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The Light at the Bottom of the World

(The Light at the Bottom of the World #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Disney-Hyperion
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London Shah Hi there! 'The Light at the Bottom of the World' is Part 1 of a duology. The story was simply too long to fit into one book. Thank you :)
London Shah Hi Shannon, thank you for the question :) I hadn't heard of the drag queen who shares Leyla's name, until after my story sold. As a result, I ensured…moreHi Shannon, thank you for the question :) I hadn't heard of the drag queen who shares Leyla's name, until after my story sold. As a result, I ensured Leyla's first name was spelled differently, because I was not prepared to change it. I love McQueen and I love Leyla. It's a gorgeous name that's now been taken by 2 gorgeous ladies! :)(less)

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 ·  174 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Start your review of The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1)
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-read
**4.5-stars rounded up**

Debut novels have really been impressing me lately and The Light at the Bottom of the World is no exception. Man, what a captivating story. I don't think I have ever read anything quite like this.

Set at the end of the 21st-century, the world is now underwater. Our protagonist, 16-year old Leyla McQueen, is living on her own in London.

Her Father has been arrested and spirited away by government authorities, although no
London Shah
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hiiii :-) Can't wait to welcome you guys into my submerged world, and to introduce you to Leyla McQueen. Join her on her underwater adventure as she navigates the eerie and exquisite deep to solve the ever-growing mystery of her missing papa—and discovers along the way that they're all basically drowning in lies... I'm so incredibly excited for you to enter this world!

Gentle Reminder: The arcs—both physical and e-arcs—are pre copy edits. Thank you :)


“A work of fat/>EARLY
This is a really cool science fiction world. Leyla and every other human being live under water, the world having been engulfed by the sea a long time ago. Her futuristic world includes cars that work under water and lots of interesting gadgets that made me want to take an actual leap into the future. Not that I wish to one day live among sea creatures, but you know. It could be an experience.

Another cool fact is that Leyla is a racer who has the chance to compete in the biggest race there is.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Dec 14, 2017 marked it as releases-2019
"Set in a future where the Earth is underwater, the book follows 16-year-old Leyla McQueen, a British Muslim submersible racer, who must navigate the treacherous abyss to find her missing father." this is such a fantastic and creative premise and I can't wait! [also, the author is such a sweetheart. oh my god.]
Samantha Shannon
I have thalassophobia. Consequently, I've always found the the sea – particularly its abyssal zone – to be a source of both fascination and extreme fear.

Debut author London Shah illuminates the abyss in The Light at the Bottom of the World. It's a fast, accessible and high-concept adventure, driven by the determined and optimistic Leyla McQueen, who is willing to risk anything to save her beloved father from imprisonment. It's also an unapologetically British story, with plenty of slang and regional dive
Laura Weymouth
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Light at the Bottom of the World is a gorgeous, hope-filled underwater adventure that always leaves room for wonder.

Leyla McQueen makes a refreshing change as a YA main character--she's unquenchably optimistic, and driven by her love of family. Her world is an absolute delight to explore--author London Shah does a brilliant job of portraying a submerged London, along with all the extraordinary and mundane aspects of life below the sea. The story is pacy, the setting lush and original, but i
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I was one of the lucky few who got to read and fall in love with this book. Yesssss!!!

This book is insanely good. The characters aren't your typical YA characters, rather all have their own back stories and needs and goals. Plus Leyla, the protagonist, is a British Muslim girl of Afghan descent, and being both South Asian and Muslim myself, I related in so many ways to her.

This book will knock your socks off, world!
As Taylor Swift said,
"Are you ready for it?"
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are so many things I loved about this book, I don't really know where to start!!

So it's set in the future where the world is underwater because the surface has been rendered unlivable - which, first of all, is an amazing concept. It's also executed absolutely brilliant. The world-building in the book is fantastic, both futuristic while tethered to old-world nostalgia, with great commentary on how nostalgia can be destructive and harmful to us, if we can't look past it for long
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A full review can be found on my blog, Headscarves and Hardbacks!

Thank you to the author for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!

I was both excited and nervous to dive into this because it’s one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year, but it’s needless to say that the book surpassed all of my expectations.

Shah’s writing is captivating in a way that allows the reader to fully submerge themselves in a unique underwater world and b
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

Honestly I mixed up this debut author, London Shah, with another published author. But who cares?! I loved the premise of the world being underwater, plus I enjoy reading debuts so it wasn't a problem... until I started reading The Light at the Bottom of the World.

I love jellyfish but I don't really know what to make of the cover for The Light at the Bottom of the World. It's really dark and they don't live in domes so the art is misleading. I wonder if it looks bettWriter...
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Light at the Bottom of the World will sweep you away in its powerful current. It's a wild world underneath the waves and Shah tells a story of nostalgia, conspiracy, and the need to move forwards. The Light at the Bottom of the World is a story about family, the pursuit of truth, and the depths of darkness. Leyla is a character that is easy to root for - her desire for
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Post-apocalyptic fan!
I finished this book earlier today and my mind was totally blown. Where should I even start? Shah's debut has one of the best, creepiest, and most magnificent post-apocalyptic universes. It was cinematic, detailed, and incredibly vivid. All the sci-fi bits were well-written and it was clear that Shah did a tremendous amount of research in order to get them right, and I applaud her for that. The characters and the plot tied each other perfectly, and I enjoyed Leyla's dangerous and risky quest to get her father ...more
Feb 02, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
I love me some sci-fi

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S.K. Ali
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blurbed
I'm so excited for everyone to get to know Leyla McQueen!
Here's my official blurb:
Riveting and exciting, LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is a heart-racing adventure that reveals compelling and necessary truths about several critical issues of our times, while delivering all the thrills and twists of an epic quest. A stand-out, must-read book that engulfed me in its enthralling world and characters. Leyla McQueen is queen of the (under)seas!
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Light at the Bottom of the World is literal magic.

I'm humbled and honored to have been an early reader. These characters and their hearts still live with me. Leyla is what the world needs, especially now.

The SETTING is so entirely cinematic--immersive, stunning, gorgeously detailed, and joyfully imaginative.

Everything about this book will sweep you away and fill you with hope.

The first of many beauties from the immensely talented and lovely London Shah.
Perusing YA
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a thrilling scifi story!! I've been in a book slump for a few months now and THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD pulled me straight out of it.

What I LOVE about this book:
--> Stunning world building - Shah's descriptions are mesmerizing and put you right there with Leyla in her sub as she explores the boundless water.

--> Leyla McQueen - a Muslim girl leading the charge into danger and battle with strength, compassion, and determination to rescue her father.

Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah is a book with a fascinating concept but mediocre execution. The plot is thrilling at first but quickly becomes like many other dystopian novels, and the main character seems immature. I did enjoy the world building, however, and I believe the submerged world will appeal to many.

This book tells the story of the Earth in 2099, where life now exists under the sea. Leyla, who has just won a submersibl
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to be an early reader for this book, and fell in love instantly.

A true adventure, you'll plunge into a world that is both familiar and strange. Underwater London, with only submersibles for travel, combining the majesty of ocean scenes with a futuristic civilization.

Combine a gorgeous setting with a cast of characters that will draw you completely in, political intrigue, and danger on every side, and you, like me, won't be able to put it down. Although you, future
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
I was one of the few who was lucky enough to read a draft of this early on, and oh my word, can I just say, you all are in for treat!! Submersible racing in an alternate future Underwater London??? Umm yess!

Leyla is a devastatingly endearing character and her antics both on and off the racecourse will have you alternately giggling and in tears. And this is all to say nothing of the intrigue surrounding her Papa’s disappearance and the astonishing secrets she uncovers about her world
The Nerd Daily
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Vinny MS

Set in the post-apocalyptic underwater London, The Light at the Bottom of the World follows the story of Leyla McQueen, a sixteen-year-old British/Afghan Muslim racer who is seeking for the truth about her father, who was falsely charged by the government. With the belief that her father was innocent, she joins an annual marathon event to win the first place and trade her winning for the freedom of her father. Unfortunately, with
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm sad. I really wanted to love this. The concept was really interesting and I loved that we got the history of the world and why it is how it is. I also loved the glimpses of different groups of people we got and different ways people dealt with their situation.

But that's where my love for this book ends. The main character and her story was one big cringe fest. She was super naive, not asking any questions, just doing because she wants to without any real plan behind her
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author and it doesn't affect my opinion of the book in any way.

The Light at The Bottom of The World by London Shah is definitely a unique read, it's unlike anything I've read before and I love it even more for that!

I don't even know where to begin but I'm going to say this: you have to add this book to your TBR right now! It's the kind of book that once you dive in you won't want to stop reading🙌.

London's writing style is amazing. She create
Feb 02, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: coming-soon-19
The world deserves more young adult submarine-related fiction.
LOVED from start to finish; the ending literally made the bottom drop out of my stomach. Full review will appear in an upcoming issue of School Library Journal.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this manuscript and loved it!
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review sad yet again. This book was just not for me at all and I wish it were because it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year but alas, I did not vibe with the writing and couldn't connect with the MC.

Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Disney Book Group - Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

After this book I was in complete shock! I was blown away by the concept of this book and the climax driven from the race really opened my eyes and brought a lot of things to light (literally!). I could see myself with Leyla and racing with the sea creatures in hopes of saving her father who has been arrested.
Lindsay Galvin
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Light at the Bottom of the World is a thrilling underwater adventure set in the unique setting of a submerged London of the future.

Leyla McQueen is a captivating protagonist; determined, hotheaded and always driven by her love of her family. The relationships between characters are well drawn and moving, I really felt for Leyla and bought into her worldview, and she is the perfect pilot to speed the reader through the terrors and delights of a world submerged. The writing is as epic as the
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Light at the Bottom of the World is a book with a lot of heart, and a sensitive one at that. I found Leyla to be a wonderful main character; she was strong, determined, and so very afraid of the world around her, but that never stopped her from following her heart and doing what needed to be done. In a world full of strong female characters, there seems to be a lack of characters who are on the softer side of strong, more resilient and determined than battle ready and punching faces in, whic ...more
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Author London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain's capital city for most of her life via England's beautiful North. When she's not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she's most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Th ...more

Other books in the series

The Light at the Bottom of the World (2 books)
  • Untitled (Light the Abyss, #2)
“The human spirit didn’t drown. It was swept up and carried along; it flows still, the stream coursing its way through everyone’s lives.

I just have to find a way to beat the dread, that’s all.”
“The fear is all-encompassing, a deluge smashing into the deepest chasm inside us all.

Into the gaping gulf the floods created within us”
More quotes…