(image from its amazon page)
(Tw for death, terrorism, alchohol, suicide mentions, murder)
Darcy Patel wrote a novel in a month. The experience was surreal, and only got more so as she's rocketed into the publishing world. She puts off college, takes days out for editing, finds and apartment in NYC, and falls in love.
Every other chapter is that of Lizzie, Darcy's protagonist. Like Darcy, she's been thrown into a new, strange world. The difference is, Lizzie's a spirit guide.
*Horrible summary is horrible, but short*
There are 599 pages in this book, and the last time I read something so long without taking two week breaks in between chapters was when I read Blood of Olympus. That was for a series I am deeply invested in and feel the need to finish in three days. This? Scott Westerfeld's ranking on my author list is "male author that does not make me feel the need to watch 'Male Novelist Jokes' every other page". It took me more than three days, but managed to get finished before the 200 page book I'm currently putting off by writing this review.
Westerfeld, also, has totally touched down on Poe's Law with Lizzie's chapters. They're satire- but I couldn't tell until I saw something that said so. If you're reading this before you read the book, you should know that. And I have to say, that makes it pretty good satire.
The non-Lizzie chapters were well written, if a bit slow. I don't know if this was just 'writing is slow, so nothing really important will happen for a while' or what, but it didn't seem as fast-paced. Then again, I may just be desensitized to contemporary. It's not my main genre.
The Lizzie chapters give me, now that I know they're a parody, a sort of vertigo. Yeah, they feel a lot like the cheap paranormal romances I love and hate, but they're different- mostly, the love interest would never be named something more than one syllable. Come on, Yamaraj? That's like three. Point is, they were the egregiously obvious parodies I'd expect. Frankly- and I haven't read most of what Scott Westerfeld writes, so give me a pass here- I thought it was totally in line with what an advanced writer might do, if they aren't writing literary fiction by then.
The characters in both stories left me torn between 'yes much development very' and 'is this even a real person'. It seems kind of contradictory, but that's how it felt. Sometimes they felt flesh and blood, other times paper and ink. It depended on the chapter.
On the romance: You know how for Mardi Gras there'll be those giant king cakes? And if you get the baby doll baked in the cake, it's good luck? Well, that's how reading Darcy's chapters felt. You have your cake, and cake's amazing. Then you take a bite and get a baby. By which I mean two girls. Together! In a way that isn't portrayed as earth-shattering or nonexistent!
Yamaraj as a love interest was, for a satire, a little too distant. I mean, come on Mr. Westerfeld. YA boyfriend are super clingy and get angry if it's so much implied if the protagonist has friends. If you're going to mock a genre, you got to do it right.