Afterworld by Lynette Lounsbury

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Allen & Unwin 2014. ISBN: 9781743315101.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. A wonderfully descriptive novel, Afterworld incorporates ideas from many religions and cultures in the formation of its after-death land. With themes of humanity, mortality and love this novel is easily one of my new favourites.
In India life is chaotic and sad, beggars line the streets and boys run in packs to rob unsuspecting victims. Dom returns to India after a term spent in an American boarding school, sister Kadie arrives to meet him on the way home they are unable to avoid a head on collision with a truck, Dom blacks out and wakes in the Afterworld, alone and frightened, trying to accept that his life is over. Or is it? Death is like nothing Dom could have expected and danger awaits, he is the youngest man to ever set foot into the city of the dead, he is instantly famous. He learns that even the dead still discriminate against the young and the weak. He piques the interest of the Nephilim, monsters even in death. The children of angles and humans hold the Trials which are vaguely reminiscent of roman gladiatorial games. The Trials allow the winner to move forth into the maze and onto the next stage in the cycle of death. Eager to see Dom compete the head Nephilim, Satariel, travels into life and brings back Kadie's soul as a bargaining chip. With the help of his guide, Eva, guardian, Eduardo and the favour of the awe he must compete to free his sister's soul.
Filled with interesting names and stories from other cultures Afterworld portrays the importance of family, friends and motivation. There is also a reassurance that the dead can wait or find their loved ones before moving on through the cycle of death. I would highly recommend this novel for young people aged fourteen and up.
Kayla Gaskell