Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5


I’ve read Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, but it hadn’t been as good as I had expected with all the hype around it. Now, Afterworlds didn’t have nearly as much exposure, but I loved it a lot better.

It is written from two perspectives:
Darcy is an eighteen-year-old debut novelist who is waiting for her book Afterworlds to be published. She moves to New York to find a place where she can write, but there there, she finds love – and a little bit of herself.
Our second story is the story written by Darcy – it is about Lizzie, a girl who, after surviving a terrorist attack, finds out she has the ability to cross into the afterworld. But not all people are good, not all ghosts are good, and Lizzie’s gonna need a little help learning what it means to believe.

I thought the voices for the characters were done very well for this book. I’m not a huge fan of multiple perspectives because it’s oftentimes so difficult to differentiate between them, but Lizzie and Darcy were in such different worlds that it was very clear. (The different page styles did help too.) Admittedly, I was more interested in Lizzie’s story just because there was a much more sense of fantasy and adventure, whereas Darcy’s was dimmed down and mundane. Both characters definitely undergone character development, but I felt like Darcy’s character arc was more fluid.

The plot for both were very interesting, but I felt like I liked the first half of the book more, for both. Lizzie’s beginning was interesting, and I loved reading about how she ventured in the different worlds. There was great backstory about the ghosts that she met, and Westerfeld was great at the world-building. I feel like, in the second half, the story started to get a little messy, and I wasn’t really sure where the story was headed anymore.

Darcy had development as well, but it was very closely tied with her journey as an author, which, while realistic, was a bit more boring. There were times where I felt like she was annoying and hypocritical, which added to the fact that I didn’t like her as much despite her character progression.

The writing style was engaging; this was what had made me dislike Uglies, and it was why I entered this book with such hesitance, but the writing was surprisingly interesting.

One issue I have with this is the love interest; Darcy’s was great, but Lizzie’s was such a cringeworthy case of insta-love that I would have honestly preferred it to not be there at all. This was perhaps the only reason my actual rating for the book was a 3.5, not a 4.

Overall, this book actually reinstated my interest in Scott Westerfeld’s other books, and I’d recommend Afterworlds to anyone into the fantasy, contemporary, and YA genres.


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