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Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: ABOVE

Above is a fascinating tale that begins with an abduction and ends with a message of hope, forgiveness and freedom.



I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

Above drew me in quickly and held my attention until the very last page. Isla Morley describes Blythe's abduction by survivalist Dobbs and subsequent imprisonment in such great detail that at times I felt that I was with Blythe holding my breath as I waited in anticipation to see what horrors lie around the next corner.
    Morley did an incredible job of creating the character of Dobbs. I could tell that Dobbs thought he actually cared for Blythe despite what he did to her. Between his collection of tracks, his collection of 200 DNA samples from various animals, his seed collection and the manifesto he writes (not to mention abducting a teenage girl) certainly makes him come off as crazy. For the first part of the book I couldn't find a single redeeming quality about him. He is a wonderful villain.
    As Blythe plots how she can possibly escape over seventeen long years I found myself wondering what I would do in her place. Would I have the strength to fight to live after all the Blythe went through. My heart broke for her when Dobbs stole her innocence and then when she lost her first child. You don't blame Blythe for going a little crazy after that.

    As Blythe raises her second child, Adam, in the silo where she has been held all this time Morley shows how much Blythe has changed since her abduction. Now that she has another person to look after plans of escape have to be put aside. The sacrifices that come with motherhood are shown through Blythe's relationship with Adam over time.

    Part two of Above focuses on the world that Blythe and Adam encounter when they finally find a way to get out of the Silo,  and they find out that Dobbs had been telling the truth the whole time. The world Above is not the world Blythe left seventeen years ago and remembers.
    Facing a post apocalyptic world corrupted by radiation Blythe faces a whole knew set of challenges. Can she survive in this strange world? It is in the part two of Above that we really get to know Adam, who ends up being my favorite character in the book.

    Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to be born and raised underground? Never seeing the sun or breathing fresh air. This is Adam's reality. His childish innocence and wonder bring hope to a world filled with devastation. It is because of him that Blythe can find a way to move past what happened to them, face the challenges and disappointments that the world above provides and harnesses the hope to move forward in life.

    Above was a great, and at times a little bit odd, book. I happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense and post-apocalyptic novels.         


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