Last year I read The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick, which turned out to be an amazing read! It actually made me cry! So I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to read Warwick’s new book, Below!
Below by Alexandria Warwick
Pub Date: Feb 4th, 2020
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.
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 was provided an advanced copy by the author*
I really enjoyed reading from Apaay’s POV. I thought she was such an interesting character. She was someone who was always striving to be enough but finding herself continuing to let down those she wanted to impress the most. She had so much heart and love that she didn’t see just how spectacular she truly was.
I’m not very familiar with Inuit mythology, but I definitely want to know more after reading this book. I was definitely hesitant about reading this book because as far as I am concerned the author is not of Inuit descent (I may be wrong). However from what I read, I think the book is well researched and the use of magic and myth is very interesting. The Face Stealer was definitely my favourite character and the actual depiction of the effects of his powers was scary to think about as much as it was enthralling to read about! I also loved to hate Yuki! A villain in the form of a child with knowledge that extends generations, so so wicked!
I thought the story was very unique. It is a tale of sisterly love and self-discovery. There were so many moments of heartbreak and suffering, so be aware that this book definitely packs the punches and pulls the heartstrings!
The ending was satisfactory and yet not at the same time. And not in a bad way per se. I was very much pleased with the direction the story took at the end there, but I was also left wanting a lot more!!!
The pace is what really got me. The story is quite slow and quite repetitive. It is not exactly the fastest quest narrative because there are a lot of stalled moments. There are not many action scenes and the thrilling ones don’t last very long. A lot of the book takes a big focus on the mental and psychological state of Apaay as she goes through these devastating trials in her life, which was actually very interesting to read about. I had just hoped for a quicker movement and flow of the story.
Overall, this was a good story. It is definitely unique and something I have never read before. It is a story of sisterly love, of proving ones-self and myth all set in the cold, deep north. While the pace is slow, the psychological and emotional journey of Apaay is surely one to interest many!
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Recommend: Yes, especially since Apaay is such a great character!
Let me know what you think! What books have you read where you get deep into the minds of the characters? Are you more plot-driven or character-driven?