Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

October 15th, 2014 kimbacaffeinate Review 73 Comments

15th Oct
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Afterworlds
by Scott Westerfeld
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Heather Lind, Sheetal Sheth
Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne Star

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.

I was so excited when I received an audio copy of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. The synopsis intrigued me, and I dove into the audio with such anticipation. Despite a stellar performance by narrators, Sheetal Sheth, and Heather Lind, the overall stories feel flat for me, making the story unmemorable.

Caffeinated Aspects:

  • Afterworlds is delivered in two parts and we navigate between them. The first is that of Darcy Patel a seventeen-year-old writer who puts of college to go to New York after landing a publishing deal for her novel Afterworlds. Can you see the appeal? Life as a writer in the Big Apple. Yep, I was excited and curious. The second part is Darcy’s novel Afterworlds.*when referring to Darcy’s book I will make the title bold*  Afterworlds is a suspenseful paranormal thriller that takes place in the world between the living and the dead. Creep-tastic right?
  • Darcy was genuinely portrayed, despite having written a novel in 30 days and selling it to a publisher. *every writers dream* Westerfeld made her experiences both as new writer and those of a young woman starting out in the big city feel surreal. Her feelings and insecurities are those I am sure every new writer feels.
  • In Afterworlds Darcy’s story, we get essentially a ghost story, with some insta-love. I thought some of the concepts; especially the twisted paranormal aspects were interesting. Westerfeld introduced some new paranormal characters in this land of the dead. I personally thought the ghost Lizzie befriends in her home was the most interesting character in the entire book.
  • Scott Westerfeld is talented, and brought the worlds to life. Even though I did not connect with this tale, I will gladly try another work by him.
  • Sheetal Sheth and Heather Lind were solid narrators making the stories easy to listen.

Decaffeinated Aspects:

  • While both stories had aspects that appealed to me, and I certainly had no trouble, finishing the novel I never became caught up in the story. I love when I slip into the world, connect with the characters and lose track of time. Sadly, I never achieved that nirvana with Afterworlds. When I finished I scratched my head and questioned, “What was the point?”
  • The tale transitions well between stories and if I had to choose between the two, Afterworlds with Lizzie was far more interesting. Which surprises me because it took me a long time to connect with Lizzie.
  • We get an LGBT romance in NY with Darcy, but because of the two stories, we never really get a chance to connect with Darcy and her love interest. The romance in Darcy’s novel Afterworlds was complete insta-love and never fully developed.

 

While Afterworlds offered a unique concept, I think it would have been better to create two separate fleshed out, and full developed novels. A duology perhaps? Afterworlds may not have worked for me, but with an average 3.76 rating on Goodreads, I encourage you to read a few more reviews.

About Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier. He is best know for the Uglies and Leviathan series, and his next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014. His book Evolution’s Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award. So Yesterday won a Victorian Premier’s Award and both Leviathan and Midnighters 1: The Secret Hour won Aurealis Awards. Peeps and Uglies were both named as Best Books for Young Adults 2006 by the American Library Association.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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73 Responses to “Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I know, it was a let down for me. I enjoyed aspects but overall it just didn’t work for me

  1. Francine Soleil

    No wonder the book looks so thick. There are two storylines. But it does sound interesting though, and I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Scott Westerfeld so maybe I’ll give this a try. I think it would be interesting to read about the life of the writer. I hope Darcy’s story is good too despite the insta-love.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Review Wrapup: Fan Art by Sarah TregayMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Right, and parts were, it just didn’t work as a whole for me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Silvia 🙂 it happens, but it always makes me a sad

  2. Jessica

    I’ve been meaning to read some Scott Westerfield. I watch the Vlogbrothers on YouTube (John Green’s video blog with his brother, Hank) and Westerfield makes several cameos. I’ve been intrigued by him for a while now. It seems like this didn’t quite live up to your expectations … and that, sometimes, is a buzz kill.
    Jessica recently posted…From Page to Screen: Gone Girl (2014)My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have watched a few interviews and he’s interesting to listen to. I am really hoping our next date is better.

  3. Katherine

    Finally a book you review that I don’t feel the need to read! I do like the premise – especially about Darcy in New York trying to be a writer – but it sounds like there were some flaws in the execution. I’ll skip this one. Thanks for the great review!
    Katherine recently posted…The Question of the Missing Head – ReviewMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I can handle insta-love if it then gets fleshed out. Most of the time the insta-love is nothing more than instant attraction and the author then develops the relationship. It just didn’t happen here.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I just kept hoping there would be some pivotal moment..ah well

  4. Asheley (

    OH LUCKY YOU!!! I really want to read this one! Scott Westerfeld is one of my FAVORITES! I’ve read pretty much everything by him – back when I began reading YA, and I have to admit that he has his own style – I think that (at the risk of sounding crazy) readers that aren’t really used to reading his stuff may think it a little strange, perhaps. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one. Throughout his backlist, some of been big favorites and some have not, but I’ve always enjoyed them. Great review, and I appreciate that it is an audiobook review. I’d love to listen as I follow along with the print, and I appreciate knowing about the dual perspectives. Thanks!! (:
    Asheley ( recently posted…The evolution of my reading habits: LAZY READER EDITION. {3}My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I really hope this one is a winner for you Ashley, it’s wonderful when you find authors you really enjoy. I am hoping my next encounter is a good one. He is very talented, this one didn’t click with me.

  5. Jenny

    I’m bummed neither romance was overly successful Kim! I can tell I’m going to want more time with Darcy and her love interest for sure, and it’s too bad Lizzie’s relationship is more of the insta-love variety. Definitely interesting that he chose to combine the two stories into a single book, but like you, I can’t help but wonder if it would have worked better as two:)
    Jenny recently posted…Wednesday Flourish: Antebellum AwakeningMy Profile

  6. Rita

    Hmm, sounds like if he had just written a story with the first part, Darcy in NY, that it would’ve been enjoyable without delving into her “book within a book”. Still, I hear so many praise this author’s books that I’m sure this is just a slip on his part. Thanks for being honest.
    Rita recently posted…Random Thoughts, TTT, & Mini BreakMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I plan on trying again with another of his novels. The whole concept is cool, it just didn’t work for me.

  7. Finley Jayne

    This is the first review that I’ve read that didn’t gush about this book, glad to hear a different perspective (books that only get good reviews make me nervous lol). I may read this one at some point, but it’s definitely not high on my priority list right now 🙂
    Finley Jayne recently posted…{Halloween Special} The Master Of CreepinessMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Kara, it happens. I am planning to try again, since there were things I did like.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is always sad when you don’t connect, but I do hope to try the author again.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This has reviews from two’s to fives, so explore other opinions.

  8. Berls

    Felicia was talking about this one at book club and though I liked the concept, her impressions really turned me off of it. To see you confirm pretty much everything she said, seals the deal. I’m not going to waste my time with this one. Thanks for the great review!
    Berls recently posted…Trapped by Revenge by Colleen Helme| Audio ReviewMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah, she commented and said the same. It was a let down for sure

  9. Braine Talk Supe

    Sorry this tanked for you. I haven’t read this (and I probably won’t, dystopia isn’t really my thing), but I have read books that had the same issues you raised. It can be a bummer and sometimes it feels like a total waste of time. I hope whatever it is you’re currently reading is way better than this.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Liked It: Black Dog by Caitlin KitteridgeMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am reading something naughty..you would be surprised. LOL

  10. Christy

    The other reviews I read for this were positive, but honestly, I just have no urge to read it. So. There’s that.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It wasn’t awful, otherwise I would have walked away..it just didn’t work for me..

  11. Kristin

    Woot! Thanks for the heads up on that one!!! I have it and now I’m not in any hurry. I’ll get to it eventually out of my sense of obligation but no rush now. What a bummer (and time waste – booooo). I’ll definitely see what I think, though!!! Thanks a ton, girlie!!!
    Kristin recently posted…Review: Her Perfect Game by Shannyn SchroederMy Profile

  12. Wendy Darling

    Aw, I’m sorry you ended up not loving this one as much, Kimba. (I peeked at your criticisms, since I haven’t written my review yet.) I ended up liking Darcy’s story more than Lizzie’s, the opposite of you! It did feel a little long to me, though, and I agree that the romantic relationships in both halves could have been better developed.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…This Shattered World: blog tour sign-upMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was surprised I liked it more, but I guess there was more action?

  13. Tressa

    Well, bummer! He just came to my local library, but I hadn’t read this so I didn’t go and now I’m glad that I didn’t. Thanks for the review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Some folks really enjoyed it. I was so bummed I wanted to love it.