Official Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

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inaramid
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Latest Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Official Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Post by inaramid »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Afterworld" by David James Jensen.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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You’ll get a persistent sense of contradiction while reading David James Jensen’s Afterworld. While written for readers aged 10 to 18, the book’s protagonists are not children or teens but two married couples. There’s a magic system centered around “etheric energy” as well as some abstract concepts that the target audience may find difficult to grasp, yet the simplicity of the writing is better suited for middle grade and young adult readers. Much like digging into a supposedly savory dish and finding it sweet, reading Afterworld is one bewildering experience.

Jensen throws readers right in the thick of the action. Siblings Anson and Amara die in a car accident alongside their spouses, Zora and Reeve. All find themselves in different corners of the Afterworld, a “dream version of Earth” where the souls of the dead go. Two Sages — souls who attained the highest stage of enlightenment — separately take Anson and Amara under their wings, setting the siblings on a collision course that will determine the fate of the Afterworld. Meanwhile, Zora finds herself amongst the Adepts, more evolved souls who possess enhanced abilities. Reeve becomes a full-fledged Reaper, forced to hunt other souls to avoid the ire of a Minion, who, in turn, serves the story’s ultimate villain: the Archfiend. A war is coming, and the four who’d been so close in life find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict in this world beyond death.

There’s an inventiveness in Jensen’s take on the afterlife. But though the world is vivid enough, many elements — the power structures, the pecking order of souls, etc. — are so abruptly introduced that the danger of information overload lurks around every page. In the first few chapters, we witness one skirmish after another, featuring four major types of souls who wield some sort of weapon (e.g., endo-guns and astral shields) or display some type of superpower (e.g., teleportation and hypnosis). Jensen also relies too much on similes and comparisons to flesh out the setting, leading to bland descriptions like Roman/Greek/Scandinavian-style architecture, Eastern-looking garments, or Ottoman-type furniture. Otherwise, we learn how long, deep, high, or wide a certain thing is.

Jensen dabbles in scriptwriting, which perhaps explains why the exposition often seems like instructions for set construction or why the characters’ actions appear like stage directions. Jensen also falls back to the same phrases time and again, where souls “run at supernatural speed” or victims “cry/scream out in pain.” The repetitive vocabulary diminishes the impact of what could have been intense battle sequences or harrowing death scenes.

Afterworld is a plot-driven story that unfolds at an efficient pace. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of character development, as we get little to no information about the many souls we meet. Several are “fodder characters,” or ones who exist simply to die or disappear so the plot can move along. There’s no room for the story to breathe, with many significant moments feeling so rushed or contrived. It’s just hard to buy into a romance founded on a few short conversations, or the personality change of a supposedly tortured character when their suffering was barely shown.

I’d rate Afterworld 2 out of 4 stars. I didn’t enjoy the book, but I won’t write it off just yet. While exasperating at times, there’s a spark of creativity at its core that can perhaps lead to something great. There’s a lot of work to do, however, starting off with cleaning up the editing errors strewn all over the text. Fantasy readers will appreciate the book’s imaginative twist on the afterlife, and though intended for a younger crowd, I think adult readers will find the characters and situations more relatable.

******
Afterworld
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Post by NetMassimo »

Writing literature is different from writing a script, maybe the author needed some help from an editor to properly develop the novel. Thank you for your honest review!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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Post by sirbobthewise »

This book definitely seemed to have potential, but the repetition, lack of creativity in the exposition and descriptions, and poor character development are really unfortunate. Your review does a really fantastic job of clearly pointing out weak areas, though, so I hope that the author will take your comments and attempt to dramatically polish up the writing. Great review!

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Latest Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Post by inaramid »

NetMassimo wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 05:01
Writing literature is different from writing a script, maybe the author needed some help from an editor to properly develop the novel. Thank you for your honest review!
Totally agree! The author did mention he wanted to see his stories on the big screen, so perhaps developing it as a screenplay might be an easier option. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

sirbobthewise wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 06:55
This book definitely seemed to have potential, but the repetition, lack of creativity in the exposition and descriptions, and poor character development are really unfortunate. Your review does a really fantastic job of clearly pointing out weak areas, though, so I hope that the author will take your comments and attempt to dramatically polish up the writing. Great review!
Yes. It does need a lot of polishing, though the potential is great. Thanks for your input!

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Post by Seroney_ »

This is such a great review. I'll pass it because of the editing errors. Thanks!

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Post by MICHEALQUELAZAR »

This seems more like a script than novel but it definitely has potential and it doesn't properly carry the plot very well by having less character development and repetition ( quite a bit). The story feels a bit rushed overall.

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Post by Jeff101 »

This book seems good, but thanks for letting me know that it isn't very well edited.

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Post by Phelicia Gloria »

I had thought of reading this book in the future but the review as opened my eyes, I think this not the right book for me.

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Latest Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Post by inaramid »

Seroney_ wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 09:25
This is such a great review. I'll pass it because of the editing errors. Thanks!
I understand. Thanks for dropping by!

MICHEALQUELAZAR wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 09:49
This seems more like a script than novel but it definitely has potential and it doesn't properly carry the plot very well by having less character development and repetition ( quite a bit). The story feels a bit rushed overall.
It does seem like it. Thank you for commenting!

Phelicia Gloria wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 14:04
I had thought of reading this book in the future but the review as opened my eyes, I think this not the right book for me.
It may not be in its best state yet, though the concept is definitely interesting. Thank you for your comment!

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Post by Adanna Inya »

I felt like I was watching a stage play while reading this review. A bit complex and interesting, I must say. Beautiful review.

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Latest Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Post by inaramid »

Adanna Inya wrote:
17 Jun 2020, 03:25
I felt like I was watching a stage play while reading this review. A bit complex and interesting, I must say. Beautiful review.
I had kind of the same feeling while reading the book. Thank you so much for your comment!

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Post by Ballbender »

This book is an exciting book that follows the story of two couples. The book has magic and will be enjoyable by people who loves magical books. The writer puts on a master class. The review says it all.

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Post by djr6090 »

Really? War in the afterlife? I don't think I would enjoy this book at all. But your descriptions were concise enough to let me decide that. Thanks for the heads-up.

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Latest Review: Afterworld by David James Jensen

Post by inaramid »

djr6090 wrote:
19 Jun 2020, 09:54
Really? War in the afterlife? I don't think I would enjoy this book at all. But your descriptions were concise enough to let me decide that. Thanks for the heads-up.
The idea is interesting but perhaps not a concept that everyone will be attracted to. Thanks for dropping by!

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Post by Ellylion »

The title caught my attention, but all the flaws you had mentioned above discouraged me indeed... And I agree that scriptwriting often do not help aspiring authors to write prose properly. Thank you for a great review! :)

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