Review Blog

Nov 18 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN: 9780143572046
I tore through Afterworlds faster than any novel I've read in the last six months. It was irresistible and I could hardly bear to put it down. This novel takes every writer's dream and shows them how it could play out . . .
Darcy is an eighteen year old that has just finished high school and, with it, her very first novel,Afterworlds. On a spur of the moment decision she sends her book to an agent and lands herself in writer's paradise with a two book contract and a year for re-writes. The publishers love her novel and they pay her an enormous advance which she uses to make the biggest leap-of-faith decision of her life: moving to New York to become a full-time writer. Darcy quickly blows her budget and looses herself among the fame of the authors she meets. While Darcy explores her new life as a writer in New York, her protagonist Lizzy, tells her story on the pages in between. Lizzy is the only survivor of a terrorist attack in a Dallas airport, in the attack she crossed over to the flipside where the good and the evil of death lurk. Meanwhile Darcy finally gives herself in to the inevitability of rewrites and struggles to find the happy ending for Lizzy and her lover Ramaraj (a Hindu death god) as the publishers demand. While she struggles, Lizzy uses her new found psychopomp abilities to investigate the murder of her mother's childhood friend, Mindy, whose ghost had been haunting her mother ever since Mindy's death. As Darcy's writing nears the end so does Lizzy's investigation; with the final three chapters Darcy opens her ears and does her best to type out an ending which is true to her characters and their story.
Highly engaging, Westerfeld uses his novel to tell a fantastical dual story which any aspiring writer would love. He talks about the relationship between a writer and his/her novel and much of what was written will resonate familiarity with any writer. It is the perfect novel for writerly discussion and tips when other writers are scarce.
Kayla Gaskell, age eighteen.

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