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AfterworldsFrom Goodreads: 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.

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While I generally love Scott Westerfeld’s novels, this one fell just a bit flat for me. The novel itself is extremely long, and after the first 200 pages, I found that both storylines began to drag a bit, which is unfortunate since the novel started out with much intrigue. Unfortunately, I ended up not caring much for either protagonists, and I think a lot of my enjoyment of the story diminished as I got to know them more and more.

Darcy is somewhat of a boring person. Unsure of herself within the world of authors, she stumbles along and overspends on her writing advance time and time again, wrapped in the throes of what, to me, seemed like an instant lesbian relationship meant to shock readers more than drive the plot. The relationship seems to fabricate out of thin air, and while Darcy definitely learns the ropes of authorhood from girlfriend Imogen, this portion of the story felt forced to me. And while I do enjoy novels that portray the world of authors, Afterworlds is the third novel I’ve read over the past month that deals with this topic, and by this time, it sort of felt old hat. Having read and loved both The Write Stuff by Tiffany King and Neurotica by Eliza Gordon prior to Afterworlds, I found that Darcy’s story just didn’t bring anything new to the table for me, aside from a protagonist who’s story was juxtaposed with her novel–awesome in theory, less so in execution.

As Afterworlds tells two different stories, one of the real world in which Darcy resides, and one of the paranormal world in which Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s debut novel, resides, I actually found myself more drawn to Lizzie’s story. Westerfeld alternates between the two, and I found myself, in the beginning, really wanting more and more of Lizzie’s story, but again, as the novel progressed, I found myself liking Lizzie less and less, and as it turns out, we don’t get the full story of Lizzie and her newfound powers—instead, it’s more of a shell. And I soon found myself losing interest in Lizzie and her world as well.

Honestly, I feel as if the novel could be divided up into two shorter novels as the worlds don’t really intersect in the book, aside from the fact that Darcy is the author of Lizzie’s story, and that the publisher wants massive rewrites to the story. I really would love a fully developed novel surrounding Lizzie and her world, but I doubt we’re actually going to get it. Two stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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{February 5, 2014}   {ARC Review} Fates by Lanie Bross

FatesFrom Goodreads: One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again–this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

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This novel started out very promising, but as the story unfolded, it became a bit too Alice in Wonderlandesque for me.  I like alternate worlds as much as the next person, but I never was a fan of Alice and Wonderland, and the worlds that Bross creates as Corinthe and Luc try to save his sister were just a tad bit beyond my believability radar.  With gnomes, blood nymphs, deadly trees, and killer bees, the novel goes from the human world and believable scenarios to a sudden forced suspension of belief—and this is something I have a hard time with, personally.  If an entire novel takes place in an alternate world, that’s one thing, but when the novel jumps between alternating worlds and they’re so vastly different, almost comically so, then I have a harder time suspending reality and taking the plunge into the new world.  That seems to be the case with this novel.  The human world fit and was believable.  I like Corinthe and the way the story was playing out, but suddenly the characters find themselves in the world of the blood nymphs, and it was just such a difference; such a shock that I found myself losing interest quickly.  I think part of my issue here also stems from the quick succession of events as well.  The novel wasn’t choppy, per say, but I definitely didn’t feel that it was fluid.  Luc is awe struck by Corinthe the first time he meets her, and he suddenly can’t forget her.  Even when she’s trying to kill him, all he wants to do it kiss her.  He falls quickly and hard, and I just felt like there wasn’t enough time to build anything up in order for me to fall in love with the characters, and so when they suddenly disappear into an alternate world, I just couldn’t keep up anymore.

While an interesting premise, this novel just isn’t for a person like me.  But, if you’re a lover of novels like Alice in Wonderland, then I think this book might be right up your alley.  I, personally, can only give it two stars, though.

2 stars

Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press have both been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on February 11, 2014.

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