Below (North #1) by Alexandria Warwick

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Characters: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Pace: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Plot: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Themes: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Expected publication: February 4th, 2020 by Wolf Publishing

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.

Wow, this book was phenomenal!

I am hooked and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

The intricacy of the world building gave me goosebumps. I was able to recreate the Inuit world in my mind so easily because of the detail the book entailed.

The story line was great. The journey of self awakening that Apaay went on was so real and so relatable.

This hell had hardened Apaay, had all but destroyed what was good, but in her shattered state, had unearthed something buried long ago, stashed away out of fear, shame…she had found herself…She was enough.

What I liked About It: I really loved the exploration of Inuit culture and mythology. This is something that we do not get a lot (or enough) of. The explanation of how Apaay’s people receive their name is beautiful and added so much depth to the story.

Speaking of depth, the character development was so good! Each character, good or bad, was given their due diligence and the reader was able to begin to unravel the complexities of each. Even the demons had backstories that made their cruelty seem understandable and everyone can relate to the pain that they much be feeling.

I found myself surprised quite a few times during this novel. I pride myself in my ability to see things coming, but there were a few “oh, snap!” moments that had me devouring this book from end to end.

There was even one part within the story where I shed a single thug tear. Which says a lot, because I neeeeeever cry over books or movies (maybe I’ll make a blog post about this one day).

I really liked getting to know about the mythology that inspired this book. I think when an author has the ability to inspire readers to learn more about other cultures, beliefs, and stories outside of their own sphere of influence, it’s truly something special.

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