Friday, January 23, 2015

[Review] Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield 

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: N/A 
Release Date: September 2014

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

Before I start, I just want to say I never read a Scott Westerfield book before this. But I have heard all the great, amazing reviews from his Uglies series. I was interested in getting this book when I saw it at BookCon last year, and purchased it just recently. With all the hype and expectation, I unfortunately leave more disappointed than I thought.

The story is told in alternating chapters of protagonist Darcy Patel and the main character of the book she wrote, Lizzie. With Darcy's chapters, everything seems to fall into place for her in the beginning. She gets an apartment Day 1 of searching, she hooks up and gets together with a fellow author, whose real name she doesn't even know, a few weeks into her life in New York City, and above all, she just immediately lands an six-digit contract for a book she wrote for NaNoWriMo. And to top it all off, she's shy of 18. While prodigies in the world of novels can happen, at the rate Darcy is going, she's living the high life, without much of the hard work it takes to reach said life. However, getting insight to the world of publishing is a plus. Tours, sister debuts, signings - you see the similarities to being a rockstar, no? 

For Lizzie, I thought I was hooked when I read the first few chapters, because the concept of psychopomps (aka Grim Reapers) is an new and unfamiliar one. But as exciting as it may seem, I grew tired of hearing of Yamaraj's hotness or how shocking and tingly his kisses were. I heard it almost every chapter; if I wasn't already hearing about Darcy and Imogen's kissing, I was reading about Yama's and Lizzie's. 

If there wasn't such a focus on kissing and romance, there could have been an expansion of the plot/characters. Darcy even makes a mention of how dully her characters are described in the end - there is no true physical description of any of the side characters and even Lizzie herself. Yamaraj seemed to have it all, physical attributes and depth. Several characters, such as Agent Reyes, her dad (name unknown), and Jamie could have been explored. The world of the psychopomps could have been explored. Scenes at some points were vague and hard to imagine, especially those with Mr. Hamlyn. Although Untitled Patel is in the works, would there be a sequel, as Darcy's story is basically done? 

Lizzie and Darcy switched my interest halfway through the book. Lizzie was interesting for the first half and got more and more lovesick with Yamaraj; Darcy finally captivated my interest with her conflict/somewhat breakup with Imogen. Finally, we see the difficulties of pretending to be an adult in the big city and her development as she tries to cope. 

Alternating chapters cut into my train of thought; should they have been separated entirely, as Meg Cabot did when she wrote Mia Thermopolis's book Ransom My Heart? I am divided on the issue as Darcy makes frequent references to her novel and these references either show up before or after her chapter in her Afterworld's book. Perhaps they should have been divided into a part 1/part 2. 

Was this meant to be a parody, portraying how young authors start off, with books that aren't so great and need development? Afterworlds started off strong, and in the end, Darcy Patel's story finished stronger. But another book, maybe one separate from her author Darcy Patel, would be great to explain and further the world of death. 

No comments:

Post a Comment