'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 21 February 2014

Review: Afterworld

Dom Mathers and his sister Kaide are both adopted. The children of rich American diplomats, they live lives of privilege. Kaide is joyful, always laughing, going with the flow, attracting people to her like a magnet. Dom is a quieter soul, a thinker, the dark to his sister's light.

On their way home from a day spent working at their parents' latest charitable cause, a medical clinic in India, they are involved in a massive car crash. When Dom wakes up, everything's changed. To start with, he's dead.

His Guide, Eva, explains that in the Necropolis everyone works to earn minutes. When they feel they have earned enough, they can choose to enter the Maze. If they succeed in getting through it before their minutes run out, they will meet the Awe, who will decide the next step in the journey of their soul.

It isn't only humans who've ended up in the Necropolis though. There are the Nephilim — half-angel, half-human, ancient immortals, who view humans with disdain. One of them, the cruel Satarial, has devised a way for residents to fast-track their progress to the Maze while providing entertainment for the masses. If they compete — and win — in the gladiatorial games of the Arena, their prize is 10,000 minutes, enough to hopefully see them through the Maze.

When Kaide arrives in the Necropolis still alive, Dom is forced to compete in the Arena with only the advice of Eva and his Guardian, Eduardo, to rely on — although Eduardo may be more of an advantage to Dom than first appears. But if Dom does make it through, can the Afterworld cope with the consequences?

Angels, Nephilim and humans all play their part in this intricately crafted novel that draws on belief systems from around the world to create an Afterworld that resonates with authenticity. I couldn't put it down. This is a book that delivers compelling characters and non-stop action and adventure, while at the same time raising questions about our purpose in life and what it is to be truly human.

An astonishing debut by a brilliant new talent, it's a book that I won't forget in a hurry.

Title: Afterworld
Author: Lynnette Lounsbury
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743315101
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult