Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld -A dual review

Monday, November 17, 2014
Why I chose this book:
I was just chillin, minding my own business, and then a blogger friend says, ‘OMG you’ve never read Scott Westerfeld?! You haven’t even read Afterworlds yet?’ *She shoves book in my face* So I take the book, thinking that the book is more like a brick than anything else. I give it back to her and instead download the audiobook. And then my world turned into death gods and the publishing industry.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: September 23rd, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
B&N || Amazon || Indiebound
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. (Goodreads)
Because this book is a meta-novel, I am splitting it up into two parts or really two reviews:

Darcy’s Story:
For some reason, I actually enjoyed this story more than I did the other story, which is a first for me because I generally pick paranormals or fantasy over contemporary. I found the literary world of publishing and authors utterly fascinating. I mean, of course, I’m kind of already half-way into that world, since I’m a book blogger, but I think Darcy’s world resonates with me because I’m also a writer. I know the feeling of the Muse kicking in and sending your fingers into a frenzy, trying to type thousands of words over the course of a few days, weeks, or months. 

I loved how her books came to her in spurts of inspiration and the joy she took in arranging words and the way she looked at her craft. However, there was one thing that I absolutely did not agree with in the book (concerning writing) that I wasn’t sure if it was said in anger or in truth, but someone told Darcy that she was too young to be published. Like she bloomed too early. Personally, I think everyone starts somewhere, and to say that one person doesn’t have the juice or to get good enough to at least have the possibility of obtaining the juice is misinformed, but I digress.

I also really enjoyed Imogen’s character. She was the epitome of inspiration-writer. She almost reminded me a bit of the old British poets that would get together and always feel better writing with other writers. I liked her character, and I liked the way she approached writing, but I didn’t like her as a person. Don’t get me wrong, she was a well-written, well-developed character, but I didn’t like her for Darcy. I didn’t like their relationship. I almost think it was a bit toxic at times, or maybe it's my rose colored glasses that made me dream of something better for Darcy. 

There was only one major thing that bothered me about Darcy’s story: her budget. God, that stupid, freaking budget. Budget this. Budget that. I was getting really annoyed with it all. Maybe because it was a constant reminder of the fact that she had absolutely no self control in that department, or maybe it reminded me that she was so young. In my opinion, not all teenagers who go off and live on their own just go money-crazy. They’re smarter than that. I would have been completely fine with all her budget issues if there were actually huge consequences for going over her budget all the time, but there weren’t. In the end, it wasn’t really a big deal, and it all worked itself out. It just ended too easily. 

Lizzie’s Story:
I liked the first couple chapters of Lizzie’s story, and then I thought the rest was just okay. I actually didn’t feel like the world was all that intricate, to be honest. I’m not sure if that was because it was a meta-novel or not, but the world just didn’t click for me. 

I wanted there to be more of everything. I wanted more development with Lizzie’s dad and Mindy especially. I just felt like they were there to fill up space, and that irked me. As for the creativity of the Afterworld, I thought it was good, but things got a bit confusing every now and then when Westerfeld would get superfluous with the descriptions. 

Three things really stood out that bothered me: 
1. I wanted there to be a bigger consequence to a certain killing that happened, and there wasn’t, which made for a very anti-climactic moment. 
2. Yamaraj. Just this guy right here. Lizzie and Yamaraj’s romance was so odd to me. I didn’t really get it. And that ending, was just meh. I didn’t feel like it was finished. Granted, in the book, this was supposed to be part of a series, but even for a first book in a series, I felt like there needed to be a bit more development and resolution to do the job. I don’t know if that was the point of this story (to be a little underdeveloped) because Darcy is a debut novelist, but I was expecting just a bit more from all the hype.
3. This kind of deals with both stories: I did not think this book was worth $150,000. I mean a debut of this caliber? I don't see publishing companies spending this much on a debut author with this story.  Publishing companies are solely worried about making money. And that's a lot of money to give a new author who they aren't certain will justify the check. 

Overall Thoughts:
I liked the book. It was good, and the audiobook was EXCELLENT! But will I ever listen to it again or reread it? Probably not. I just felt like there were too many things that were underdeveloped and lacking for me to absolutely fall head over heals. 

I enjoyed about the first 20-30% of the book, and it was headed for a 5 star, but somewhere in the middle I lost interest, and the ending was too underdeveloped for me to rank it up there with my other four or five star reads.

Don’t get me wrong I liked it, just not as much as I thought I would.

I gave this book 3.5 stars on my Goodreads.


  1. Fantastic review, Amanda! I feel very similar to you about this book. I enjoyed Darcy's story a lot more than Lizzie's, which is also rare for me to prefer contemporary over paranormal/fantasy. I thought that the world of Lizzie's story was underdeveloped and that the characters were too, although that did work well in reminding me that it was Darcy's debut novel. Not saying that all debut novels suffer from underdevelopment. Even though I understand that two stories were being told, I also feel as though the book could've been condensed, as I lost interest about half way through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - I'm really glad I found your blog the other day. I love your writing style. :)

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, I was not too fond of the underdevelopment either, especially since Scott Westerfeld seems to be one of the writing gods of the YA lit genre. And the book was so large. I agree it most definitely could be condensed! It seemed to drag a lot especially come the end.
      Yay for new blogger friends! I followed you too! Thanks! :)


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