Thursday, July 31, 2014

Above by isla Morley review

Given my blog name, and the fact that it's a books blog of sorts (very general sorts, the kind of sorts that get cast in crowd shots in movies, or as zombies 55-67 in the Walking Dead) I've decided to give this whole reviewing thing another shot.

Anyway. First off the shelf so to speak, is Above, by Isla Morley.

It caught my eye in the bookstore, and given that it was payday and I lack moral fibre, I bought it, despite books costing HELLA MONEY here in New Zealand.

But the back cover promised me much, things like TRUST NO ONE in big shouty letters and something like NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS which led me to believe there would be an awesome plot twist.


Anyway. At 16, Blythe Hallowell is kidnapped by extreme survivalist Dobbs Hordin, who worked in her school library. He puts her in a silo, and plans for the end of the world.

So far, so interesting. But there were many things about Above that I couldn't get my head around.

Blythe herself, for one. She's a shadowy character, and it makes the book feel a bit slippery, as she's the one narrating the story. Dobbs is a pretty standard villain type, and while there are a few rants here and there about the impending end of the world, his reasoning isn't really fully explored. He does see Blythe as the saviour of the new world and basically as the mother of the new race to come. So, unpack that any way you like, but Above does get pretty dark.

Spoilers ahead I guess?

Above covers many years in the silo with Blythe - and eventually her son, Adam, and Dobbs, and it's all rather .... hopeless.

Until of course, Blythe and Adam escape finally, and head out into the real world.

Where the whole NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS thing comes in. I had the most trouble with this part of the book - it drags and sags a bit under the weight of the reveal that you know is coming and honestly if I were watching a movie, this is the bit I would fast-forward.

The premise of Above is interesting, and super-promising, but I feel like it falls short of that promise. It's a good idea, it just didn't quite come off for me.

Moral of the story: If a book has BIG SHOUTY WORDS on the back cover, don't believe the hype.

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