Book Review: Above by Isla Morley


This book is okay. The main problem I had with this book is that it feels like it’s two books crammed into one. The first half deals with the kidnapping and the captivity of Blythe while the other half deals with the aftermath of the escape. The biggest issue I had with this is that the tone of the book changed instantly. I would have much preferred it to be a gradual change because it made the book feel inconsistent.

Plot: I definitely preferred the first half of this book. It seemed less rushed. It certainly made me gasp and feel horrified. It’s about a girl named Blythe who is kidnapped by the school librarian and paranoid prepper, Dobbs. The first half of the book tells the story of her years in captivity. I thought this was quite well done for the most part. The next half of the book is about what happens after the escape. I won’t give away anything, but it seems as if there is something to what Dobbs was saying after all.

I like that this book makes you think. It deals with captivity, hatred, finding hope, forgiveness, and belonging. However, the writing is a quite messy sometimes and jumps around a lot which was quite distracting. I found myself having to reread things which definitely took away from the story. And overall, I wanted to feel hope. In captivity stories, hope should be one of the main aspects of the story, but I didn’t feel that here. For the most part, all I felt was horror and fear which I was not fond of.

Characters: I had a big problem with Blythe. Her emotions and reactions didn’t feel quite real, and I couldn’t connect with her, and in a book about captivity, this connection is essential. For quite a while I thought this was set a long time ago because Blythe is very old-fashioned, but it turns out that’s not the case.

I also had a problem with her son, Adam. I understand that Adam has never seen the world above the silo, so he is very innocent and naïve, but it was just too much. Adam makes a lot of stupid mistakes like calling attention to them when they’re trying to escape. He is too childlike. For example, there is a scene where they must keep walking and avoid being followed and pursued, and Adam sees a dog. No matter how much his mother tells him no and that it would only hinder their progress, Adam is stubborn and wants the dog. Adam is hardheaded and naïve to the point of being irritating.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. I’m not a big fan of the writing because I feel it’s a bit jumpy and messy, but I did like reading about the silo years. It made me feel fear, hope, hatred, and love. I definitely would have liked more consistency from this book and more realistic characters. This book says that it is a cross between Room and Lovely Bones, but I feel as if it is more like Room, so I would recommend this to people who liked Room. I can see the appeal, but it just wasn’t for me.


Book Review: ARV-3 by Cameo Renae


It seems as if those infected with the ARV-3 serum survived the apocalypse, but there were major side effects. There was something in the serum which caused them to mutate. They have become violent cannibals.

The creature was completely hairless, and its skin creased with countless wrinkles, appearing scabrous and leathery. It was horribly pale. Purplish blue veins protruded and snaked all over its body.

You can probably tell that this is a book about an apocalyptic world where a virus has spread. A serum that was supposed to save the people that were not fortunate enough to get to a hive underground turned them into cannibalistic monsters instead. Think The Walking Dead but with faster zombies/mutants.

Overall, I thought this book was okay, but damn did I love the scenes with the mutants, called Arvies. I love the action, the chase, and the feeling of being trapped. This book got me in the mood to read other zombie books because it keeps you on your toes. You never know when an Arvy is going to pop out of nowhere, and eerily enough they’re not brainless. They communicate. That was, hands down, the best part of this book. There were guns. There were swords. There were bombs. In other words, I love the action.

For this reason, it is a shame that the second half of this book took such a drastic turn. It went from being a kickass survival story into an average teen drama.  Action was still there at times, but I wasn’t kept in suspense. I wasn’t itching to read what was next because it didn’t have the same feel or atmosphere at all. I would have easily given this book a three or four stars, but because of how average I thought the latter part of the book was, I cannot bring myself to do so.

Just as I had it focused in my sites, its milky white eyes snapped up to me. What the –? It took me off guard, and was freaking me out, because its eyes never left me. It suddenly bared its teeth, and then… It held up its decrepit fingers, like a gun, and pretended to shoot me!

This is the kind of stuff you find in the first half of the book.

“OMG! Are they hot?” She whispered giddily, taking hold of my shoulders.

I hesitated. OMG. Was she serious?

OMG! Was he freaking serious.

This is the kind of stuff you find in the second half of the book. Abi, the main character, and her friend Tina are constantly snickering and giggling, and it just takes away from the whole feel of the book. OMG yeah.

The romance in this book wasn’t very interesting. I just never had a chance to see them as being romantically involved before the main character spelled it out for the reader. What happened to subtlety? I do, however, love the tight-knit group. Even though they’re not all blood related, they act as a family, protecting one another no matter what, and it’s very touching. I love the family dynamic going on here, and it’s one of the best parts of this book.  Plus, Abi is pretty kickass.

Overall, I am interested in seeing how this plays out, but at the same time, it’s not on my top priority. In the next installment, more action and Arvies would be great.

A tear trailed down my face as we stepped further and further away from our past and headed north toward our future.