At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.
When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.
Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.
I listened to this book via Audiobooks on Spotify. I was not required to write a review therefore, all comments and opinions are entirely my own.
In a futuristic world, where the oceans have risen to the point that everyone must live underwater, technology makes it possible to survive, and even thrive, amidst the sea creatures at the bottom of the world.
I am completely, and utterly in awe at how talented this debut author is at capturing emotion, descriptions, images, metaphors, world building, just wow! I don’t believe I’ve ever been so engrossed into a world before, much less the story and characters themselves. I hung onto every word of this book. I was scared to breathe too loudly for fear I’d miss something important (I listened to this book on Spotify). So much happened between the first chapter and the last that I feel as if I binged an entire season of my new favorite TV show, and now I’m in anguish that the next season isn’t out yet. Seriously, I’m in need of book 2 right now.
There is so much to say about The Light at the Bottom of the World. The world, almost entirely submerged underwater, is so beautiful even in its destruction. In this world, which takes place primarily in Britain, there is a lot that is still so familiar to us because the names of the countries and cities is kept by the new generation, yet it’s vastly different in that it is shrouded in mystery and unknowns to the characters. The “old world”, as they refer to the time before the flooding, is like a dream to them and in a way, can be like a dream to the readers too with how in depth the author thought about this world. She doesn’t create a world just so that her characters’ stories make sense, she creates a world purely because she loves it. The world building had just as much tender, love, and care as the characters themselves. And the fact that the author was so comfortable in her storytelling to slow down and describe the world how she did, with the focus on beauty amidst brokenness, it was truly remarkable. I haven’t seen anything quite like it before.
Fear has immobilized us, and it might be turning us into monsters. Fear of those different than us has caused the slaughter of so many innocent(s)…
The characters, my gracious, they were so real to me. The book is told in first person by Leyla McQueen. We don’t read any other switching character perspectives, and frankly, I liked it that way. So many books switch in and out of perspectives to get as much information crammed into the book as possible, but it wasn’t like that with this book. We are with Leyla for the entirety of the story, and once again, the author was comfortable enough with her storytelling that that is truly all we needed. There was never a need for a chapter in the perspective of the enemy to let the reader have an idea of what would happen next, or another character to hint at or explain something else; it was all done in Leyla’s perspective. And thinking back on every little thing that I just read and how perfectly it all fit into place with only one character perspective, as a writer, my mouth is agape in admiration.
And the details, oh my goodness, all of the details! I swear, I feel like I just watched a TV show and watched it all happen before my own eyes, not listened to an audiobook! Ari, her guardian and friend. Jojo, her puppy. Oscar, the hologram navigator (this was seriously my favorite feature, especially after having just read Oscar Wilde’s book The Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s so accurate to how I imagined Oscar Wilde!) The anthropoids, the scary monsters of the sea. And just, everything about this book is literally perfection.
The last thing that I do want to mention about The Light at the Bottom of the World, is that if you get the chance to listen to it on Audio, the narrator, Shiromi Arserio, is absolutely wonderful! She truly brings the listener into the story and her way of characterization just truly made the book spot-on!
So, without the shadow of a doubt, The Light at the Bottom of the World receives a full 5 out of 5 stars from me and I truly can’t wait until the next book comes out!
TRIGGER WARNING: There is a struggle of suicide amongst many characters and some do succeed in their actions. There is a decent amount of cursing (both American and English curse words), consisting primarily of the smaller curse words, only three or four of the larger ones. The action, blood, and gore is decently high though not overwhelming or nauseating. There is little to no romance throughout the entire book until almost the last few chapters, and only one, semi-detailed kiss at that. As for spiritual content, the primary religion is Muslim (Leyla’s parents are of Afghan descent) and there are mentions of reading the Koran, praying to Allah, some conversations of missionary work, and the presence of missionaries in one scene (which I actually found very refreshing!).