Three hundred years ago, a lethal and mysterious threat arose and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now, a small remnant – the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the massacre below – lives above the clouds, atop a mountain. When they discover their water supply is being poisoned, an expedition, including seventeen year-old Icelyn Brathius, must descend and face the horror that wiped out civilisation centuries ago.
As Icelyn faces dangers in a world humans are not meant to survive, she learns that not everything is as it seems, uncovers an ancient revelation, and faces a choice that will change the fate of everyone above and below the clouds. Will Icelyn be strong enough to survive – and bear a terrible secret?
This is a unique and intriguing story set in two worlds, one is set on the Mountain Top where three centuries ago civilisation fled to escape from the terrors in the Threat Below. There is some fantastic world building and a large and varied character constellation with some wonderful twists and suspenseful moments. Additionally, the creatures created are terrifying, but for some reason I found myself empathising and rooting for them towards the end and I loved the emotional connection the author created between them and Icelyn.
The book is lengthy but the writing is kept simple and therefore it is easy to read and the short chapters help the reader to keep focus and follow the story. I do think the book is a tad too long and there are some unnecessary chapters and dialogue, which could have been omitted. It’s quite a complex story and there is a lot of information to take in at the beginning in terms of names, places and history. Because of this the first half of the book is a little slow going and it wasn’t until the story began in the world below the mountain that I really began to engage. The book got so much better the deeper into the storyline and I enjoyed the second half so much better than the first half. I would have preferred the plot to focus solely on Icelyn and follow her adventures, I didn’t like the flitting to and fro between worlds. The little illustrations at the beginning of each of the chapters are a clever addition and make it clear which world you are in.
Overall, I enjoyed this debut novel and it’s unique post-apocalyptic world. It is ingenious and inventive and I found it a refreshing change from the usual YA dystopian fantasy novel.
Pictured above are books one and two in the Brathius History series, I have yet to read the second book.
Rating: 3 stars
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Thank you to the author, Jason Latshaw, for a copy of this book, which was published in 2015.
✿ 𝓚𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓷 ✿