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 received an advanced copy through Netgalley for review. Afterworlds is released on September 23rd.
Find the book here on Goodreads.
I’ll admit, it feels a little weird to review a book about publishing a book. Kind of like a self fulfilling prophecy, you know? Anyway. I’ve wanted to read Scott Westerfeld for a while now and when I read the synopsis for Afterworlds, I knew I had to read it. Spilt story – one telling of a girl publishing her first novel and the other telling a tale of psychopomps (definitely one of my favourite words) and Death Gods? Sold.
I got into writing back in the early days of high school through the encouragement of my best mate – and to this day, we both uphold the dream of someday publishing a novel. Through fanfiction, NANOWRIMO and now our own original fiction, it’s not hard to see why Darcy’s story appealed to me. The characters in Darcy’s life were fun and quirky (in the least obnoxious way) and they seemed quite real. There were times when I got real Rainbow Rowell vibes from a scene or turn of phrase, which, of course, was lovely. It was also great to see what I think is a very real depiction of having a book published, complete with interaction with other authors and their opinions on not just your new novel, but also on their own work.
And then there’s Lizzie’s story. That first chapter. It was awful, there were parts of that scene where I wanted to put the book down and never pick it up again. It was, quite frankly, chilling. And I have never before used the word and meant it, but I do now. And the way the words of the emergency operator keep coming back throughout the novel… I’m creeping myself out just remembering it. So there’s that. The book has one of the strongest openings I have read in a very long time. I had a few small issues with the Lizzie storyline, but I loved the mechanisms, like the River, and the whole ‘power in names’ thing. I also quite liked the ending. I was worried, as Darcy was deliberating so much, but it was great.
I usually avoid split story lines but I really enjoyed reading Afterworlds. Every chapter ended just when it was getting good and kept me turning pages way after I had intended on putting the book away.