Wandering Librarians's Reviews > Above World

Above World by Jenn Reese
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Jan 16, 12

bookshelves: adventure, dystopia, fiction, friendship, middle-grade, science-fiction, series
Read in January, 2012

Aluna is a Kampii (don't call her a mermaid) who lives in the City of the Shifting Tides. The Kampii have lived under the sea for generations, having no contact with the above world of humans. But now, the breathing devices that allow the Kampii to live under water have begun to break, and no one knows how to fix them. The Kampii elders chose to ignore the problem and Aluna decides to take the problem into her own hands. With her friend Hoku, Aluna journeys to the above world in search of HydroTek.

The first scene in this book seemed right out of the Little Mermaid. We have the headstrong girl and her scared male friend going somewhere forbidden. People are called guppies as a fill in for scaredy cats, and then they are chased by a big shark. So sorry Aluna, you already have me in Little Mermaid mode.

There was some interesting world creation going on (you know I like good world creation) but the story itself was unimpressive. As things began to go to crap in the world and there's overcrowding and disease, technology allowed people to flee to other, less crappy places on Earth. Some went under water, some went to the skies, some went to the deserts and some became Upgraders, combinations of humans and machines. So I was interested in this idea of humans deciding to live in places that don't naturally support human life and that they drew on ancient myths to do so. Mermaids, harpies and centaurs, essentially.

I enjoyed being introduced to the Kampii, who have thick skin to keep them warm and eyes that can see in the dark, the Aviars, warrior bird women, have light bones and wings and are grown from eggs, and Equines, the horse people. The story itself, however, I didn't find myself especially interested in.



Aluna leaves the ocean (Kampii don't get tales until a ceremony when they're 13 where they swallow a pill) with Hoku to try to discover why her tribes' tech is breaking down. Aluna was kind of annoying. She always wanted to fight, never thought anything through, and had a really weird idea or loyalty. I know she was supposed to be acting nobly, but most of the time she was just a pain. Hoku was a little more interesting. He was interested in figuring out how things work, but still, no exactly a gripping character. I found I felt like that the whole way though. Callie, an Aviar joins them, and then Dash, an Equine that had to leave his heard because he'd been born without a horse's body. There's lots of running about and fighting the Upgraders and so on. The journey dragged (even though it was not a long book) and I wasn't really sure where it was going or what was the point.

Everyone neatly gets matched up. Callie and Hoku like each other, as do Aluna and Dash but neither admits it. This is sure to be a series. The book ends with kind of a triumph, but there's plenty more to do to keep the world safe from the evil Upgraders. The fight is only just beginning. I have no interest in continuing on with this series. There are plenty of other much more engaging dystopias available.

Above World will be available February 14.
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