Book Review : Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

September 4, 2014 Book review 4 ★★★★

 

Have you ever wanted to read a book all about an author writing a book, going to BEA, doing endless edits and the crippling fear of failure at every step?  I know I have!  And this was the book that gave me the sneak peek into that golden world.

Book Review : Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldAfterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon Pulse on 23rd Sept 2014
Genres: Love & Romance, Paranormal, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.  Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds.

With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes.  But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing.  Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

 First Line of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

“The most important email that Darcy Patel ever wrote was three paragraphs long.”

 My Thoughts on Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld:

Let’s start off with a bit of background.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Uglies series.  I didn’t hate it, I thought it was ok and I finished the series which is always a positive as I am a serial series dropper.  But it’s not a series that made any large impression on me.  However as soon as I heard this book was about an author, I wanted it!  I love book talk and book gossip and the idea of an inside look into the industry I love so much.

And that is exactly what I got.  I loved all the little snippets of Darcy’s writing life, her frustrations with her characters, the pressure to deliver an ending that pleased her AND her publisher.  I felt like I was getting a sneaky peek over the fence to see what authors go though.  Now I do have to say, I doubt this is the typical writers experience as Darcy got ALL the lucky breaks that others can only dream of.  So maybe not the typical experience but a fun one to get a glimpse of.

And I thought when I got the book that this was the bit I’d really enjoy.  The other part of the book is the fictional book ‘Afterworlds’ that Darcy is writing about.  I thought this might bore me a bit and I was prepared to skim if necessary.  But to my delight, I was gripped to this part too.

I loved the fictional world with the Hindu Death God, lots of greek mythology and characters I could get invested in.  If I was reviewing this part of the book, my big gripe would be insta-love.  But it’s Darcy’s first book, I’ll allow her make that mistake!  I liked that this book set the tension right from the start and then built up a world very effectively and smoothly for you.  Especially in light of the fact that it only had half a book to do this.

I also loved the language in the book (both books), it captured my imagination time after time and I could envisage both worlds easily.  Great metaphors, witty concepts and some beautiful descriptions; I was in highlighter heaven!  I don’t remember appreciating the language in Uglies as much as I did in this one but here it was a huge positive.  The dialogue was just so much fun too, it was just all so book orientated that it felt like chats with book blogger friends at times.

I preferred the relationship in Darcy’s real world.  I don’t want to say what it is as that is a bit spoilery but I love that it wasn’t a big deal, it was just part of who Darcy was.  Along with her first book deal, she also gets her first real kiss and her first real relationship.  She makes mistakes and messes everything up from time to time but that only made me appreciate how young she was and how she was just trying to find her feet in a world that was alien to her.  And I loved when she mingled with the other authors at YA Drinks Night, I wanted to be in the bar eavesdropping on every word they said.

“The night went on like this, a mix of serious talk, utter bullshit, self-promotion, and slumber-party giddiness.”

Overall a huge thumbs up!  A book within a book and a book all about writing a book; I loved it!

 

Rating Report
Characters
four-stars
Setting
four-half-stars
Pace
four-stars
Did I feel it?
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

 

Who should read Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld?

I’d recommend this book to you if you like the idea of a New Adult book where college isn’t the next step.  In addition I’m recommending to fans of contemporary YA who also read Fantasy books; this book is a great mixture of both.  And of course also recommended if you like your books full to the brim with book talk.  I’m not sure if this book has crossover appeal to fans of Scott’s previous books as this one is very different.  But this one is my personal favourite of his.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

 

four-stars

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4 Responses to “Book Review : Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld”

    • trish

      I really did. As an aspiring author, I’d love to hear your take on it. I do feel you might find it a bit annoying as her publishing break came so easily. Still a fun look at the publishing world.

    • trish

      Woop, Woop! It will be interesting to hear how the audio experience is for the book within the book. I’m wondering will it be confusing but I don’t think it will as the stories are so different. Looking forward to your thoughts on it Kim.

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