Afterworlds Review

Afterworlds ReviewAfterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon Pulse on September 23, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Relationships, YA
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours

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.

Midnight Thoughts

~ I failed to get this book at BEA, but was lucky enough to sign up for the tour.  Despite the fact that the only book I’ve read by Westerfeld, Levithan, wasn’t a winner for me, the concept behind Afterworlds intrigued me.

~ I’m not a super fast reader, but I have a lot of time to read during the day, still I was sweating the one week to read limit on tour books because this baby weighs in at 600+ pages.  However, I flew through this book like I had downed a bunch of Red Bull.  Because the book alternates between author Darcy and book heroine Lizzie, I was constantly wondering what would happen next for both of them.

~ If I had to choose between Darcy’s story and Lizzie’s story… I’d have to go with Darcy.  I think most readers, especially fans of paranormal, will dig Lizzie’s story more, it was Darcy and her everyday struggle as she took her first steps in adulthood- from working on her novel, to finding her own apartment and learning to budget (or blow said budget), to falling in love and having to deal with the realities of the everyday aspects of real relationships.

~ Although, I have to say wow to Lizzie’s first chapter.  The terror attack that she lives through will probably haunt this midnight book girl for years to come.  Of course, Lizzie’s reaction to the event is exactly how I plan on surviving if I’m ever in a similar situation, but to be honest, I’ve been rehearsing my possum skills since reading Cold Fire by Dean Koontz when I was in junior high.

~ Back in Darcy’s world- I loved the behind the scenes look of publishing a YA book.  The re-writes, the public events, but most especially it was cool to see Darcy attend BEA, especially since I had just returned from the conference.  My only complaint is that Darcy has trouble carrying all the books she’s picking up, when we all know that usually you can also pick up tote bags galore. 😉

~ I liked the ease with which Darcy falls in love and her friends and family’s reaction to that.  I think her career plans were more of an issue for them than who she was kissing.  Her family, especially her sister and aunt, are pretty freaking awesome.  I liked that Darcy and Imogen had different experiences and expectations, it just rang true and added a bit of tension to their relationship.

~ Because Darcy hangs out with other writer friends, and dates a writer, we get glimpses of other books that I now want to read.  Imogen’s Pyromancy is definitely a book I want to read, Kelptomancy is one I want to read even more.  It reminded me of when I read Misery by Stephen King and was sad to learn that there weren’t any actual books featuring the character of Misery.

~ As Darcy is working on Afterworlds, it changes Lizzie’s story.  I was genuinely concerned that Darcy wouldn’t find the right ending for the first book.  Not all writers have everything planned out, and it was nice to see that Darcy had several endings to her book before picking the one that rang true for her characters.

~ Even though I liked Darcy’s real life drama a bit more, I was hooked in Lizzie’s afterworld adventures- I loved her storyline with the serial killer and the creepy old man.  The only thing that fell a bit flat for me was her romance.  I was more interested in how she was going to overcome her troubles than if she and Yama would have a happy ending.

~ I have no idea if there’s a sequel (there is, after all, Untitled Patel to write!), but if there is, then you can bet I’ll read it!  Although, I’m very happy with how this book ended.  I know the sheer size of the book may seem daunting to some of you, but I promise that it won’t feel like it’s that big once you start.  It’s a page turner!

~ If you only remember one thing about Afterworlds, I hope that it’s Sagan’s Angelina Jolie paradox theory.  It really does make you think.  😉

Timeless Characters:

Darcy- about to graduate high school and publish her first book (that she wrote during NaNoWriMo!).

Lizzie- the heroine of Darcy’s book, forever changed by a terrorist attack she survived with the help of a death god.

Yamaraj- Lizzie’s death god hero and rememberer of the dead, like Lizzie, he’s a psychopomp.

Yami- Yama’s little ghost sister.

Nisha- Darcy’s amazing and awesome little sister- remind me to get her to make me a budget too!

Imogen Gray- up and coming author, she becomes Darcy’s friend, mentor and more.

Moxie- Darcy’s agent. She has a pet parrot named Sodapop and the best closet and bathroom in New York.

Max- Moxie’s assistant.

Carla and Sagan- Darcy’s friends from back home in Philly.

Nan- Darcy’s editor.

Kiralee- a favorite author and new acquaintance of Darcy’s.

Mindy- the ghost of Lizzie’s mom’s murdered childhood friend.

Agent Elian Reyes- FBI guy who watches over Lizzie.  I adored him. Honestly, I would have been okay with him as the male romantic lead… only if Lizzie had been a bit older.

Aunt Lalana- Darcy’s beyond cool aunt.

Jamie- Lizzie’s best friend, even if she makes the wrong assumption about the man in Lizzie’s life.

Midnight Moment:

There were many, many moments.  I most loved Darcy’s former (illegal) dance studio apartment.  I would have blown my budget for it too.  I also was majorly creeped out by Lizzie’s visit to Mindy’s killer’s home.

Stop the Clock:

Afterworlds was amazing.  I loved the concept and thought Westerfeld pulled it off- not an easy feat.  I cared about both Darcy and Lizzie’s characters, and I loved the minor characters, the books and authors Westerfeld dreamt up.  I’ve read a lot of great books this month already, but this one is going to stand out this year.  So good!

Afterworlds gets a Midnight Book rating of:




  1. says

    “Sagan’s Angelina Jolie paradox theory”


    I’m on the fence about this one…some reviews on GR are discouraging me, but on the other hand, yours really made me feel like I have to read it……

    • says

      It depends on if you’d find the author side of publishing to be interesting. If you have no real interest in the day to day struggle of working on a to be published novel, then probably just Lizzie’s story will appeal to you, which means half the book will bore you. I loved both stories, and it was especially meaningful since I just came back from a trip to New York, which is where Darcy’s story took place.

    • says

      I could have gotten a copy, but oh, that line was so long. And it worked out, so I don’t regret leaving. I think we were all tuckered out for the day. 😉

    • says

      Steph, I promise you it goes by quickly! And I think you’ll enjoy Darcy’s journey to publication. It’s a very cool insider’s look into the world of YA authors.

  2. says

    Wow, this sounds amazing. I haven’t read anything by Westerfeld, though I really do want too. I hear he has some great work. I seriously want to read this though. I love that he makes you care about BOTH of the girls. Ah, good thing September isn’t too far away.
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    • says

      I still need to read the Uglies series, but I’m so glad I read this book! After Levithan, I just didn’t know if he was the author for me, but it pays to take a chance sometimes. I really loved the dual stories, because what was happening to Darcy in the “real world” shaped the edits she was making on her book (Lizzie’s world).

  3. says

    Confession time…..i have Scott’s last series but never read it….Bad book blogger am I….anyways I was intriqued by the book but thought after hearing it was 600 pages that no way but reading your review I am thinking i need to preorder that baby because it sounds good and I think this book is probably the first one that mentions BEA so bonus
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