Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

October 15th, 2014 Kimberly Review 73 Comments

15th Oct
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
by Scott Westerfeld
Narrator: Heather Lind, Sheetal Sheth
Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne Star
Narration: 3 cups

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.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

73 Responses to “Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld”

  1. Kay

    I liked a lot of things about Afterworlds, especially its uniqueness, but just like you since there were two stories I felt like I could never really get completely engrossed in either one. I felt like neither story was really all it could be.

  2. 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.

  3. Cyn

    Oh no, that’s too bad this wasn’t the book for you. I heard that Afterworlds is sort of like two story. Boo to the insta-love, but I like the sounds of the creepiness! Thanks for the review!

  4. Jon

    I liked both stories, but I think Darcy’s story resonated with me on a deeper level. It’s interesting how everyone who reads this one has such radically different opinions!

  5. 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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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 just didn’t work for me..

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    Sorry this didn’t work for you. I haven’t read anything by Westerfeld, but I do need too. I’m really curious about this one, so I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.

  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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am reading something would be surprised. LOL

  10. 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!

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  11. Heidi

    Bummer that wasn’t a better experience for you especially when you know the author is capable of so much more. Thanks for the informative review. I will have to pass on this one.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  12. Candace

    I remember when everyone was so excited for this book at BEA but I haven’t really heard anything since. I haven’t had an urge to read it either, but I never really knew what it was about. It’s too bad it didn’t work a bit better for you though.

  13. kara-karina

    A pity, you didn’t enjoy this much, K. I only read one book by Westerfeld and I knew I wouldn’t pick up any of his other works. He wasn’t for me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  14. Lori

    Sorry this was just an OK read for you Kimberly. I love stories where you become invested in the characters too, it’s hard to connect with a story when you’re not. Thanks for sharing your honest review 🙂

  15. Sarah

    Boo 🙁 I hate when a novel just doesn’t click – I remember obsessing over this author’s novels back in middle school. Sad to hear Afterworlds didn’t live up to its potential.

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  18. Nick

    It’s such a shame you were never fully into the book. The romance especially sounds disappointing. This does have a cool-sounding concept, so I’ll probably read it some time in the future, but not right away.
    Great review!

  19. 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:)

  20. 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!! (:

    • 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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

    • 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.

  21. Crystal Collier

    I’ve really liked some of Westerfield’s stories, and others not so much. My son couldn’t stand the last couple books of the Uglies series. (He makes me chuckle.)

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

    • kimbacaffeinate

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

  24. 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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

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