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Above Ground (Volume 1) Paperback – October 29, 2012
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About the Author
A.M. Harte is a London-based speculative fiction enthusiast and chocolate addict. Her works include the science fantasy novel Above Ground and the zombie love collection Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what 'free time' means, and enjoys procrastinating at http://amharte.com
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot is captivating, though the relationship between girl and beast I found slightly confusing. It's unfortunate since it's the glue that ties the story together. It's no reason to avoid the novel, however, as the author weaves a compelling story of magic, mythology, and technology.
The pace is fairly constant, a steady jog from the start that really picks up at the end. Now I'm left wondering the fate of the protagonists. Two more chapters could have tied up loose ends but now I have to patiently wait for the sequel!
Potential readers should be aware that as with most post-apocalyptic settings there are quite a few dark elements here, and the story and characters are quite serious. Anyone expecting comedy or light-hearted fluff should look elsewhere.
First and foremost I have to tell you that I really loved Silver as a character. At first he seemed very aloof, but Harte soon allowed him a much deeper vein of emotion. I liked being in his head, and seeing the things that he thought about. Especially regarding his attitude towards Lilith. A bit of a bad boy, this is a werekin who really pushes the actions forward. He made the book for me.
Unfortunately, I really didn't like Lilith all that much. Not that I didn't understand her motivation for the way she behaved. Here is a girl who has lived her whole life underground. A girl who is used to being pampered and safe. Throw her into an uncomfortable new situation, and anyone would be understandably upset and lost. However her decisions and her constant anger definitely made her a though character to love.
Above Ground takes off at a manic pace, but soon evens out into an easy to follow pace. I would have liked to see a little more action at some points, but overall things moved forward nicely. It was fun to delve into the conspiracy that surrounded Lilith's home. Plus I've already professed my love for Silver, so it was simple for me to follow along with his train of thought. By the time I got to the ending, I was ready for more. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Above Ground! I would recommend it to readers who enjoy dystopian fiction and/or fantasy.
The initial plot set-up is painfully stereotypical. Clueless teenage girls wind up in danger. Two men save them. One is an angst-ridden werewolf. The other is a mysterious, handsome intelligent fella. The girls protest they can care for themselves but the reader can see they can't really. The main teenage girl feels inexplicably pulled to the werewolf angst man. The werewolf angst man feels drawn to the teenage girl and angsts about it. And on we go. The last few pages of plot, thankfully, didn't take the typical turn, but honestly the pay-off was incredibly minor compared to the rest of the stereotypical YA plot. I also was disappointed to see no depth or examination of the human condition here, which I saw in Harte's previous work. I was excited to see what depth she could bring to YA but she didn't even bring an empowered female main character to the genre. Quite disappointing.
Ignoring my own quips with the plot and main characters, the book simply does not read like a solid first entry in a series. It gives the reader mere tastes of what we want to know from a first book in a series, like who the DEI are and why everyone is afraid of them, while lingering on things like how the main character craves the werewolf. That is fine if it was a paranormal romance, but it feels more like it is meant to be a post-apocalyptic/dystopian style novel. A clearer world needs to be established and characters more fully fleshed-out if they are to hold up a whole series.
Overall, then, this is definitely a book for YA fans only. It's the basic plot from YA with a twist set in a unique future world that was fun to visit. YA fans will have to try it out for themselves to determine how much they will enjoy that visit.