Friday, 12 September 2014

Review: Afterworlds

Publication Date: September 25th 2014
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster UK Children's                                                  ~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

 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

Afterworlds is my first Scott Westerfeld and I have to say, I wasn't disappointed in what I was promised in writing style. It's very easy to get into, and though I did have a problem with one half of the story, it kept me compelled to read it. Now, the behind-the-scenes look at publishing in YA was fun, if not a little terrifying to every person out there who are inspiring writers- especially the younger market.

When you have two stories in one, you usually have a sliding doors effect, however with Afterworlds,  the two stories are separate, the first being Darcy's road to publishing and her introduction to the YA society, and finding herself as a person and writer. The latter being the book Darcy has written, Afterworlds. While the whole book is called Afterworlds, so is the book Darcy's written, and the place it's named after, so we have a writer writing about a writer writing a book and a writer writing about a writer writing a book and writing that book. My brain is now dead.
That makes it sound confusing, but honestly, it wasn't. While you do have to different stories going on, you have one contemporary and the other paranormal so it's easy to differentiate from, then there's also the way it's written, Darcy's story is written in third person, and Darcy's book is written in first person.
Anyone reading it is going to favour one side over the other, and for me, I'm favouring Darcy's road to publishing more than Afterworlds, it's what kept me reading, from the YA Night drinks, to the diverse romance, book tour, to copy edits and rewrites and just the general conversation between authors. It's like being a fly on the wall and I loved that about it.
The Afterworlds part of the story, however, just didn't do it for me. I don't know if it's meant to represent what the YA market is right now, or it's adapted to what's popular right now, because it was one of those that you see around a lot, that takes a myth/mythology/paranormal entity that tries to put a unique spin on it but are really so six-degree's apart from each other that it doesn't resemble the origins all that much. And as it is said frequently, using something  and adapting it for YA hotness. I also had a problem with the romance in there too, it was faster than insta-love and I didn't feel it, then there's Lizzie herself, while I can and do admire her for some of the things and felt strong at times...especially with what she went through, but  it felt like you got nothing from her the other times. I didn't feel the intensity or the shock, or her dealing with it after. As soon as the terrorist attack happened and she willed herself into the Afterworld and met Yama, it just became about how she felt about him more than what she just went through and was still going through.
Afterworld's was a great behind the scenes look at publishing, and featured a familiar major event,  the Afterworlds part wasn't anything original for me, but still an enjoyable part of the overall story, and had some great one-liner gems.
It's hard to rate this one, so I'm rating it differently.
Darcy's side of Afterworlds: 4
Darcy's Afterworlds : 3.5
Rating: 4/5