|Print List Price:||$7.99|
Save $1.00 (13%)
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Price set by seller.
The Buried Life: Recoletta Book 1 (The Recoletta) Kindle Edition
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
“The Buried Life artfully sets a who-dunit murder mystery in a dystopian underground city filled with dark politics and foul secrets. It’s a gripping read from start to finish, with two clever female leads and a delightfully colorful cast. More, please!”
– Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger
“The Buried Life is a dark, imaginative steampunk gem – tailor-made for mystery fans and history nerds alike, with plenty of cops-and-robbers to keep you on your toes. This is a very fine contribution to the genre.”
– Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker and Maplecroft
“With Regency-era sensibilities and Agatha Christie’s flair for the subtle conundrum, Patel’s debut novel introduces readers to a subterranean city of the future, centuries after what is dubbed ‘The Catastrophe’, and beautifully manages the delicate balance between entertainment and social commentary. The subtly fantastical story is resplendent with surprisingly deep villains, political corruption, and a gripping whodunit feel.”
– Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“The Buried Life excels on many levels, quite apart from its presentation of strong female characters: it’s a cracking whodunnit with sufficient twists and turns to make Agatha Christie proud, a vivid portrayal of a vibrant multicultural society, and an intriguing love story.”
– The Guardian
“Fans of steampunk alternate histories will enjoy this book, and I suspect that readers of the lighter end of the dystopian genre will too. It’s quick, filled with enjoyable characters, and contains enough socio-political reflectiveness to give you something to chew on. It’s a great debut effort, and, even better, the first in a series.”
– Barnes and Noble
“Vaguely steampunk-ish but not quite classifiable, The Buried Life is recommended for readers comfortable straddling the border of fantasy and sci-fi; dedicated fantasists and hard sci-fi fans may want to go down another hole.”
– Books, Brains, and Beer
“The worldbuilding in The Buried Life is absolutely fantastic and Patel weaves together a universe that’s as grand as it is provocative. Patel is etching out traces of our own civilization from a future perspective, a cultural excavator carving out the recesses, digging up fossils that reveal both the geography of a collapsed United States as well as the intellectual debris of censorship. The Buried Life had me digging deeper, gawking at the literary stakes involved.”
– Peter Tieryas, author of United States of Japan
“This was a really interesting book. To me it was like the love child of a Steampunk and a Dystopian. Seriously. The setting was fascinating — an underground city, a group of rulers that are more dictators than anything, societal rules, and, of course, murder and mayhem. This book took off running. It was fast paced with a hell of a lot of action — which, coupled with the setting, was right up my alley. And on top of the murders and guns and all that, there were also some interesting characters. The main characters here were all quite fascinating — nuanced, layered, realistic. The world and the characters were fascinating, the plot was fast-paced and action-packed. It was a great read.”
– In Case of Survival
“Patel’s voice is her own. I was impressed. Patel’s debut novel is definitely worth reading.”
“This was a very well written novel. Attention to the logic of not only writing but writing a detective novel was superb. Behind this detecting logic there lurks an obvious perpetrator but you always seem to know that that would be too easy. The fun is in determining the who, and seeing if subsequent events play out in your favor. I like a novel that challenges you AND gives you enough information to figure it out. I loved this novel and look forward to Ms. Patel’s next.”
– Koeur’s Book Reviews
“The Buried Life is one of those books where you get much more than you had bargained for. Carrie Patel introduces the reader to a very interesting world, which besides several explanations only raises many more questions. The whole setting of the book is cleverly build by mixing up several of the established genres, Carrie Patel has created a very unique and intriguing blend. The Buried Life is a high recommendation, you don’t come by these types of books very often, great reading stuff.”
– The Book Plank
“Carrie Patel has conceived of a dark steampunk-esque yet futuristic world filled with anachronisms that, despite that, work well together. It’s as if this world has been cobbled together from past cultures and times, which is not as unusual as it may sound, to make for an underground claustrophobic world that you can almost feel pressing down on your head and soul. And there’s a library to die for – what bookaholic could resist? I know I couldn’t and I hope you won’t either. This is Book #1 in a new series and I’m really looking forward to Book #2!”
– Popcorn Reads
“I really enjoyed the novel, Patel’s descriptions are strong and evoke Recoletta quite clearly. The narrative builds up to a clear climax…I can’t wait to return to Recoletta. If you enjoy your SFF a bit off the beaten path or genre mashups in general, then I highly recommend giving Carrie Patel’s The Buried Life a shot.”
– A Fantastical Librarian
“While the story begins as a routine mystery, it quickly develops into something else entirely, and the tone drops more and more often into a darker mood…I think the worldbuilding was my favourite aspect of the book. The story sets up a promising storyline and an interesting world, and I’ll be curious to see how the things develop in the city of Recoletta.”
“One of the best mystery novels I have ever read.”
– Avid Fantasy Reviews
“This is one of the fastest paced books I’ve read in a long time. Patel wastes no time with excessive description or extraneous scenes, but still manages to convey a full sense of the world and its underlying implications. The stakes are always clear, transitioning effortlessly from scene to scene, and I found the story impossible to put down. Fans of fast-paced narratives should definitely give this one a look. The ending is perfectly set up, but only in retrospect: I didn’t see it coming, and the world is left completely upturned. In short, The Buried Life is a fantastic start to Carrie Patel’s new series, and this one is going straight onto my ‘Buy Sequel Immediately Upon Release’ list.”
– Fantasy Book Critic
“This was a lovely debut and it made for a nice easy read. I’d definitely recommend it as something a little different; a mixture of crime and steampunk, something new from Angry Robot and well worth a read!”
– Uncorked Thoughts
“While the murder mystery is tied up nicely, providing a pleasant sense of closure to that part of the book, there are larger events that take over towards the end and set up the stage nicely for the follow-up… I for one will be eagerly waiting to download it to my Kindle on the day of release!”
– Ravenous Reader
“If you love Steampunk, or Urban Fantasy, grab this book. If you love Post-Apocalyptic Rebuilt Civilizations, grab this book. If you love Empowered Female Protagonists, grab this book. And if you love a well-written, enticing story with a great reader’s hook, well of course, grab this book! I loved it! It’s a re-reader and I can’t wait for more from author Carrie Patel.”
– Mallory Heart Reviews
“Her writing exudes an engaging confidence that makes The Buried Life hard to put down. Patel also shows a gift for pithy dialogue, and her two female leads are both resilient although in different ways”.
– SciFi Now
“This worldbuilding reminds me of a taste of China Mieville’s New Crobuzon, a dose of the scheming Universities in Paul McAuley’s Confluence novels, and an air and aura of mystery and thriller in the bargain. A gaslight quasi Victorian underground city, though, in the end, is something new under the sun, and having two female protagonists as our leads and views into the city even more so. Patel gets high marks for trying to bring something new, and wandering the boundary of science fiction and fantasy to do it.”
– Skiffy and Fanty
“The Buried Life is a bracing and accessible read, full of nicely honed turns of phrase and entertaining banter.”
– Christopher East
“A very interesting novel that’s very promising indeed, and certainly should put Carrie Patel on that list of authors who readers will be looking forward to seeing what she can come up with next.”
– The Fictional Hangout
“I loved The Buried Life. I enjoyed learning about Patel’s world and the culture of this underground city. I honestly could not figure out the “whodunnit” and had no idea who was the murderer until the characters figured it out at the end. For me that’s a huge plus.”
– Book Girl’s BookNook
“A tightly-written, fast-paced and very good novel that will scratch both your mystery itch and your post-apocalyptic dystopia itch.”
– Dreaming About Other Worlds
About the Author
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and worked in transfer pricing at Ernst & Young for two years.
She now works as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California, where the only season is Always Perfect.
You can find Carrie online at www.electronicinkblog.com and @Carrie_Patel on Twitter. --This text refers to the mass_market edition.
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B00I75ET7U
- Publication date : March 3, 2015
- File size : 1056 KB
- Publisher : Angry Robot (March 3, 2015)
- Print length : 368 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #774,975 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The Buried Life is the story of two women who find their paths entwined after a series of murders. The first, Liesl Malone plays the part of grizzled inspector with a new sidekick; a handsome young rookie named Rafe Sundar. Together they are charged with investigating the murder of a historian; shocking outwardly violent crimes don’t often affect the upper classes. This automatically places the two officers in dangerous territory. If there is one thing the ruling council doesn’t want it is the past reopened; they are investigating the death of someone who had access to stuff they are not allowed to know. After a second murder the work gets even harder; answers they find could be dangerous to the wrong people and powerful hands are obstructing them throughout.
The other young woman is Jane, a laundress who goes from worrying about being blamed for a lost button on a rich clients clothing to being thrust in the middle of a conspiracy that goes all the way up. After stumbling upon the second victim she will play a part in events to come no matter her wishes. Her stubborn streak and a sense of adventure will push her even farther in.
This is not a fantasy book, it is a murder mystery in a slightly different setting. Conspiracies and jockeying for power among the upper class leads to big problems for those down below; especially for Jane and Malone. As a mystery it holds up fairly well. It is perhaps a bit rushed, a rare book I wish had expanded on some things a bit more in the early going. But Patel was good at keeping me guessing; throwing false leads and fake trails that were plausible enough that it never felt like she was cheating. The pacing was well handled as well. It was quick enough that I read the book over two lunch breaks, and only felt rushed in terms of setting, never the plot itself.
The focus on two characters worked out well. I enjoyed the dynamic Malone had with her rookie partner especially. Despite Malone being the grizzled vet she shows more confidence than others of the same archetype I have read; judging Sundar on his skills and performance and quickly getting over her grumblings in favor of valuing her new partner. Jane is serviceable in her part of an everyday woman in a strange situation but I can’t say I ever fell in love with the character. She moved around to the spots she needed to and while she did show some moments of inspiration and competence she was more often just kind of there.
The setting should have been something that stands out but it really faded into the background. The unknown event that wrecked civilization drove people underground and most of the book takes place in the large labyrinth under a well known modern city. But this is an easily forgotten fact; it never really matters to the book and only comes up occasionally when the surface is mentioned. I didn’t like that the surface appears to be still livable, with major agriculture still carried out in the above, but it left me wondering why everyone is staying below. It was never really explained.
The Buried Life was fast and fun, had a good mystery element, and is well worth reading. There is very little bad I can say about the book. But it is also very familiar in setting and seemed to lack urgency (as subjective as that conclusion is). So it is with full confidence that I recommend reading it if you enjoy mysteries, urban settings, and discovering modern clues in a far future reality. But it is not a book I found to be all that memorable, nor am I clamoring for the next installment.
The Buried Life introduces us to Inspector Liesl Malone and Inspector Rafe Sundar. Malone is a wizened inspector who has spent many years working on the force, and Rafe is her wide-eyed new partner. Among the most secretive of inhabitants are the “whitenails,” Recoletta’s crème de la crème. They are the aristocrats called white nails because they keep their nails clean and trimmed. However, when the murder of two whitenails fall on Malone and Sundar to investigate, they’re thrust in a guarded world where they’re regarded with suspicion and stonewalled. They’re given little recourse because the whitenails are held to a different standard than the ordinary citizens.
Admittedly, I went into this book expecting something a little dark. Instead, I was greeted with a fast-paced, light whodunit. I appreciated that the book didn’t spend much time with Malone giving Sundar all kinds of hell because he was a rookie. Sundar, a former actor turned inspector, brings a charm to Malone’s veteran investigation skills. He’s the sugar to her spice, and they work extremely well together, complementing each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Malone doesn’t spend half the book trying to discredit Sundar as many protagonists usually do with their rookie partners. Malone is about business, and she’s not going to quibble over something as working with a rookie as long as he keeps up. Also, I thought it was a piece of writing ingenuity that Sundar used to be an actor and Patel uses his background to help them along in their investigation.
Another major player is Jane Lin, a laundress for the rich, who finds herself a sort of witness for the second murder. She’s suddenly pushed into this world of opulence that is miles away from her own simple life. I never really reconciled with Jane in this book, even if the book did try to give Jane a role that was part of the bigger picture. I liked the character on her own merits and the freshness she brought to whitenails world, but her parts always felt so out of place to me. And she was a bit too doe-eyed for me sometimes in the context of the story and surroundings. I did feel she gelled better as the story went on, but I still have varied feelings about Jane’s role in this story, even though I did like the character.
The beginning of this book is a little slow, so if you’re one of those people who have a rule where you stop reading if things don’t get better by page 50, I do implore you to at least give it until about page 100 (maybe a little before) where things start to pick up significantly as threads begin to show themselves and you start seeing the characters in their elements more. After that, it becomes an incredibly fast read. The pages just seemed to fly by once I got out of that beginning. I wanted to know what happened. I had to know who did it and why they did it. Once Patel found her steam, her writing gripped me.
However, while Patel is a great writer, she spends almost no time using that skill on anything but the characters. I love characters, but part of what makes me love characters is their surroundings, the places they live, how they’ve been shaped by these things, how they interact with their world. There is almost no focus here on the setting or what happened to drive people to live underground. This was a world begging to be explored in prose.
While I don’t mind that the catastrophe isn’t defined and serves as a vague warning/fear in the back of the characters’ minds, I was a little disappointed that the setting wasn’t described a bit more. We have humans living underground, creating their atmosphere with gaslights. However, this place could look like Neverland for all we know with so little description of Recoletta. Couple that with the fact that people still go to the surface to do things like farm and sunlight is filtered into the city by skylights. There’s also some indication that some of their buildings may be, at least, partially on the surface. However, no one wants to live on the surface. At least, no one that lives underground. Yep, there are surface dwellers, though, who seem to live in hippie communes. It can leave a reader feeling a bit frustrated knowing these things and having no explanation for them.
While briefly glancing at some reviews to get a general feel of what people thought about the book, I encountered this question often: “How do you have a steampunk novel with little to no steampunk?” Simple, because it’s a gaslamp/gaslight novel, which can be housed with steampunk. However, it doesn’t usually include the bells and whistles that come with steampunk or go into the industrial science of the setting. There are some steampunk elements here, but mostly, it’s just gaslamp. If you’re looking to add more hardcore steampunk to your read list, this isn’t it, but if you don’t mind gaslamp with some steampunk elements, you may enjoy this book.
This was a mostly solid debut by Patel. It interested me enough that I want to read the next book, which I have right now to review. The ending definitely leaves the next book open for some terrific things to happen.