Secrets Above

Secrets Above by Amy M. Ward & Olivia Cayenne is an ... interesting book, written by a mother/daughter pair who actually live in the same town I do. I stumbled across the book pair in our library and thought it looked interesting enough for a read:

When the world becomes chaos, a group of people go into hiding in a large bunker. 90 years later, they are still there. But what if they want out? What if the government is lying to them about the outside world?

Sounds kinda neat, right? Definitely has some similarities to other dystopia fantasy novels. It was written in a first-person perspective - we really only know what (Ame)Lia is thinking, or how she thinks that other people are thinking. That would be fine, but there were definitely some glaring inconsistencies that I had to struggle to suspend my disbelief so I could finish the story. Probably the most obvious is that we hear about how aggressively controlling the government is (think a combination between District 13 from the Hunger Games and the gov't in Soylent Green), and how brutally they punish people, and then we hear that the population gets a rest day from work each week, and Lia's unexplained absence from an entire day of class goes without comment.

That's really where I struggled to enjoy this book. I liked the premise, I liked a lot of the tension and some of the plot points... and that they actually produced a book! I mean, how many people can say they're even authors, even if the book might benefit from a severe editorial knife? You probably can't, and neither can I (yet). Maybe I'm mostly disappointed that none of their advance readers were able to give constructive criticism. It feels like if you had someone take a single pass over the book taking notes of inconsistencies that most of the glaring issues with the book would have been resolved.

I was talking about a different book with my wife that had a similar issue, and I said that my biggest beef with these books is when they write things that nobody would do ever.

Like be a controlling dystopian government that allows your people a day off work each week. What's that about?

Or have a very sexist male oriented government that allows female children to just walk around wherever they want? Not really sure how that one is supposed to work.

Anyway, if you think critically about your books, or you have a hard time suspending your disbelief, then you probably won't enjoy this book. Otherwise, check out Secrets Above by Amy M. Ward & Olivia Cayenne!

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