Teller lives in Safe with his adoptive family, those who have been rejected by the Above. But when a long kept secret comes back, it could destroy his Sanctuary and kill everyone he loves.
This book contained many elements that I normally would not enjoy. I’m not a big urban fantasy fan (I mean, there are plenty of urban fantasy series I enjoy, but it’s not my go to genre). I generally don’t enjoy male narrators or narrators that speak less than perfect English. And I like to be able to relate to the characters through shared experiences. But somehow, this book managed to suck me in completely and sucker punch me in the end, making me see stars.
The narration style took some getting used to, but it quickly became one of my favourite elements of the story. Teller’s way of speaking opens a window into his head. Despite living a very different life from him, I felt I could understand him. Teller doesn’t always make the right choice, but he makes the human choice. The characters in this story aren’t perfect people: they are very real people.
The book also hits on a lot of different themes, darker things that most people (including myself most days) would prefer to ignore. Homelessness. The treatment of those with mental illness, both past and present. Sexuality. How Native Americans are treated in Canada in the past and present. It wasn’t always a comfortable read, but it was a good one.
Besides, that last line through me for a loop. I love it when your entire perspective of a book can be changed all at once. I’ve had it happen to me before upon reading sequels, like The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood and The Last Envelope by Maureen Johnson and The Prince’s Tale chapter in Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. It’s the kind of thing that if you were to reread the book, suddenly it’s like reading a totally different story. The last line changed everything and left me with an ache in my heart where I wish a sequel (or maybe a prequel?) could be.
Books with similar aspects
Tithe by Holly Black
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
The Summer King by O.R. Melling
(note, these are all faery urban fantasy books, but Above is NOT a faery book)
recommended to Canadians and fans of urban fantasy
not recommended to those who can’t handle reading about violence or traumatic events
Don’t just take my word for it!
” Above is smart, well written and provides a captivating look at some of our societies most marginalized.” – Christa @ Hooked on Books
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