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 stopped reading this book after 23% (about 130 pages) because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t enjoy it at all and from what I read in other reviews afterwards it doesn’t get any better. I decided to DNF this one so all I talk about in this review is only about those first 130 pages!
I don’t even know what happened here. I loved Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series and the only thing I knew about this one was that it has a story inside the story which is something I love. Turns out I should have taken a closer look because both stories inside this book aren’t really my thing. First there is the actual story, the story of the young author, which is contemporary, something I haven’t been in the mood for for months now. The story inside the story (which is also called Afterworlds) is a paranormal romance, which is also something that rarely works for me and a genre I only read when it’s from an author who I know of that I enjoy their paranormal books. BUT sometimes these genres work for me and this is where I’m confused about this book: It’s not just the genres that aren’t my thing but even for a book within those genres it’s BAD.
There are so many things that bothered me, so many things all people seem to hate, typical YA clichés, like instalove, that I just couldn’t take this book seriously. The only explanation I have is that this is a parody, that Scott Westerfeld is making fun of YA. In fact, Darcy gets critiqued for her story inside this book! She talks to other authors and they actually say how cliché some things from that story are!
And it’s not just these clichés but also that Darcy’s story is just ridiculous. I don’t know how the publishing world works but I can’t imagine that it does like this. It felt like he was making inside jokes that I didn’t get. Everything felt exaggerated and unrealistic. At first I thought it would be interesting to read about someone who becomes an author, but it can’t be like THIS! (Like who has ONE meal for over $60 when only having a budget of $30/day and then goes and rents a flat that costs $500 more each month than her budget allows? + goes to NYC with nearly nothing to wear because she wants to buy new cloths once she knows what authors wear!?).
Then there is the story inside the story. I thought this would be AMAZING! Usually it drives me nuts when characters talk about a book and I’ll never get to read it. Not in this one, oh no, you get to read it all for yourself! Too bad Darcy’s book is pretty bad. I didn’t get the point really, why we get to read both stories. It felt like I was switching between actual books, I didn’t feel the connection. For me, it was rather pointless having both stories. Too bad I liked neither or I would have continued the one I liked and just skipped the other (which you can do, because you don’t need the other at all to understand everything).
On top of all that I didn’t like the characters, at all. I couldn’t warm up to them, I didn’t care about them but was rather annoyed by them, which made this whole reading experience even worse.
Afterworlds (the story inside the book) has a really great and promising opening chapter but that was it for me. Both stories are flat, full of clichés, unrealistic and predictable. I can only hope that this is not to be taken seriously because I can’t believe that the author who wrote the incredible Leviathan series would fabricate something like this. I tried making me read a bit further by keeping in mind that this is a parody but even that didn’t work for me. It makes me sad because I was very excited about his new book but I can’t come up with a single thing that I liked about it (oh wait, I like the cover!^^) and I had to force myself to even get this far.