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The Above Ground series - Above Ground by A. M. Harte

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Rated 7.68 out of 10 Statistics

Information

Chapters: 30

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure

Audience: 18+

Updated: Completed

Content Advisory

Occasional Sexual Content

Occasional Coarse Language

Occasional Violence

Statistics

Overall Rating: 7.681

Average Rating: 9 (Guests), 8 (Members)

Ranking: #14

Rating Count: 13 (6 Guests, 8 members)

1 indicates a weighted rating.

"Psychics, werewolves and bloody vampires"

Rating: 8 / 10

So you might have guessed from the title that I’m not a fan of werewolves.  Or psychics, for that matter.  The jury is still out on witches.  So writing this review was difficult, because this story is very far from appealing to my personal tastes.

That aside, I have to give the author points for writing a compelling tale about people and beings I couldn’t care squat about.  A.M. Harte can certainly spin a yarn, and knows how to keep the reader moving forward.

The story (so far – there are only 15 Chapters) revolves around Lillith, a human (or worm, or bland) who came up from the safe underground and got trapped on the surface with the Affected (or Infected), i.e. weres, pyres (vampires) and witches.  All she wants is to get back home, but it’s not that easy.  She was saved from a grisly death by the werewolf Silver, who is now very protective of her.

The story is not a “Gulliver’s Travels” style narrative.  It’s definitely Lillith’s tale, and I suspect there will be some romance between her and the werewolf, who has his own little interludes in the narrative. And if you like reading about weres and the way they interact as a pack and all that werewolf stuff, you’ll probably love this story.  Which I didn’t.  So I’ll stop talking about the story now, and talk about the prose.

Like most urban fantasy stories, the prose is functional but not elevating.  It’s clear though, easy to follow and not drowned in rubbish.  A.M. Harte does a very good job of revealing just enough information to let the reader make sense of the world without resorting to long boring information dumps in the prose.  The dialogue and character interactions are well handled and believable.

What I really liked, and I wanted to see more of, was the sense of wonder that A.M. Harte built in the first few chapters.  The world is quite complex and I found it interesting despite the races involved, and I would have liked to see it explored a lot more.  However that feeling of newness was lost as Lillith moved on with her story.  Which is fair enough, but for me it took away a lot of the fantasy element of the tale, and made it much more mundane.

In summary, while I’m not raving about the story, I can appreciate the skill involved in its creation.  A.M. Harte has shown that she can write well and knows how to construct a compelling story.  If you’re not an urban fantasy buff, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you do like your paranormal beasties all brooding and protective, you’ll probably love it.

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"Fast-paced apocalyptic fantasy/romance"

Rating: 7 / 10

While I’m not a huge fan of the apocalyptic fantasy genre, Above Ground is well-written and well-paced enough to keep me invested despite my bias.

The story opens with an exceptional hook, protagonist Lilith and her friend Emma, dwellers underground, visiting the surface for a freak show. The events that transpire at the show introduce Lilith to a werewolf named Silver, and thus her adventure (literally "above ground") begins.

The world is well-conceived and introduced in careful bits and pieces, filled with weres of all sorts, money-grubbing ewtes and hints of the complex social strata of an underground city. The writer keeps a firm grasp on the narrative, moving the reader along at a quick pace without neglecting the details that make the world so believable.

The cons: I was put off by the white text on the dark background, and had to stop reading several times due to eye strain. Though the weres and other creatures are well-described, physical descriptions of humans are rather thin—we don’t discover how old the protagonists are, or even what they look like, until several chapters into the serial. The main characters seem poised to become the Alpha Couple of the series, a trajectory that starts off subtle but veers into obvious and slightly unbelievable considering how short a time they’ve known each other.

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"Enjoying the Affected parade"

Rating: 8 / 10

I’m not much of a review writer, so please bear with me. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with Thornealder’s review of the story.

"Above Ground" is a familiar yet distinct fantasy world.  Science fiction and fantasy readers know what to expect from werecreatures, vampires, and witches.  A. M. Harte does a wonderful job exploring human and humanoid interactions and the nuances of their cultures. I’m enjoying the world-building as much the protagonist Lilith’s adventure. The author drops enough hints to keep my curiosity piqued without leaving me frustrated. I’m looking forward to more of the story!

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"A rich world which draws you in & holds your attention"

Rating: 9 / 10

I am finding Above Ground to be a real page-turner, the sort of story you can’t step away from until you reach the end. 

The story follows its main protagonist, Lilith, as she steps out of her subterranean world for the first time in her life.  Visiting the surface world for a show, she soon finds herself running for her life.

The initial chapters of heart-pounding terror segue nicely into an adventure tale, slowly unfolding both the parts of the world the protagonist already knows - why humans live beneath the ground now, some of the horrors that exist above ground - with the rules, mores, and creatures that rule the world above ground.

The only thing that took me out of the story at all were a few brief moments where I wondered how a seemingly sheltered girl was adapting this quickly to a new world.  All in all, though, I found the world unfolding in my mind very clearly, and I will wait impatiently for the next update.

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