Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westefeld

Book: Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Plot: Afterworlds is a parallel narration of a teenage girl who has got a publication deal on her very first novel called the Afterworlds and then the actual novel of Afterworlds itself. While one half tells the tale of a teenage girl trying to cope with the high pressured writing world, the other half is a thriller saga of a girl whose life changes in a moment’s turn while waiting for a flight in an airport and coming face to face with Death.

Rating: 2/5

A fire that got watered down even before it started out

To proceed with this review I have to first brief a bit about the book’s background, otherwise whatever I will have to say will come across as a speech excelled in stupidity. So here it goes

Afterworlds is a case of two stories running parallel. One, a story of a teenage girl who had just written a paranormal book called Afterworlds and has got a publishing deal and other half is this very book itself. So Afterworlds is two books combined in one. One a realistic world of a teenage author that is finding her place in the competitive publishing world and other a paranormal world mixed with Indian mythological elements. it’s like you are reading two different books belonging to different genres at the same time.

I can’t help but be in awe of the unique concept. But did it work wonders in final Outcome? . Sadly no. The final impact of the book to me was like having my feet in two different boats at the same time and end up drowning not being able to keep up the balance. That’s exactly what happened with the book because both the stories struggled to keep up with the balance and eventually sank like the titanic without Leonardo
For comfort sake I am treating the two books differently.

First let’s talk about the Afterworlds half of the story. It was quite interesting, good paced and to a certain extent grabbed attention but the in between interruption of the other half of the book, the real life scenario of the author kept me from fully enjoying Afterworlds. It was like being hit by commercials after every five seconds when you are trying to watch your favorite show. I hated how this particular half of the story was wrapped up hastily with so many questions left in open air. The story on its own would have made one hell of a ride without the other half of the story pulling it down.

On a completely different note, the official trailer of the book is super impressive ( check below ). It gave me an idea that maybe this book would not be that bad if converted to a movie… well …maybe

Now let’s talk about the other half, the life of Darcy Patel who has written Afterworlds. This half to me was the boring parts without anything relevant contributions except that I did get a peek into the life of publishing and how authors struggle with writing. Which also gave me a very good idea. NEVER TO BE AN AUTHOR. It’s seriously very demanding line of job. The pace was extremely slow and had too much jargons and kept halting my good relationship with the other half of the book. Plus the language was completely alien.

The funniest thing is that in Afterworlds the central character is named Yamaraj and being a fellow Indian I could not stop myself from laughing because no Indian parents in their right mind would name their kids Yamaraj because it would be like naming your kid Satan. Plus if somebody named yamaraj comes for you, then run in the opposite direction rather than swooning over him. In Indian culture, the name yamaraj is considered to be kind of a bad omen and if you try saying something on the lines like “ yamaraj is waiting for you” to some old Indian guy, he would probably drop dead right there out of fear and panic. So I kind of had a hard time holding on to my laugh every time the character Yamaraj was brought into a romantic scene. But then again everybody has their own views and perspective and this was just mine.

This book had such a beautiful and one of the most innovative concepts I have ever seen or heard but unfortunately the execution spoiled the fun partly because the culmination of two different stories of different genres needed more careful treatment. Because frankly Afterworlds (which is one half of the book) was muddled by the low paced and dull other half of the book. The book is freakishly long and sometimes without reason and the part that required length and explanations lacked it terribly. Classic case of “Brilliant Idea. Bad Execution”