Arthur A. Levine Books
368 pages (Hardcover)
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.This is a classic case of beautiful cover, not-so-great book.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before. (From Goodreads)
I saw this book in Chapters one day, and experienced some insta-love for the cover. It's Toronto?!?! YA books are never set in Toronto! I had a feeling though, that this book wouldn't be a favourite of mine, so I never bought it until recently.
The story is complex, confusing and underwhelming. By chapter 5, I had had enough. There is some world-building, but it all seems so vague and poorly explained. I found myself constantly guessing about the setting and what was going on. The character felt very flat. Even Ariel, who seems like she is supposed to be wild and eccentric, felt quite bland.
The writing itself had the potential to be quite powerful. Leah Bobet has a sophisticated, mature writing style with, as I said, potential. I feel that much of that may be lost on the YA market, however.
I have a thing about finishing books, so I do plan on going back to Above in the future. Sadly, I just don't have the patience for it now.
Much love, Samantha