It s really almost a 4 Very entertaining and engaging Has a lot of fighting but not much blood and gore No language and nothing to make you blush I will be passing along to my teenagers. Originally reviewed on The Book SmugglersAluna has lived her entire life all thirteen years under the sea She is one of the Kampii, a water born splinter group of humans that took to the oceans generations ago, to escape the death and wastes of the earth above Aluna loves the water and her people, but she s frustrated with the future that has been set for her with the Kampii Because their numbers are ever dwindling, all Kampii women are prohibited from the exciting and dangerous jobs like hunting and must focus on the important job of, one day, rearing children At the same time as the Kampii s population dwindles, their tech also starts to fail at an increasing rate every Kampii is given a shell that allows them to breathe underwater, powered by a mysterious source called HydroTek, created by wise and powerful ancestors many generations before Over the decades, the Kampii have lost the knowledge of their forebearers, trusting blindly that their technology will always remain in tact and provide for their needs so when shells start to fail and people start to die, Aluna is terrified at the stagnant, passive stance of the Kampii Elders Determined to fight for the future of her people, to stop others from dying needless deaths, Aluna decides to spurn the stance of her tribe leaders and searches for answers in the world above With her best friend Hoku, Aluna sets off on an adventure filled with hidden truths, fierce warriors, new friends, and terrifying enemies The first novel in a planned trilogy, Above World is a truly fantastic start to what might just be a new favorite series In other words I loved this book Set in a wonderfully imagined future world, solidly written, with memorable characters and strong central themes, Above World is pretty freaking awesome One of my favorite things about this book is the worldbuilding Set in a future version of our own Earth, Above World is, in fact, a post apocalyptic future dystopia of sorts The human race has fallen to overpopulation, plague, and strife in order to survive, humanity has used science to change their very physiology Some have taken to the skies, becoming winged Aviars with hollow bones and accustomed to high altitudes others have taken to the depths as Kampii, with fish tails, dense muscles and bones to withstand extreme deep, cold, and dark These different splinter groups adapted to different environments from desert planes to caves are fascinating, and even fascinating is the manner in which we learn about the fate of all these different groups and the ancestors who made the choice to embark on this post human future There are no huge info dumps, no awkward or inorganic relays of this data everything unfolds gracefully, smartly, over the course of the book While I m not sure that everything actually makes sense the easy adaptation that Aluna and Hoku have on land from a life spent in the sea, most notably in their speech and ability to move feels a little off , it doesn t really matter because there are plenty of other nuances that make the experience worth it Aluna discovering her speed on land for the first time during a sparring match, for example.I also love that to these characters Aluna, Hoku, Callie and Dash technology is akin to magic We see Hoku and Callie in particular struggle to understand the mechanics behind the tech from electricity to audio video, and a particular programmed robotic pet , but for the most part, the underlying principles of the technology that has shaped their different peoples and their future remains an advanced mystery It s a rather elegant solution, really, and one I appreciated wholeheartedly.From a character perspective, Above World also shines I love, love, LOVE Aluna She s impulsive and fearless, fiercely devoted to her people and to her friends but that doesn t mean she s flawless She acts without thinking and gets herself into a very big pickle by the end of the book The best thing about this She realizes that her constant rushing headlong into trouble can be a very bad thing Thankfully, her best friend Hoku the boy that tends to freeze in the face of danger, but has a huge heart and the brains to match tends to bail her out in the nick of time There s also Callie the Aviar, who struggles to fit in with her people and live up to her mother s legacy but who eventually does, in spades , and Dash the Equine, who is perhaps the least fleshed out of the main cast, but still a strong figure and foil to Aluna Of course, there are villains galore, too I don t want to spoil too much about them, except that they are pretty horrific I m talking borg esque, hybrid human mech animal parts nightmares And the identity of the villain Also pretty cool There are high stakes, and dark turns, andwell, I m excited to see what happens next Suffice it to say, I loved this book and I eagerly await book 2, Mirage Absolutely recommended, and a notable read of 2012. Thirteen Year Old Aluna Has Lived Her Entire Life Under The Ocean With The Coral Kampii In The City Of Shifting Tides But After Centuries Spent Hidden From The Above World, Her Colony S Survival Is In Doubt The Kampii S Breathing Necklaces Are Failing, But The Elders Are Unwilling To Venture Above Water To Seek Answers Only Headstrong Aluna And Her Friend Hoku Are Stubborn And Bold Enough To Face The Terrors Of Land To Search For Way To Save Their People But Can Aluna S Warrior Spirit And Hoku S Tech Savvy Keep Them Safe Set In A World Where Overcrowding Has Led Humans To Adapt Growing Tails To Live Under The Ocean Or Wings To Live On Mountains Here Is A Ride Through A Future Where Greed And Cruelty Have Gone Unchecked, But The Loyalty Of Friends Remains True From LJ write up.Goodreads synopsis Thirteen year old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony s survival is in doubt The Kampii s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people.But can Aluna s warrior spirit and Hoku s tech savvy keep them safe Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.I had a bit of trepidation starting this one, partly because it sounded a bit Under the seaaaa you all know the tune, right than I thought I was in the mood for, fun as that song is, and partly because it s middle grade instead of my usual YA But neither of those proved to be problems once I was just a short way in, and even if Aluna hadn t left her ocean home the clue was in the title very quickly, it would have been fine.Or accurately, if Aluna hadn t headed for land, followed quickly by Hoku One of the nicest things about the book is the journey companions, and the way these two friends pick up new ones along the way Hoku and Aluna are the classic polar opposite types of friends, with Aluna being the one who wants to be a warrior but isn t allowed to be, though at least she can train because of her brothers willingness to teach her , and Hoku utterly uninterested in fighting, but fascinated by technology It s nice that there isn t just this fairly standard twist in the grrrl being feisty and keen on fighting though, as the next companion to be added is Calli, an Aviar I ll get to the splinters soon , who s just as mechanically minded and smart as Hoku And with whom Hoku is immediately smitten, in a really sweet and funny portrayal of first love Hoku s internal musings on kissing were delightful Dash, who eventually joins the group, is or should have been an Equian word weaver And there s the utterly adoptable Zorro, a well, a very special raccoon, not to spoil anything.The world is complicated and fascinating As earth became over populated and life there unsustainable, big corporations including HydraTek invented bio engineering abilities to allow humans to exist under the sea, as with the Kampii and Deepfell in the air high above earth in the desert and elsewhere The Kampii refer to the Ancients, who gave them thick skin and strong bones to allow them to survive underwater, but also breathing shells, which attach to the necks and allow them to draw oxygen from the water But the breathing shells need power to function, unlike their other adaptations, and the Kampii don t have the technological abilities to generate that power in sufficient quantities, when the breathing shells start to fail.I thought this was all wonderful, and was quite happy to leave the details of the science aside for the most part I m happy to see the book as just as hybrid as the splinters, rather than being categorised as simply straight science fiction or fantasy I did have some quibbles occasionally, however One was about the group of Aviars Hoku and Aluna encounter and come to be allied with, Skyfeather s Landing This group is all female, and though there are other groups which are all male, the separate communities appear to have little interaction and there s nothing about men and women getting together for reproduction, let alone any kind of romantic interaction And yet mild spoiler alert Calli s interest in Hoku is as immediate as his for her, and in fact she kisses him first This isn t a major point, and I suppose I only noticed it because of the evolutionary science slant to the story The other problem I have is harder to address, because it is absolutely nothing intentional, and I could well be misreading anyway It s entirely possible that things that seem quibblesome now will be explained in future books in the series too That problem is the depiction of the Upgraders These are certain types of Humans, and in pasing, despite our human centric expectations, Humans are the beings with the least degree of humanity to them The name Upgrader comes from the fact that they make up for their missing or deformed body parts with a combination of techno bits generally adapted for violent purposes and parts stolen from other creatures It s not clear by the end of the book whether or not these Upgraders actually have choice about the killing and theft of body parts for their own use, or whether it s all the fault of a few arch villains But lines such as these do seem disturbing One of the riders had no legs at all Her torso seemed like part of the mechanical insect itself Did these misshapen creatures really share the same ancestors as the unadorned Humans in the boat The same ancestors as the Kampii and The Upgraders shuffled through the entrance corridor and into the room Another seemed to have bare feet, but they were made of dull black metal Even the toenails If the Upgraders were Humans once, they d left the legacy behind, as sure as the Kampii had left dry land It comes close to reading as if the misshapen bodies are indication of lack of humanity, though as I said, it s clear that nothing like that is intended, especially as one of the strengths of the book is the coming together of societies that have feared and even hated each other in the past.I am very much looking forward to the next book By which I mean the next book in the Above World series, rather than the next book in my 48 Hour Book Challenge I do hope it won t be too long a wait. 3.5 stars History is not a fixed truth It changes with the speaker.Jenn Reese s Above World is a story full of originality and creativity, turning the concept of underwater inhabitants into one with elaborate detail of diverse features But contrary to the previous statement, my biggest and sole problem with Above World was it s simplicity While it serves satisfactorily as a transition from middle grade to juvenile young adult, any reader used to or accustomed only to complex pieces of literature might find their minds wandering from the premise, and potentially require several tries to be drawn back to the world Reese created I felt as if details that could have been spared were withheld, and the world while intriguing has yet to be fully developed and fleshed out to it s extent However, the plot and characters did feel well executed and well planned, and the writing engaging There were many times where I was so submerged I HAD to make at least one lame water joke I had too It s like the world was begging me to in the story that I felt I actually belonged with Aluna and Hoku and was a part of their adventure.Aluna and Hoku were two very loyal, very likable characters A pair of best friends who were constantly traveling to new places, meeting new people or new species, and fending off new creatures I honestly grew quite fond of Aluna and Hoku by the end I did have minor issues with the telling not showing aspect of the book, but my complaints were kept at a minority because the problem did not have a strong hold on the entire novel It was only at certain scenes where the trait would reveal itself I mentioned my regards on the simplicity of Above World earlier, and I m going to touch upon that again, but in a positive light While I m not the biggest fan of it, the simple nature of the story does help make understanding unfolding events and revelations easy The development of the characters was solid, and I think many young readers will enjoy this sort of introduction to the vast containing dystopian genre Above World isn t a book I can freely recommend to everybody, but I would push it for parents who are looking for an appropriate face paced, entertaining, fun read for their child or children Now Above World is part of a series, of which it s sequel has been released, but I think I ll hold off on continuing so soon I ll definitely be purchasing a copy of Mirage, the second installment, one day, because I am interested to see where Aluna and Hoku s adventures will lead them next, but I m in no hurry But don t get me wrong I definitely enjoyed Above World and while maybe not right away, I will eventually get to the sequel to read and review for you guys And that s a promiseAn advance copy of this book was provided for review However, all opinions remain honest and my own Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.I was a little hesitant to pick up Above World by Jenn Reese despite the numerous glowing reviews and comments for it I had read It sounded dystopian, and I don t like dystopian Finally all the praise had me curious enough to pick it up Also it has a beautiful cover Yes, it does have some shades of dystopian, but this is a book that is so much than that Reese sets her story in a futuristic world that is so foreign that it could be another world entirely Into this she added myths and legends for the peoples she created All of these elements combined with engaging characters to make an adventurous tale of bravery, loyalty, and friendship.I was extremely impressed by the world building Extremely Reese created a future world in which pockets of humans who submitted to technological changes in their biology to adapt them to live in places humans normally couldn t inhabit High altitudes, the desert, underwater Centuries have passed since the pioneers of these colonies started them Their descendents are reliant upon the technology that changed them and now that technology is failing From the underwater home of Aluna and Hoku to the sky residence of the Aviars to the wild forests of the land, Resse did a phenomenal job describing them all and bringing them to life She also gave just enough background to make the place believable and to demonstrate the motivations of those long ago pioneers who brought this world into being I found it particularly interesting that, while this is a futuristic story and the civilizations in it rely on extremely advanced technology and science, the pocket groups that live in the various places have developed their own myths and legends for their people over the intervening centuries Aluna and Hoku are contrasting characters, and this story belongs to both of them Aluna is a brave warrior who often leaps in before she thinks Both in action and words Hoku is cautious and strategical in what he does often to the point of inaction Together they make a great team because they force each other to be less extreme in their personalities Aluna s leaving Coral Kampii causes Hoku to leave as well He may never have been moved to action but for her rebellion At the same time Hoku s critical thinking saves Aluna from her own reckless heroics than once I loved this part when they were being pursued and cornered by enemies Then I ll stay, Aluna said Besides if anyone was going to sacrifice herself for the greater good, it was going to be her How about none of us stay, said Hoku.He then proceeds to create a distraction that enables them to escape This short interaction perfectly sums up both of them and how they work as a team I really enjoyed the fact that their relationship was 100% a friendship Not that there is no hint of romance There is, just not between the two of them They meet in their journeys Calli, a young Aviar, and Dash, an exiled Equine, who provide them with romantic interests I felt this was yet another strength of the novel This is a MG novel and the characters are 12 13 Dash may be a little older I m not sure and Reese did an excellent job of describing the innocent giddy stirrings of young love and all its confusion experienced at this age She hobbled over and sat a foot or so away from Dash, close enough but not too close At least that s what she hoped he would think Had he wanted her to sit closer andHe sat next to Callli, grateful that she never seemed to mind Her hand rested on the ground just a few millimeters from his And yetthose millimeters meant everything Would he ever be brave enough to cross that distance.These feelings of young attraction and romance are kept to a minimum and never overshadow or detract from the greater conflict playing out And Calli and Dash are both interesting characters with fascinating backstories in their own rights, separate from their romantic functions They are both important members of this team that has formed and bring their own strengths to the quest to save the Kampii The conflict faced by Aluna and Hoku started out small as the world they came from, and grew bigger as their world grew bigger and they realized the importance of needing and working with others There is a lot of food for thought about ethics in technology and bio engineering here The story does not force this on the reader, but a thoughtful reader will certainly have much to chew on after reading this Most of all it is an enjoyable adventure about kids who are brave enough to challenge their world and fight for the future and hope I m very excited to see where the story will be going in the second book, which is called Mirage and is expected to be published in 2013. I was skeptical about this story when I picked up the ARC But it won me over with a fantastic dystopian world, strong, unique characters, and great suspense This is a must read for fantasy and scifi fans of all ages Somehow Reese has managed to combine The Little Mermaid with an action dystopian It sounds crazy, I know But it works oh so well It s not just mermaids, though, there are harpies, centaurs, even half dolphin half human creatures we don t even have a name for All have their own unique society and culture that blends seamlessly without being overwhelming There s almost a Gulliver s Travels vibe at some points as our main characters move from place to place into different worlds The characters themselves are phenomenal Aluna reminded me a lot of Tris from Divergent She has an innate strength and self sufficiency that cannot be dominated Her need to protect the people she loves sees her through incredible trials and dangers She is an admirable role model for young women readers At her side is the adorable, geeky Hoku, a young absent minded professor who possesses the same strength of character and heart that Aluna does I related to him instantly as the kid who s too smart to have friends his own age, but he proves his strength over and over again The secondary characters are never lacking in development, and the romance is understated and perfectly young in its depiction Boys and girls alike will find something, and someone, to love here The suspense doesn t let up for a page The author s experience with martial arts enriches the fight scenes with just the right amount of detail The world is at stake, and the story never loses sight of that, but there are also intense moments of one on one life or death battles All of them written with a very readable style that is accessible to younger readers but never bores adults As with all good dystopians, this book has some significant things to say about the state of our modern world In the end, this story is about the world coming together despite our differences It manages to be a post apocalyptic story with a message of hope Highly recommended for basically everyone Above World was an interesting mix of mythological creatures and our modern world of technology You ll find mermaids and computers in one breath I was pleasantly surprised by the dystopian undertone to it all that gave it some wonderful depth In this fascinating world that Jenn has built, there are several cultures based on mythological creatures that descended from humans when there wasn t room left on the earth for them to live These new cultures live in the sea and the sky and other places that humans couldn t live Some little details from our current world are mixed into the story which gives it a post apocalyptic feeling and it also lets you see our world in a different way My favorite example of this was Hoku talking about his magic plate but he says it used to be called magnets You come across several fascinating cultures on the journey and they were so creative and distinct Curiosity about this world is what kept me reading I liked this book overall, but the writing felt stiff and the story was a little over told if that makes sense The writing just didn t flow well and it didn t pull me in The ending has some closure, but there s a lot left to tell and a lot of the world is still unexplored It was an enjoyable read and I think kids will especially like this story.This book is also reviewed on my blog Books A true story This book has got to be one of the best dystopians I have managed to get my hands on The world created by Author Jenn Reese is rich and extremely detailed as well as varied The reader meets the main characters, Aluna and Hoku, right off the bat They are both very likable and make nice foils for each other Aluna is far impetuous and inquisitive while Hoku is cautious and shy The two seem like an unlikely pair, but their differing personalities add to their charms Aluna and Hoku are part of the Kampii, a tribe of humans living underwater The author describes a human history filled with error, one that caused humans to seek alternative living styles due to the overcrowded typical environment Aluna and Hoku are off to a rough start at the beginning of the novel, Aluna s volatile temperament costs her several reprimands and the chance at a tail at least until next year Outraged, Aluna decides to take control over her own destiny and possibly help her people There have been some strange occurrences regarding the Kampii breathing devices, they appear to be breaking down Aluna decides to try to figure out the mystery behind them and why they are breaking.The secondary characters in this novel are among the most memorable I have ever read The author creates them to be incredibly dynamic and they each have stand out characteristics that will make the reader want to get to know them The events of this novel are exciting and innovative, the author puts the reader in a scary alternative world The characters will act as the readers guide to so many different places described so amazingly well by the author Readers of all ages will love to delve into this novel. A fun and imaginative middle grade fantasy adventure I went into it knowing I d love the martial arts, but it was the characters that really won me over I loved how honorable Aluna and her friends are and loved seeing how they supported and helped each other.
She Her I write stories for readers of all ages My next book is A GAME OF FOX SQUIRRELS coming from Henry Holt in April 2020 ABOVE WORLD is the first book in my middle grade series from Candlewick and was a finalist for the 2012 Andre Norton Award The trilogy continues in MIRAGE and finishes in HORIZON.
- 356 pages
- Above World
- Jenn Reese
- 14 February 2019 Jenn Reese