Title: The Threat Below
Series: Brathius Histroy #1
Author: Jason Latshaw
Date Published: February 2020 (first published July 29th 2015)
Publisher: Fernweh Books
Three hundred years ago, something terrifying arose and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now, a small remnant – the descendants of the few survivors who were able to escape the massacre below – lives above the clouds, on the top of a Mountain. When they discover that their water supply is being poisoned Down Below, an expedition, including seventeen year-old girl Icelyn Brathius, must descend and face the monsters, the Threat Below, that wiped out civilization centuries ago. Icelyn quickly learns that all is not what it seems as she uncovers secrets hundreds of years old and struggles to stay alive in a world where no human is fit to survive.
Firstly, thank you to the author for giving me a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
The book mostly follows Icelyn, the daughter of the colony leader, and a descendent of the one who led their people away from the threat below 300 years ago, as well as her two companions, as they are forced to venture down below after their water source becomes poisoned. They get a lot more than they bargained for and learn more truths than they are prepared to find.
The book jumps straight into it with a lot of complicated names, so it took me a minute to get my head around it. But after a very short time, we grasped the way of life in mountaintop with the extreme class differences between the Veritas and the Cognates. Which is horrifying but wonderfully described and explored throughout. The unfairness of their situations really spoke to me, especially with the current world climate.
Icelyn, as someone in a position of privilege, is blind to the struggles of the supposedly lower-class people and seems to believe that they like their life and they can only be that as they aren’t good enough to be higher class. The constant bigotry forces themes of division and segregation to the forefront and I loved that the book focuses on the young people discovering truths and going against the societal norm that they were raised with.
I didn’t particularly like the characters at the beginning, they started off very one dimensional for me, but this turns out to be a product of the society they live in, and each family is supposed to only do the one thing their family does (and each has a family motto to live by). As time goes on the character arcs are great and we get to understand them a lot better.
I struggled for a while with the narration, as it gives a mix of first-person and third-person narration. It took me a long time to adjust to this and felt as though I was never quite sure who I was reading about until the characters separated, and then I could tell from where we were/what was happening. At some points, there was an omniscient narrator that confused me even more, but I did adjust to it after a while. The pacing of the book was very uneven, and it started incredibly slower but at some points near the end, the pacing jumps a lot. The ending definitely leads on to the sequel which will presumably answer many of the questions left by this book.
The best thing about the book was by far the themes that were explored, a lot of which were unusual for a ya dystopian book, however, this makes the story incredible unique. It calls into question the arrogance of human nature, the stubbornness of bigotry, and issues with societal class systems. Along with more commonly seen themes, that of the younger ones having to face decisions on whether to open their minds and hearts to see the truth of their history and change everything they thought they knew, or stay stuck, blindly ignoring the truth and the problems with their people. This book really follows the young people going out to explore and question what they thought they knew to be true.
Overall, the book explores a lot of important themes continuously throughout the story which was well done by the author. I struggled with the narration and the pacing, but the character arcs were great, and the world created was wonderfully unique.
Rating: 3 Stars