A.M. Harte is a London-based speculative fiction enthusiast and chocolate addict whose work includes the dark 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 https://www.instagram.com/am.harte/
[All my star ratings are reflective of personal opinion/enjoyment. 1 star = I read it all but wasn't a fan, 2 stars = it was okay, 3 stars = I liked it, 4+ stars = I ignored people to finish reading this.]
I was hesitant to accept a YA book for review, since the genre is not one I tend to enjoy. But I had previously read and thoroughly enjoyed a book by this indie author, so I decided to give it a go.
The basic concept is intriguing. Many post-apocalyptic stories feature humans living in bomb shelters or other similar underground enclosures but not for the reasons put forth in this novel. This unique twist is what I’ve come to expect from Harte’s writing, and it definitely was the part of the story that kept me reading. Seeing how the mutated humans lived above ground versus how the non-mutated lived below ground was intriguing and interesting. while the typical werewolves and vampires exist among the infected above ground, there are also the more unique such as the ewtes who mutated to live in the water but can walk on the ground with water tanks. Actually, I could have easily spent an entire book among the ewtes. They were far more interesting than our stereotypical main character Lilith. The world and minor characters are what kept me reading….not the plot or main characters.
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.
I've been a fan of A.M. Harte since I read her first book. So of course when she approached me to read her newest book, Above Ground, I happily accepted. I was drawn in by the synopsis and readied myself for an exciting read. The book opens with Lilith and her friend Emma visiting the surface with a one day pass. Their trepidation is palatable, as they wait to see what horrors they might see. Little do they know that a series of events will soon turn their entire lives upside down.
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.
This is one of my favorite books! I started reading it when it was just a web serial. When I heard it was going to be extended and published I was so excited, and let me tell you it does not disappoint! I literally had to force myself to put it down at 5am so that I could get a little sleep in before work. I finished it the next time I picked it up. Sometimes I have a hard time finishing books when I get to a certain point. Not the case with this one. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. Even reading it before didn't diminish that. My new literary crush is Silver! I don't know what it is about the brooding bad boy, but I just can't get enough! I really liked his interactions with Lilith, and being able to see from his point of view sometimes. I'm a huge fan of alternating points of view. Without giving too much away, I also liked that we got to see other characters views. It helped with the mystery of what is really going on. The only thing that disappoints me is that I don't have the next book in my hands right now. I am dying to know what happens next!! I'll be patiently, sort of, waiting the next book.
Good story composed of three different threads, one for each major character. The bulk of the story follows two which mostly intertwine from start to finish. That thread follows the girl, Lileth, and the werewolf, Silver.
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!
I really liked the idea of this book! The only thing I missed was a sort of introduction to the underground world and what Lilith's life is like before she goes above-ground. It really felt like the first few chapters of the book were missing... but the rest was interesting and something quite different than what I was expecting, but in a good way :) Plus, I liked the map in the book! I always like maps in fantasy books. 3.5 stars!