Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Above by Isla Morley

Title: Above
Author: Isla Morley
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Gallery
Publish Date: March 4, 2014 (Today!)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a speculative fiction fan.
  • You like dystopian books.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "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."

My Two Cents:

"Above" is a dystopian story about Blythe, a teen who is captured by Dobbs, a conspiracy theorist and a prepper. His fears of the world as they know it actually seem to be founded and while he hides Blythe away in a missile silo, terrible things are happening above. This book thoroughly freaked me out. If you are looking for dystopian or speculative fiction to keep you on your toes, this book might be a good pick for you.

I really liked the storyline in this book. I love dystopian books because of the way that they creep me out. I love books that make me think and dystopian always seems to do that for me. The characters in the book were key for me. I loved that Dobbs in the book was actually on to something and that he wasn't just worried about nothing. His character is truly creepy in this book, especially with regard to the way that he takes Blythe away and what he puts her through. I really liked how strong Blythe was and I loved that the book was told from her point of view, which really allowed me to dive right in.

This book started with a bang and really made me think. It slowed down for me during the third part although I really liked seeing how Blythe's story finished. This isn't something that you often get. This book covers a large amount of time. It covers from the time that Blythe was in her teens until she is in her mid to late 30s. This means that some parts in her life are glossed over a little bit and I wanted to understand more about how Blythe goes from fighting to escape to simply seeming to give up and not think about freedom anymore.

Overall, this book will be great for those who want a dystopian with good world building!

Guest Post with Isla Morley:

I am very excited to welcome Isla Morley here to A Bookish Affair today!

People always liken inspiration to a light bulb going on, but they’ve got it all wrong.  Inspiration blows all the fuses in the brain.  You go from being a rational, reasonable person who has been taught to have five-year plans and speak in bullet points to a blithering mess.  You sit in the dark, at a complete loss, trying to keep that blinding spark from becoming a distant memory.  In a panic, you fumble for a pen and a scrap of paper.  You write something that makes absolutely no sense.  “I am a secret no one is able to tell.” Somewhere in the distance there is a task that needs completing, there is a voice you recognize—a husband, perhaps—calling from a doorway a thousand light years away.  You write another sentence, except it isn’t really a sentence because there are too many verbs and not enough punctuation.  In fact, you can’t be sure it’s English.  All you can be sure of is that one searing image that put you in the dark in the first place.  

A woman, not much more than a girl, is in a cavernous shaft hundreds of feet underground.  She isn’t crying anymore, or fighting against the madman who brought her here; she is decorating her dungeon with tinfoil so her little boy will wake up to winter wonderland and she can say, “Son, this is snow.”  She has yet to figure out how to teach him about daylight, wind, streams, mud, the moon.  Soon, she must make up the most brilliant story about why they are being kept below before he gets any older and begins to dash his head against the steel door in desperation.  He must not want to go Above because he might never get the chance.  A fable is what he needs, not the facts.

If I was someone who put all my trust in reason, in statistics, in what can be quantified with pipettes and beakers and pie-charts, I would have turned my back on that image.  Instead, I wrote from an impossible darkness, see-sawing between exhilaration and panic, for three years.  ABOVE is what I have to show for myself.  Inspiration, like falling in love, insists you risk it all.  It won’t give you time to fill out your pros and cons columns, or get your ducks in a row, or pay down your debt.  It’s useless trying to squint into the future and see if you’re assured a favorable outcome because distance becomes irrelevant in the dark.  Instead, inspiration will have you do the outrageous.

My story has been written.  All the lights are on again in my brain, and I can walk around without putting my hands in front of me and patting the air.  I breathe better.  My heart has found a nice resting beat.  With all this light, a person can be tricked into thinking she can see what’s on the horizon, plan for it, certainly worry about it.  There’s only one remedy: inspiration.  Hope it comes soon and trips the fuse.
One lucky winner will win a copy of Above (U.S. only)! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like a pretty good story to me. Covering so many years in Blythe's life must be a challenge to write. I'd like to see how it all works out. Thanks.

  2. I just saw this book at B&N today. The cover looks like a piece of artwork. It's beautiful. -Suzy


  3. I like stories with strong heroines and Blythe looks like a tough one.

  4. Wow! This one sounds really good...and a little scary! Love the cover! Thanks for the chance to win it!


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