Below by Jason Chabot
Age Group: YA
Publisher: Turner Publishing company
Publication Date: July 6, 2016
No one but the dead dare venture Below . . .
The first volume in this thrilling trilogy opens on the barren plains of Below, where Hokk and his fox sidekick, Nym, live in exile amid the remnants of our modern age.
Overhead, on the floating islands of Above, Elia is trapped in a life of endless toil and drudgery as a laundress for the Mirrored Palace. To Elia, the islands’ edges are borders that no one dares cross until the ancient ritual that delivers the dead to Below. But a series of natural disasters rumbling through Above sends Elia’s world crashing into Hokk’s—and she falls Below.
Their journey together will propel them across endless plains and through shattered cities in a centuries-old battle for the very earth and sky around them . . .
I absolutely loved this novel. This was exactly the kind of novel that I find myself unable to put down. From the setting, to the characterization and the plot, I loved every minute of it. The author, Jason Chabot, created a beautiful debut novel that has left me wanting more.
The world that Jason Chabot creates in complex, unique, and fantastical. The author has a way of giving the reader just enough information about this futuristic world to keep them hooked and wanting more. I found myself often comparing the setting of this novel to the real world. Many of the modifications that he describes are very possible, some on the other hand are not, but it all comes together into an intriguing futuristic world.
The plot of the novel was as unique as the world he created. Every page was filled with trials and tribulations for both of the characters, that the reader is immediately drawn in. I found myself waiting patiently as I read trying to put pieces of the puzzle together and figure out what was going to happen, each time I failed to anticipate the authors next move. I am still waiting to try and piece together some of the mysteries surrounding the characters and the world they live in.
By far my favorite part of the entire novel is the characters themselves. They both come from such strikingly different environments, but both face very difficult lives. I found them both to be very interesting and complex characters. Elia seems very quiet and mousy at first, but as the reader continues into the novel they learn just what strength she truly possesses. With Hokk, we start off with a very stoic warrior architype, but the reader soon learns there is far more to him that what meets the eye. The two could not be more different, but they complement each other beautifully.
Chabot’s novel is written from both Elia and Hokk’s points of view. In so doing we get to see two very different angles for the story. Both of the characters have different motives, different mind sets, and different reactions to everything. This technique really allows the reader to see both sides of the world, and gives them more perspective than if the book was just written from one perspective. I tend not to like novels that have multiple perspectives, but in this case Chabot pulled it off beautifully.
In total Chabot created a novel with an amazing story line, great characters, and a very imaginative setting. The book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I am absolutely hooked; I cannot wait for the next book.