Above - Leah Bobet image

Oh, I did not like the way this book was written. At all. It's weird but I actually tend to like it when authors write their novels in strange dialects, I think it adds a certain uniqueness and personality to the characters, for example, in Blood Red Road. However, the use of it in Above was teeth-grindingly annoying for me. The sentences became disjointed and simplistic, it felt like a book for a much younger audience at times because of this.

Also, I felt absolutely zero connection with the narrator. The distance was so great that it took me almost fifty pages to realise that a) the book was written in 1st person, and b) the narrator was male. I mean, if you're a female author and a book has a pretty cover with a girl on the front, then I'm automatically going to assume the main character will be a girl - unless you give me reason to believe otherwise. Actually, this book is narrated by Matthew and I'm struggling to recall ever finding such a bland protagonist. He has a name and he's in love with a girl called Ariel... that's it. That's the extent of his characterisation as I see it.

Ariel, too, is forgettable. She is defined by her beauty, her blonde hair and bee wings (which, admittedly, is pretty cool), but she is meek and uninspiring. I could not care for these characters even if the writing had been more sophisticated, there was just nothing exciting about them. Or the world they lived in either.

Matthew and Ariel are part of a group of "freaks" who've been living underground away from the horrors of the world above. But they are forced to flee when their home comes under attack one night. The book promises "the most dangerous place he [Matthew] can imagine" that lies in Above. But really, what actually happens? This is a very melodramatic statement to make when the world they ascend to seems rather mild and non-threatening compared to some frightening places I've read about.

Overly simplistic writing, not enough drama and dull characters. Yet 1 star seems too passionate for a book that left me unmoved, I didn't hate it, I simply didn't care much either way.