**Disclaimer: I was given a free ARC in exchange for an honest review from the author.**
Title Below (North #1)
Author Alexandria Warwick
Release Date February 4, 2020
Description from Amazon
In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth–nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.
When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face–yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.
Yuki only plays the games she wins.
I preordered this book a while ago because not only is there an amazing preorder incentive, the book sounds amazing. I absolutely loved Avatar the Last Airbender (the TV show, not the terrible live action movie, just to be clear) and this book gave me so many Water Nation vibes. In fact, one of the episodes deals with a face-stealing demon and I loved that. Turns out, Alexandria Warwick is a huge fan of the show herself! Anyway, long story short, she was looking for a few ARC readers on Instagram last week and I jumped at the chance.
Some Things I Liked
- Inuit inspired mythology. I love mythology and history. The culture and inspiration behind this story is one that I don’t know much about. I loved all of the names and the meaning behind them as well as the exposure to a new culture. I can’t wait to learn more about it.
- Apaay’s jokes. We have this book of Dad Jokes at work and they are all super corny and I loved that Apaay told equally corny jokes to everyone. They were superbly cheesy and I loved them all.
- Deaf and sign language representation. I thought the incorporation of a character with deafness as well as the utilization of sign language in the story was masterfully done. It can be difficult to create a fictional world and employ real world concepts but, it was done so well here.
- A story about finding oneself. Throughout the story, Apaay gives the reader glimpses of her past where she never feels like she is good enough. I really enjoyed her character growth throughout the story as she gained confidence and discovered her inner strength.
There is so much in the vast world created in Below and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these stellar characters. I will absolutely be continuing with this series.
I loved this book. It was the perfect book to start 2020 off with and I can’t wait for it to come out in February so the rest of the world can enjoy this amazing story. It was both unique and nostalgic. I found myself drawn into this rich world and very pleased to find that it connected so nicely to one of my favorite shows from childhood.
Thank you so much to the author, Alexandria Warwick, for sending me a copy of this amazing book. I loved every page.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- The Demon Race by Alexandra Warwick – ok, I haven’t read this yet, but now that I’ve read Below, I MUST READ HER OTHER BOOKS. Alexandria is an incredibly talented writer and I will definitely be reading anything else she writes.
- The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes – these books are quite different, but there was one very strong parallel between the main characters – their love of animals, particularly dogs. If you enjoyed Apaay’s respect for life, you will connect with Mayana from The Seventh Sun.
- Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson – if you liked the element of sisters who would do anything for each other, give this book by Sara B. Larson a read.