While some parts seemed a little too fantastical, you still learn a lot and have some great laughs reading tidbits from the various experiences of the authors in the books. It is also a very easy read, so there's no need to feel daunted by the page count.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2015

    Not your regular YA novel

    A great writer takes on the difficult task of telling two stories at once. Its not like anything you've read before. You won't regreat it. Death princes, ramon noodles, and ghosts! Oh my!

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  • Posted January 2, 2015

    This book was horribly disappointing. I've read Westerfeld's oth

    This book was horribly disappointing. I've read Westerfeld's other works and they aren't the best (I'll be honest, I don't get the hype) but they aren't terrible either. I'm very impartial to his writing. However, I can't deny that I hated this book! It's actually a DNF in some ways because I gave up seriously reading after 450 pages. After that, it was just some skimming and figuring out where the story was going.

    I was bored. This is my main problem. I thought this book would be an inception kind of thing where it would be very interesting. It wasn't. Half the book was about Darcy's life as an author and the other half was about Darcy's story, Afterworlds. I hated Afterworlds by Darcy Patel and was somewhat bored with Darcy's life. Darcy's life was interesting because she was on her way to becoming a debut author, but it wasn't what I signed up for. I wanted a mix of realism with supernatural. However, all I actually got was a terrible supernatural story and dry writings about Darcy's life.
    In addition, this book was too long. TOO LONG! I don't really need 600 pages worth of this. So much could've been cut down and that would've kept my interest for a bit longer.

    My main problem with Lizzy's story (Afterworlds by Darcy) is how bad the pacing is. I liked how the beginning started with a bang and it totally cut to the chase. I was intrigued for a bit and then it went downhill from there. There was instalove and so much of it. They kissed at page 31. I read that and knew, I just knew it wasn't going to be good from there. And instead of building towards a climax, this book fell flat. I was so bored and nothing exciting happened. When something did happen, it was emotionless and bland because there was no rising action. It felt very erratic and honestly? Weird.

    And Darcy's story? It wasn't bad. It wasn't really good (not what I wanted) but it wasn't nearly as bad as Lizzie's. However, I found it so hilarious that Darcy got so much praise about how good her book was because I thought it was horrible. So I got a really good laugh out of that.

    I'm going to stop talking now because I've made my points. This book didn't agree with me at all. I was bored out of my mind and the only reason I was still reading was because I wanted it to magically get good in the end. Sadly, that didn't happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    LOVED IT

    This was amazing, one of his best. A MUST READ FOR ALL FANS.

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  • Posted November 12, 2014

    Teenage authors, terrorist attacks, and reimagined Indian religi

    Teenage authors, terrorist attacks, and reimagined Indian religions? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. But in the case of Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds, the joke wasn’t actually too bad. Of course it wasn’t amazing either.

    We start off with Darcy, a recently graduated from high school, almost published author who wants to move to the Big Apple. Her experience is cute, and contemporary, and oh-so-sweet. THEN, we move on to Lizzie. Lizzie’s just survived a terrorist attack at an airport by channeling her inner dog—in other words, she played dead. And now, Lizzie can see dead people. Of course, her entire life is being manipulated by the previously mentioned almost published author. Aww snap!

    The dual point of view was unique and fun. It was weird, in a good way, to go from a realistic story of a teenage girl in NYC, to a teenage girl running around with ghosts on her heels. Sadly, Darcy’s story is much more believable, and that’s not just because Lizzie lives with ghosts and Indian spirits running amok. Instead it’s because Darcy has such real emotions. She’s curious and fretful and reminiscent of every teenager who is out on their own for the first time. Whereas the “afterworld” and its protagonist, and even antagonists, left a lot of character and relationship development to be desired. And I just want to say that I'm in love with the idea of Yamaraj's character, not so much how he was actually written.

    Plus, for a book that sold for $150,000 to a publishing house,—like Darcy’s book Afterworlds (Not the book I’m writing a review on, but the book Darcy actually wrote that’s narrated by Lizzie. I know, the similar titles are confusing aren’t they?)— it better be a danged good book. The pretend Afterworlds just wasn’t $150,000-level good.

    Incidentally, Scott Westerfeld did a marvelous job of showing how unglamorous the publishing industry can sometimes be. I also heard he based a lot of his characters off of his famous author friends. *cough* John Green *cough* The big book Afterworlds (a.k.a. not the one written by Darcy) is a fantastic learning experience when it comes to the writing world. However, I failed to see the oh-my-gosh-I-love-Westerfeld’s-writing appeal. It was good, not squeal-worthy.

    3/5 stars

    *Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Book Review Board of Missouri. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book have officially become one of my new favorites! I love

    This book have officially become one of my new favorites! I loved how it was told in alternating chapters and that we get to learn how the publishers and editors really do influence the authors and their writing. For being a six hundred page book, it was a fast and enjoy able read. The main characters in both stories where very relate able and really brought the story together. I enjoyed taking a look into Darcy's (the author character) world and her story. This could also be considered a coming of age novel. When Darcy leaves her hometown and goes against her parents wishes to move to New York. Overall this was a great book, and I hope there will be a sequel.

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  • Posted October 23, 2014

    Gripping

    Gripping

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  • Posted October 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Two books in one, one contemporary about a writer, one fantasy a

    Two books in one, one contemporary about a writer, one fantasy about a grim reaper

    I really liked Uglies, so when I heard the premise to his new novel I knew I had to read it. I’m not really much of a contemporary girl though, so I only really enjoyed Lizzie’s story. I was tempted (but I behaved myself) to skip over Darcy.

    This was a really hard book to review. It was good, but it could’ve been so much better and it was a bit on the long side at 600 pages. (Not that 600 pages is long, but it sure felt long.) Since this is essentially two books in one I think I’ll have to review them separately.

    Darcy’s Story (the writer)

    The Good: Talk about side characters with personality! I loved that the little sister was the mature one, just like me and my sister! (I’m of course the older immature one.)

    Darcy’s relationships all felt real, not only with her sister and her writer friends, but also her love. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt realistic as she learned for the first time what it’s like to be in a relationship.

    As an aspiring writer I also enjoyed seeing how Darcy went through the publishing process, though the plot was a bit slow for me.

    The Bad: I felt like I wanted to put my fingers in my ears so I wouldn’t hear spoilers for Lizzie’s story! Also hearing about the writing threw me out of Lizzie’s story at times, making me realize that I’m reading. (I hate that) For instance there’s this scene when everything’s really creepy and scary and suddenly the word bungalow is used and I remember where Darcy heard that word and it totally jarred me out of the story.

    Lizzie’s Story (The grim reaper or psychopomp)

    The Good: It was clever to do the book in the book in first person, that way it felt more real.

    Such a great first chapter! There was enough character for me to care, then it went right into the action. I also loved the way the author described the panic of the scene. I had high expectations after this chapter, unfortunately this is the best chapter of the book.

    Not only is the concept interesting, but the world of the Afterworld is awesome. I loved how they used the river to travel and it came out looking like ink. All of the little things were well done, from their powers, being invisible and walking through walls, to the bad guys, and even the way ghosts were held here by memories.

    I wish it was clear whether ghosts are people (like I think they are) or if they are just memories themselves. Darcy even talked about this so obviously the author knew about this problem. That’s one of the weird things about this book, in Darcy’s story we hear about all of the good and the bad in the writing of Lizzie’s story.

    The Bad: Though I like the idea of Lizzie’s love I didn’t feel it. It felt like love at first sight since they don’t know each other very well. Yamaraj is all mysterious, which is okay, but other than him being very handsome and nice, she doesn’t really get to know him. (If she does it’s off screen so to speak)

    There was one part towards the end that I really didn’t like, it was brutal and dark. I know this is a book about death, but I didn’t like the way it was handled. (Sorry for being so vague, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I felt like I should mention this.)

    Overall Darcy’s story has what Lizzie’s lacks, the characters and relationships, but it doesn’t have the cool plot, world, or powers that are found in Lizzie’s story. I think this could’ve been a great book if only the author had tried to write one book and not two.

    I recommend only reading Lizzie’s story or reading it first to avoid spoilers and the whole realizing you’re reading thing.

    Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, (Darcy) Fantasy (Lizzie)

    Point of View: Third (Darcy) First (Lizzie)

    Predictability: 3 out of 5 (Where 1 is George RR Martin (If the characters make a plan or think about the future I know it isn’t going to go that way.) And 5 is Cinder (where I guessed what was going to happen long before it did, but it was still a great book.)

    My Rating: 6/10 Stars

    Notes: Contains a lesbian couple, (girls kiss) and underage drinking

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  • Posted September 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I was initially very intrigued by Westerfeld's book. There was s

    I was initially very intrigued by Westerfeld's book. There was so much hype around it and i have to admit I, in turn, started lusting after it. When I got an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada, I was over the moon. It is intimidating, at 600 pages, but I started it. I loved the concept of the main protagonist being a soon to be debut author publishing a novel that we also get to read. The first chapter opens with the main protagonist, Darcy, dissecting the query letter she wrote and sent that got her the two book deal. The second chapter though, that chapter is one of the best beginnings in a novel I've ever read. It is technically the first chapter in Darcy's novel. It hooked me. I was addicted and I wanted more. I had so much expectations for Darcy's novel but I have to admit, it went downhill from the first chapter. I am not a huge fan of paranormal novels, so it takes a lot for me to praise one. Unfortunately, Lizzie's story (Darcy's protagonist), did not impress. It was a very cliche paranormal novel and by halfway I was just not interested and only read to go back to Darcy's world (it is told in alternating chapters). Darcy, however, was very interesting. Being a blogger and more involved in the whole publishing process, it was so exciting seeing Darcy going through it. I am not an aspiring writer but I feel people who are would get sucked into Darcy's world even more than I did. I have to admit though that Darcy as a character frustrated me. Her sister, Nisha, calculated a budget for her to stay within based on the advance she received from the publishing company, however from the get go, as soon as Darcy moved to New York, she completely ignored the budget. I was wincing every time she overspent, bought a plane ticket, or forgot something important. Girl don't be so careless and irresponsible! I am more of a Nisha so that's why that really frustrated me. One thing I wished for is if Westerfeld made Darcy write a mystery thriller instead of a paranormal one. There is a bit of a mystery in the paranormal and I can honestly say that was the only thing that kept me going. A thriller would have suited that book SO WELL. I even mentioned it to the person I was buddy reading Afterworlds with and she completely agreed. It would have definitely alleviated the book in my eyes. Afterworlds wasn't bad, it had its good and bad moments. I feel the infusion of the publishing process will definitely capture the eyes of many readers. 

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  • Posted September 28, 2014

    I read this book this summer, around July 4th or so. It was real

    I read this book this summer, around July 4th or so. It was really good. I read the book in around one to two days. In my copy of the book there was a few grammar mistakes buts that what you get with the advance readers copy. I think if you liked this book you would enjoy "Trail by Fire" by  Josephine Angelini. It also came out recently.

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  • Posted September 24, 2014

    I once started Uglies in my native language, but since I¿m not r

    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.

    The real world worked differently than stories. In a novel you always knew the moment when something Happened, when someone Changed. But real life was full of gradual, piecemeal, continuous transformations. It was full of accidents and undefinables, and things that just happened on their own. 

    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

    *An arc was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    While I generally love Scott Westerfeld¿s novels, this one fell

    While I generally love Scott Westerfeld’s novels, this one fell just a bit flat for me. The novel itself is extremely long, and after the first 200 pages, I found that both storylines began to drag a bit, which is unfortunate since the novel started out with much intrigue. Unfortunately, I ended up not caring much for either protagonists, and I think a lot of my enjoyment of the story diminished as I got to know them more and more.

    Darcy is somewhat of a boring person. Unsure of herself within the world of authors, she stumbles along and overspends on her writing advance time and time again, wrapped in the throes of what, to me, seemed like an instant lesbian relationship meant to shock readers more than drive the plot. The relationship seems to fabricate out of thin air, and while Darcy definitely learns the ropes of authorhood from girlfriend Imogen, this portion of the story felt forced to me. And while I do enjoy novels that portray the world of authors, Afterworlds is the third novel I’ve read over the past month that deals with this topic, and by this time, it sort of felt old hat. Having read and loved both The Write Stuff by Tiffany King and Neurotica by Eliza Gordon prior to Afterworlds, I found that Darcy’s story just didn’t bring anything new to the table for me, aside from a protagonist who’s story was juxtaposed with her novel--awesome in theory, less so in execution.

    As Afterworlds tells two different stories, one of the real world in which Darcy resides, and one of the paranormal world in which Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s debut novel, resides, I actually found myself more drawn to Lizzie’s story. Westerfeld alternates between the two, and I found myself, in the beginning, really wanting more and more of Lizzie’s story, but again, as the novel progressed, I found myself liking Lizzie less and less, and as it turns out, we don’t get the full story of Lizzie and her newfound powers—instead, it’s more of a shell. And I soon found myself losing interest in Lizzie and her world as well.

    Honestly, I feel as if the novel could be divided up into two shorter novels as the worlds don’t really intersect in the book, aside from the fact that Darcy is the author of Lizzie’s story, and that the publisher wants massive rewrites to the story. I really would love a fully developed novel surrounding Lizzie and her world, but I doubt we’re actually going to get it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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