Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.
This is quite possibly the most mixed review I have ever written, but most importantly, I did enjoy this book.
While Leah Bobet penned a beautifully written, almost poetic story, there were honestly times that I just wanted to put this book down and never pick it up again. But then something would change and my attention would be pulled back into the story. The complex storyline could be so confusing at times, and at others so simplistic I considered it to be monotonous. There was little to no romance throughout the story, despite what the synopsis led me to believe. Matthew is the protagonist of the story, and told through his words we learn about Safe: a Sanctuary for people who are not quite normal. People considered Freaks by those who live on the surface and who would confine them to asylums for testing. The characters unfortunately at times fell flat on the page for me; they were shrouded in mystery that left me constantly asking questions and rarely did I feel that I received any answers.
What I did really love about the book was how Leah focused on the underlying story within the pages: belonging. Above comes across as a paranormal/science fiction novel, but it also deals with a subject more closer to home, discrimination. We never really find out why people have become mutated into a strangeness that the world cannot seem to deal with, but the society and world that the book encompasses is vivid and enigmatic. From start to finish, this book was an emotional roller coaster and the ending is definitely not the HEA we as book lovers are always looking for, but at the same time Leah could not have written it any more perfectly. Ending on a positive note, Leah’s incredible Above is a book I would recommend to paranormal lovers and is one for those who root for the quiet heroes.