Hi guys! Today I’m sharing sharing my review of Afterworld by Lynnette Lounsbury and having an awesome giveaway for my Aussie readers!Afterworld by Lynnette Lounsbury
Published: February 1st 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 409 pages
Goodreads ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
Dom is the youngest person ever to arrive in the Necropolis, the 'waiting place' between death and what comes after. And it isn't long before he catches the attention of Satarial, a cruel Nephilim from the beginning of time, who has grim plans to use Dom as entertainment in his vicious gladiatorial games. When Dom's still-living sister, Kaide, appears in the Necropolis too, Satarial has the leverage he needs, and the stage is set for the biggest shake-up the afterlife has seen in centuries.
Dom's only option is to compete in the Trials and attempt to win the chance to enter the Maze. In his favour he has an enigmatic young Guide, Eva, and a Guardian, Eduardo, who may not be what he seems. But will they be enough?
Unexpectedly poignant and philosophical, Afterword imagines existence after death and the trauma and challenges that go with it. Dominic is dead, but instead of finding heaven, he finds himself in the Necropolis, the City of the Dead, where he has to train and earn minutes to tackle the next stage of death, called the Maze.
The best thing about this book is the world-building. I found it extremely clever – an amalgamation of all of humanity’s collective thoughts about life and death. Figures from all religions make appearances, and I love how the emphasis is on how all religions are correct, rather than just one or two. I think some readers will find this book confronting, because of how the issue of religion and the afterlife is handled, but I enjoyed this aspect and loved delving deeper into philosophies that are the backbone of this story. I enjoyed the appearances of the Egyptian deities the most, but also liked that figures from Greek mythology and the Old Testament played large parts.
I loved the three stages of the narrative: the introduction to the City, Dominic’s Trials, and then finally the hectic journey inside the Maze. Each of these sections teaches Dominic something new, and the character development Dominic goes through is both natural and amazing. He initially struggles, as most would, to understand the history of his world and his place in it, and the nature of this afterlife. Each section is stylistically different and almost feels like a different book, with the last section even going as far as introducing new points of view. I think this is also a wonderful way to tell a story because the plot doesn’t stagnate, and instead the challenges that the characters face and the very scenery of the book change periodically to keep things interesting.
In terms of characters, I found it difficult to connect with Dominic, and found myself preferring his sister Kaide, or his Guide Eva. Dom’s outlook on life didn’t sit well with me, I definitely have more in common with Eva and Kaide than I do with him. He is written very well, however, and I think he stayed true to himself throughout the narrative, by which I mean that I found his motivations and aspirations were consistent throughout the book. My favourite character is definitely Dom’s mentor Eduardo – who brings lightness to the narrative with his sense of humour, but is also full of great advice. I’m so glad he got his happy ending!
I wasn’t expecting Kaide to have the large role that she did – Afterworld is sometimes more a story of the two siblings, rather than just about Dominic. She’s the spark that gets people thinking, and eventually she manages to change the way a whole race acts. I like that she’s so integral to the plot because I would have hated for the alternative: if she’d just been in the opening few chapters and then her memories held Dominic back in the afterlife.
I must confess that I did not like the way the book ended. Although it is a sappy happy-ever-after kind of deal, I was unsatisfied because it seemed anticlimactic after everything Dominic and Eva had been through and even seemed to render their journey pointless.
I’d never heard of Afterworld before it was generously sent to me by the publisher, and it’s been an absolute delight to read. The story-world captivated me, the characters are great, and the narrative is unique. I’m very glad to have read it, and think fans of the fantasy fiction will enjoy it.
Allen and Unwin have generously offered up three copies of Afterworld to give away to my Australian readers 😀 Some pertinent information about the giveaway:
- You do NOT need to follow Speculating on SpecFic in order to enter. Open to all Australian residents, 13 years and over.
- Entry is via the Rafflecopter form below.
- Entries will be checked for IP addresses: entries with different names / email addresses originating from the same IP address will be automatically deleted.
- Daily extra entries are available to those who spread word of the giveaway via Twitter.
The competition runs from the 19th February to the 5th March (ending at 2359 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time (GMT +11)). Good luck!!