Above World (#1)
By: Jenn Reese
Review by: Kaede
Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: ARCycling (Thank you, ARCycling!)
Other Titles in the Series: Mirage (#2)
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.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 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.
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 more 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 promise.
3 and ½ coffee cups!
**An advance copy of this book was provided for review. However, all opinions remain honest and my own.**