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Posted September 23, 2014
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!
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Posted August 4, 2014
BEST BOOK EVER;)
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Posted October 23, 2014
Posted October 1, 2014
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
Posted September 28, 2014
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2014
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2014
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.
Posted September 23, 2014
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.
Posted October 8, 2014
No text was provided for this review.