Thursday, 8 January 2015

Those Above

Those Above
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of GoodReads
For Fans Of: Game of Thrones

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

So this is another, where I can't come up with a better synopsis that won't be full of spoilers, so you guys get the GoodReads one! I was lucky enough to win a copy of this from a GoodReads giveaway and I couldn't wait to get stuck in, and I honestly wasn't disappointed, and dammit, this is another series to add to my favourites and anxiously await the next installments of. 

The world building for this is truly incredible. The world is so detailed and extensive, and I just need to see more of it, not that you don't see a good chunk of it in this installment, but plenty of other parts of the world are mentioned, and I'm so curious to see what those places are like as well! The world is so well described, that I could picture everything that was described in vivid detail, it's like the world and the landmarks and the cities came to life in front of my eyes. I could also, very clearly, picture the map of the world that I'm assuming is going to be included in the finished copies of the novel! I hope I'm right and have everything correct in my own map! 

Normally I detest books being described as "like so and so", but I can't argue with the fact that Game of Thrones fans are going to love this, this is very different from Game of Thrones, but has the epic fantasy feel to it, and the sweeping journey and incredible world, not to mention the colourful cast of characters, some on opposing sides, who are all entwined by the events that are going to happen and have happened. It's premise, however, is unique, and unlike any other fantasy I have a read, and the premise is only one reason that I have found myself totally obsessed with this new series! 

There are different points of view, from different types of people, and from all of these you see both sides of the impending war between Those Above and the Aeleria, and you see different classes of people, all involved in different things, so you get a wide scope of characters showing you different parts and aspects of the world, different things happening and so on. Each point of view is important, and adds to the story, adding more threads to the plot, helping you get to know the characters, get to know the world and it's different sides. 

Everything about this book is intricate, the world and it's details are intricate, with an intricate and detailed history and politics and customs and so on and so forth, not to mention the stories mentioned. This book is so incredibly different, and it's this difference that is going to add a breathe of fresh air to the genre, and keep people reading and longing for more. It's a hard world to leave, you just want to stay submerged in it, once it sucks you in it's hard to get out! 

Like I said, the characters are colourful, I particularly loved Eudokia, she's kind of a bitch, but she's also so intelligent and a total badass, like the whole burning house thing and what happened and how she dealt with it and she wasn't screaming or freaking out, it was so awesome, I was wary of her at first, thinking oh maybe she's the bad guy, and maybe she is, but she is, so far, my favourite character! She's crazy smart and pretty much orchestrating everything and is a master at manipulation. So awesome. Calla I was a bit like "hmmmm" she has the potential to be interesting, but so far she hasn't piqued my interest, I mean she's up to something, she knows the language she isn't supposed to, but she seems a bit too much in thrall with Those Above and a bit of a wet the moment. I have a feeling that's going to change, she is our insight in to Those Above, as she works for one of them, but I have a feeling she's going to be a character to watch. 

Bas, I so want to now more about Bas and his past and his past battles! Although I do wish he'd smack the Dycian one, like seriously, he needs a good smack up the head! He's quite the badass as well, and I can see him and Eudokia plotting together, because I'm really hoping he's going to end up working with her, like more than he did in the brief bit at the end you know?  he is after all going to be planning the war, and most likely leading it, as the only person to have killed one of Those Above. Eudokia is all about revenge against Those Above and these two, plus Thistle are making up the oppressed who, understandably, want to be not oppressed. Thistle is kind of a criminal? He lives in the lowest rung of the Roost and ends up working for a criminal and then he turns in to a killer, but then he ends up going to this guy who I can't make my mind up about, he's clearly against Those Above. The thing is, the end leaves you wondering, because it's like "what the hell". But yeah. Awesome characters. Even Irene who seriously? Should have been smacked one. 

My point being that the secondary characters where just as well written, and full of depth as the main characters, Irene and her plotting, and then my other favourite character, Jahan, casually has a blade sticking out of him and it's like he doesn't even feel it. I would love to know even more about him! He's totally awesome as well! 

As you can probably tell, you see different groups, with Bas you see the Soldiers and the upcoming Legion, with Thistle you see the people of the lowest rung of the Roost, treated horribly by Those Above, and the criminals that dwell there, as well as the stirrings of rebellion, with Calla you see Those Above and some of the people of the higher rungs as she works for one of them, so you see the inner workings of Those Above, and what they're plotting and planning and their politics, aaand with Eudokia you see the inner workings and the bickerings and the manipulation of the people who are going to start the war and lead the revolution. 

It did take me a few chapters to get a grip on everything and start to get everything in order, who was what and so on, and I'm still not entirely sure I'm correct, but it's quite possibly supposed to be like that. The book does require concentration as there's a lot of information to take in and remember and store away for the rest of the book and the rest of the series, I would imagine, but it's no less enjoyable, said information isn't just dumped in one chapter for you to struggle through, you get bits and pieces as and when the situation arises that requires you to know about it. 

So as you can imagine, the plot is very complex, there's multiple things going on to get our characters where they need to be, this installment is setting the scene and setting the pieces up, and therefore setting up the next book, but this is going on subtly while we're following the plot for this installment, and doesn't take away from the book. It's hard to explain, but as you're reading about the characters and their individual stories and situations and what's happening to them, you don't realize they're heading to a certain place so they're in position for the next book...until you've finished reading if that makes sense? Underneath the different plots as it where, there's the underlying plot that there's a war coming, and it's being set up and there's a revolt being set in place in the capital itself. I know I suck, really suck at explaining this, but the plot was fantastic, there where lots of different threads and subplots all woven together to create this engaging and interesting book that you can't put down. 

I loved the uniqueness of the book, with Those Above, and the world and the different types of people and the Roost, and the significance of the birds, even if birds do reaaaallly creep me out with their dodgy beady, evil eyes. 

There was always something going on, even if you didn't pick up on it at once, and so the book was one where you find it difficult to find a place to stop, so ya know...I read it in one go and finished it at a ridiculous time! Standard. The book ends leaving you intrigued, and invested in the characters and what's going on and what's going to happen to them, you don't want to leave any of it behind and the ending will seriously leave you like ".....what. No. When's the next book out? THERES NO DATE?! WHAAAT?! HOW CAN I WAIT FOR AN INDEFINITE AMOUNT OF TIME", so yes, I'm currently sad because I want the next installment and I can't have it for ages. Insert extreme sad face here. 

Those Above is a book riddled with uniqueness, and with all the hallmarks of a fantastic fantasy book, it's expertly laid the foundations for the series, while getting you emotionally invested in the fantastic, colourful and interesting characters, occupying the intricately fascinating world. I'm intrigued to know what's going to happen next, intrigued to know more about the world and the different people in it, and I've already picked my side. 

Those above is a definite series to watch out for and keep an eye on. It's the perfect series opener, and is promising to be an engaging and incredible series, that's going to have a strong fan following. (and if we're lucky, a TV series, because cinematic)

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