Review of Below (North #1) by Alexandria Warwick
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.
When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.
Yuki only plays the games she wins.
Below is the perfect snow-day read. Inspired by Inuit-mythology it follows a young woman searching to restore her sister’s identity and find her own self worth.
After Apaay’s village is attacked, she is horrified to learn that the whispered about Face Stealer, a demon of unknown power, has stolen her sister’s face. Feeling as though she is the only one who cares of her sister’s fate, Apaay ventures into the wild to find the Face Stealer domain and recover what was stolen.
Enriched with beautiful, descriptive prose and a fully-imagined frozen North, this book carries a narrative that is strongly character driven.
Apaay finds herself on a journey of self discovery and learns her own perceptions of wielding power and suffering aren’t quite as black-and-white as they seem.
My favorite character in this was the Face Stealer. He is incredibly complex and the whole time I was reading I couldn’t wait to get to the next scene that involved him. I constantly wanted to know more about his motivations, his history and loved the little glimpses we were given into his character.
I did find the plot to be somewhat slow initially and repetitive overall, it bogged me down a little here and there. However, I also feel as though this was an important part of part of Apaay’s journey. She was given many chances to achieve her goal and it was only through those chances that she ultimately came to the culmination of her journey in this story.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes next, with North. It definitely didn’t end how I expected, but I love the ending!
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Release date: February 4, 2020