Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Book Review: The Life Below

A few months ago I received a super unfinished copy of The Life Below and I scared Penelope and Lucy because I was literally SCREAMING. I have been wanting to read the follow up to The Final Six since I read it in 2018. I feel like it has been forever and I had a small worry the author was going to give up on it and I'm telling you what: the wait was WORTH IT.
The Life Below - Alexandra Monir

As Naomi lifts off into space and away from a rapidly deteriorating Earth, she watches the world fade away, and along with it Leo, a Final Six contestant she grew close to during training. Leaving Earth behind is hard, but what’s ahead, on Europa, could be worse. The International Space Training Camp continues to hide the truth about what happened to the last group of astronauts who attempted a similar colonization but failed mysteriously. With one shot—at this mission and to Europa—Naomi is determined to find out if there is alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.

Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can essentially latch on to Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa—it’s a definite. With Naomi unaware of what awaits, it’s up to Leo to find and warn her and the others.

With all the pieces of their journey finally clicking into place, everything else starts to fall apart. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and the questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous failed mission get answered in the worst way possible. If the dream was to establish a habitable domain on Europa… the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.

If you haven't read the first book, The Final Six, you absolutely HAVE to before you read this one! I absolutely loved that book and I am not even a fan of space novels or movies, but I am a fan of Hunger Games and Divergent books and movies and I put this right up there. Honestly, this is probably better than Divergent. There, I said it, fight me.

The Final Six leaves us with the six teenagers who were hand picked from tons of other kids for their superior skills in specific areas. Naomi is amazing with computers and programming so she was chosen to basically lead all of the IT components of this mission. What is the mission? Well Earth is basically garbage and quickly becoming uninhabitable and research suggests that Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, is a promising second chance. The Final Six are being set to set up a colony and if they fail they are dooming mankind as a whole.

So no pressure at all.

When we start The Life Below, these six have taken off and on their way to the Mars rendezvous to pick up supplies (and of course, if they miss it, they are likely going to starve to death), and then off to Europa. Naomi doesn't feel right about any of this and she can't help but feel like something is really wrong with the entire mission but also the leaders of this trip, Dr. Takumi and General Sokolov. Neither of them are giving the six the entire big picture and Naomi knows it. She also knows another astronaut on board, Beckett, is up to something, and she feels the weight of not just her fellow astronauts but all of mankind on her should. Big doings for a girl prone to panic attacks.

She isn't alone, though. Her romantic interest in this series is Leo. Leo wasn't one of the chosen six (probably on purpose) but he was quickly recruited by Dr. Greta Wagner, one of the original scientists to organize this who was unceremoniously booted from the mission, to run a covert, unauthorized mission to basically follow The Final Six on their journey. Leo would be responsible for helping them because Dr. Wagner knows something is very wrong.

OK, so that's the set up. Basically. I cannot tell you anything about what happens because it is a TRIP and I started this before bed, stayed up until the morning. I'm not even kidding. I knew better starting this then, but here we are. First off, I love Naomi and I love Leo, I love them even more together. I love how Naomi swallows her fear because she has to and (for the most part) keeps it together. Throughout the books she acknowledges she's scared out of her mind but it doesn't change their situation, she's still responsible to act and do something.

Not only are teens going to love this but adults- you will love it even more. My 14 year old, Olivia, had read The Final Six but she isn't really into space stuff (like me) and I told her I promise its good. She came back two days later demanding the second book and peppering me with questions and asking what I thought about things that happened. Same thing when she read this. She was using it as her in school reading and she was texting me things like, "MOM!!!!! I can't put this down! (insert name) died! I'm so upset!", which was crappy because I hadn't read it yet so she's the queen of spoilers. But its really good and if you want a book that is going to suck you in immediately, this is the series to start.

Not only can I not wait for the next book, but the film rights have already been picked up by Sony Pictures. And even though I already know what happens (so far) I don't know if I can watch this on the screen! That's how much of a fast paced thriller this is, frankly, I don't know if my blood pressure can handle it!

Absolutely no question, this was a 5 star read.
I cannot thank Harper Collins Publishers enough for sending me a copy of The Life Below for review, all fangirl comments are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Please tell me if you read this, I am desperate to hear what you thought about it!! 


Anonymous said...

I love your review style, Sara! It puts the book into life, like, how it felt to read it and share it. Sounds pretty fascinating to me, and how cool that your child got in on it too? Well, except for the spoilers!

Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

OMG I love dystopian stories! I definitely want to read this one!