Sigrid Ellis's Reviews > Above

Above by Leah Bobet
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Apr 03, 12

bookshelves: fiction-fantasy

ABOVE starts out with the destruction of Safe, home to our narrator, Teller. Safe, an underground home to Freaks and Sick, is invaded by Killer, a Freak previously cast out by Safe's leader, Atticus. The rest of the story is, on one level, the tale of how Teller and other refugees from Safe return to their home and defeat Killer.

I began the book with a sense that this was an okay story. Perfectly fine. The plot didn't quite hold together, and a number of the character motivations were weak, but, okay, whatever. I was a little bit disappointed, honestly. And then, about a third of the way through, the light dawned.

Oh, I thought. She's doing it on purpose.

What Teller finds out, what we the readers find out, is that this narrative is false. Or, rather, that everything in Teller's life is more complicated than he was ever led to believe. It's his job, Teller, to listen to everyone's stories are re-tell them for the community. He is the public record, the history text of his community. Teller, who is around eighteen years old, is not familiar with the idea that history is written by the victors.

He learns.

This book is audacious in its treatment of personal autonomy and identity. It's audacious in its framing of heroism. Avoid if you like your heroes to be unblemished and your narrators reliable. READ if you like your urban fantasy to be both urban and vampire-free, if you like your characters flawed yet able to learn.

An excellent book from a talented writer.
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