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Review: Above by Isla Morley

Above turned out to be one of those books I may have enjoyed more if I hadn’t known what was going to happen. (The publisher kind of sold this book short by giving too much away in the blurb.) Until the book’s halfway point I truly thought it had the potential to be my new best friend; it had some of my favourite story elements and provided such a simple yet original twist that bridged a gap between two genres.Now, I loved the first half. Wasting no time, we start with MC Blythe’s kidnap and we’re thrown into this new world with her and it’s excellently done. The bad guy was brilliant; he wasn’t your typical evil kidnapper: he had depths and he felt human. I kind of wish we had learned more about him in the end. Attention was, naturally, focused on the main character who I ended up really liking. I was worried that because we didn’t know a lot about Blythe beforehand we wouldn’t get to see her changes, but hell no I was wrong. Blythe was fantastically characterized; I loved her strength, I loved her realism. I did feel a connection there, which made it all the more emotional each time some new shit went down. It’s not my first time reading a psychological thriller” but by the gods I acted like a drama queen reading this book.

Yep, quite a few of these moments

Yep, quite a few of these moments

Though it could have done with a bit more survivalism, the first half had me completely hooked. But the second half was completely different, and this is where my book reviewing skills kind of fail me, as I have no way to adequately explain my frustrations without getting into spoiler territory. True, the released blurb of most editions of Above completely give it all away, but trust me you will enjoy the book a lot more if you don’t know.

Let’s just say the plot kind of unravelled. It was an excellent attempt to bridge two genres and it’s certainly what attracted me to the book in the first place, but it just didn’t work. It felt disjointed, try-hard, and was immediately apparent that Isla Morley’s strengths as a writer lie in the psychological and characterisation. And it’s such a shame though, because I thought it was such an incredible idea. Still absolutely worth reading for the first half alone. And maybe if you don’t read the full blurb you might end up liking the second half a bit more. I can’t guarantee anything, but I say it’s worth a shot.


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