Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Jessica's Review)

Title: Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 599 Pages
Published September 2014

Summary: 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.

Amber had read an ARC copy of Afterworlds a few months back (and you can read her review by clicking here), but I finally got around to picking this up as a published book a few weeks back. Needless to say, I'm thoroughly pleased and Scott Westerfeld has done it again!

As the summary explains, Darcy is a teen author who totally nailed NaNoWriMo (although it's hinted at but not specifically mentioned in the book), and now she sets out to New York to get a place to live and start working on her second novel as an official published author. The chapters in the story alternate, however - every other chapter is a chapter from the novel Darcy wrote, Afterworlds. So in a way, this book was like reading two complete books in one. And it was great! 

I don't know if it was intentional or not (although I'm totally clueless and it probably was), but the character of Standerson definitely reminded me of Scott Westerfeld with his wit and mannerisms and just who he is as an author. Westerfeld did such a great job of writing not only one story for the reader to enjoy, but two - two stories with totally different themes and characters and problems, and he managed to blend it into one awesome book. 

At first, when I realized the chapters in the book alternated between two different novels, I was weary. I'm not a huge fan of too many things going on at once, and I didn't want to wade through 600 pages of a book and then sit there with a huge headache, having no idea what went on. However, that wasn't the case! The story flowed smoothly, and I was able to follow everything without losing track of details, characters, or who belonged in what story. Everything was very neat and precise and easy to follow. I truly flew through these 600 pages like they were nothing, because this book was just too good to put down. I definitely had a touch of "One More Chapter" disease with this one! 

The only thing about this book that kept me from giving it five stars was the character of Darcy. Yes, I know she's the main character and the most important piece, but at times she just seemed so childish to me. She's eighteen years old and she managed to blow her budget on day one, fall in love within a week, and spend an absurd amount of money on a place that would require her to survive on seventeen dollars a day for the next three years. She was a bit whiny and snoopy, and was definitely a chicken when it came to making decisions. Overall, I understand that Westerfeld was trying to paint the image of an unseasoned, new, frightened teen author who was unsure of herself and of her decisions. In a way, I just felt like it was a touch overdone, and towards the end of the book I was beginning to get royally fed up with Darcy.

All in all, Afterworlds was a very interesting read that I'm glad I got around to picking up. The story is an interesting idea that I'm pretty sure has never been explored before (and if it has, then I've certainly never read anything like it), and it offers true insight on the world of writing and publishing and business. Contrary to popular belief, people don't just sit down and write books in a day, send them off to get printed, and then become self-proclaimed millionaires. (Although wouldn't that be so awesome?) Afterworlds was the perfect blend of fantasy and reality, love and loss, pain and gains. I'm thoroughly pleased with Westerfeld's work and I definitely recommend this book to anybody looking for something new and different to pick up!

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