the beneath, sue ransom

I was super hyped to start reading The Beneath, as Sue Ransom has been one of my favourite writers ever since I first read her debut novel, Small Blue Thing. In fact, my first, second, and third book reviews to ever feature on this blog were of Ransom's. Granted, they aren't the best reviews written, due to the fact that this was almost three years ago and I'd never read a book review in my life, but nevertheless these books marked the beginning of my blogging progression. I also interviewed Ransom when my blog was first set up, and I wrote not one, but two Queen of Teen posts about her. Yes, Small Blue Thing really was that good, leaving me with high hopes for this fourth novel.

"It’s an ordinary school day, but Lily is about to step into a nightmare. The girl rushing out of the Tube tunnel tells a crazy story about an underground community and a charismatic leader with an evil plan. How can Lily trust her? It’s only when Lily finds herself in the labyrinth beneath London that she learns the horrific truth – about the Farmer, the Crop and about herself."

This is the first ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) that I have received in a while now, meaning that this is equally my first review in a while. Therefore, despite the fact that my review skills might be a little rusty, I am determined to do The Beneath justice.



Publisher: Nosy Crow
Published: 4th March 2015
Pages: 359
Book: For Review
Format: Uncorrected proof
Contains: Mild violence
Genre: Contemporary thriller with dystopian undertones

The first thing that I would like to mention about The Beneath is that it's not read as being written by a mother with children of her own, but of a genuine teenage girl. Ransom was very good with manipulating her poise into that of a character of a different generation to herself, and I believe that this really helped me connect with the protagonist, Lily.

You jump straight into the main plot of the storyline of The Beneath which was initially quite confusing (and aggravating as I didn't understand anything about Aria). It was like being thrown in at the deep end. However, once one of the main characters had explained a few basic facts about the Farmer, Community, Elders etc, I felt right at home and easily got absorbed in the novel. The diversity of the novel helped the overall storyline along and kept the reader immersed, so in the end I was thankful that Ransom plummeted the story into the main plot.


Ransom invented a whole new world which I could fully step into, which was amazing and not something that happens all too often. She's a really great storyteller - not just building on the world that we have all come to know like in most books, but instead disorientated it and created a whole new one on top of that (or should that be 'under that'?)*. The Beneath is right up there with Hogwarts, the Shire and the Arena.

Spoiler alert (mild)
I was internally screaming at Lily when she doesn't ask Dane about the entrance to the Community and I literally tutted when she finally realised what she should have done (oh no... I've realised that I should have asked Dane that one vital question that's STOPPING ME FROM DOING ANYTHING, but.. it might be too late.. RUN LILY WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU MUST FIND DANE AND GET HIM TO TELL YOU!). This just goes to show how much I got into the storyline, especially as the plot thickened and tension rose.

Things soon became suddenly very dramaticTension spiraled crazily up and down - it was almost unbearable. So much so, in fact, that I had the urge to flick to the last few pages of the novel to check that the characters were okay. Luckily though, I restrained myself, gritted my teeth and bared the rest of the novel, sighing and tutting and murmuring things like what are you doing stop that no don't and I can't believe you just did that nope turn around start again why under my breath. That was only halfway through. I actually wrote on my notes as I read a particularly good scene; "half way through and I can't comprehend how Ransom could write this, explaining the storyline properly, writing through the plot. The tension - how could she bear to not suddenly cut it short and make Lily wake up from a bad dream?"

I like the chapter design and hope this is something which continues in the final draft of the novel.

I know this may be a weird thing to comment on, and again I'm not sure if this will be in the final draft, but I love the font of the books contents. It makes the main body of the novel really clear and easy to read, leaving you to just focus on the storyline itself. It's more appealing than fonts with too much going on (~cough~ Indie Flower ~cough~), and has nice rounded edges which are easy on the eyes.


Another thing that I particularly liked about this novel was that it was told in first person perspective. I like stories told this way as I tend to connect more to the character if I read the events from their point of view - and in this story there were two protagonists. Normally, however, I usually don't like double-person narratives, but Ransom executed it well, leaving the reader with no confusion or discombobulation.


Spoiler alert (mild)
Not too far from the middle of the book, you learn the lifestyle of a member of the Community. The basics are as such; you get Assigned to a job which you start at the age of 16, and you continue that job for the rest of your life. Or, to be more exact, when you reach approximately the age of 40, when you are considered an Elder and you are re-Assigned to undertake your final task. You become a Feeder to the Corp. Interpret it literally and this is your final destination. Before that, however, you have been Assigned to the job of, say, a Breeder. You don't choose who you are Assigned to, you just know that it's an Elder and you will have around 15 children, most of which will die. Then you will die. The Corp needs it's nourishment, after all.


The cover itself I couldn't help but love. You can't see the face of the girl, balancing just below the break of water with everything but her face submurged. This helps me build my own image of what I think the characters should look like, as anyone with a face on the cover has the ability to alter my perception of what I think they should look like. When you see the faces of potential characters on the cover I think that it ruins the story itself a little bit, deadening your imagination. The Beneath's cover has a darker theme to it than that of the Small Blue Thing (unless we're talking about the foreign covers which are a whole different matter!), which ties in with the story nicely. The colours and fonts all fit together well, creating a pretty appealing cover.

The characters are all vividly different from each other - from the good, Aria (awesome name!), to the vile, cruel and downright foul, Farmer. The contrast worked well and Ransom pulled it off. 

As a book drew to a close, I began to get worried. There are too many loose ends, I though to myself. She can't do it. But, thankfully, Ransom tied together the end plot neatly, with no questions left unanswered. The ending wasn't rushed, as it so often is with YA novels (which almost always ruins the whole book for me), but instead was properly thought-out and well delivered. It all made sense in the end, and that was great - I love the feeling you get when you've read a really good book and the end doesn't disappoint.

All in all, I would rate this book 5/5. Easily. Did favouritsm have something to do with it? Maybe, but that doesn't take from the fact that this was a really, really good read and I would happily recommend.

"And suddenly everything is gone. There is no roof, no ceiling and the light burns my eyes. For the first time in my life I am Above."

*Get it? Under that? The book is called The Beneath? Oh whatever, you guys are no fun.

66 comments:

  1. I love the variety of your blog. Thank you for visiting mine. I am now following you on GFC.
    Es x x
    imparfait-treasure.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool! After several years of a reading hiatus, I've started reading again. Not too sure if The Beneath is my type though, but I'll keep this book and author in mind. And I agree with you, lately, with most YA books I've been reading, I always feel like the ending was rushed. I feel like the story and characters deserved so much more. Or maybe it's just me, I don't know.

    P.S.: Thanks for stopping by my blog. I don't really use GFC, would you like to follow each other through Bloglovin instead? If yes, follow me and I'll follow you back as soon as I see it? Thanks. :)

    www.jeannechristinemarie.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I totally know what you mean! And aw, means a lot :3

      Delete
  3. Interesting post. xoxo

    http://ninasstyleblog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. so stunning post
    thanks for your comment darling
    http://tr3ndygirl.com
    kiss

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  5. Resenha maravilhosa amei o livro.
    Siga e curta o meu Canal: https://www.youtube.com/user/NekitaReis
    TSU: https://www.tsu.co -Nequeren

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for this review. I've never read anything by Sue Ramsom, but want to now.

    Jasmine x
    For a Real Woman - Instagram - Bloglovin

    ReplyDelete
  7. Que ótima resenha amei a dica do livro.
    Siga e curta o meu Canal: https://www.youtube.com/user/NekitaReis
    TSU: https://www.tsu.co -Nequeren

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yayyy for book reviews! :) You should definitely more!

    Xoxo. Lexi @ Lexi Swoons

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a fantastic review! Thank you so much, Amy -. I'm so pleased you liked it. This is the first feedback I've been given so I'm delighted that it worked for you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely review, it sounds like a great book. :)

    catscraftsncritters.blogspot.ca

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  11. Loved this review, this sounds like such an interesting book and I'm putting it on my list right now! Thanks!

    xx

    http://robberscorner.blogspot.com.es

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  12. Hello! :) I nominated you for the "One Lovely Blog Award" Come check it out on my blog!

    Sammie
    sammiethestargirl.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for your lovely comment.
    I followed you, now it's your turn!

    Kiss,
    PERONALBLOG|G+|BLOGLOVIN’|FACEBOOK|INSTAGRAM

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello, I haven't read any of her books, but if you recommend, I'll def. check her out!

    Lera's Affordable Fashion Blog

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  15. Nice reviee

    New post in
    Www.miharujulie.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great review :)
    I followed here and Bloglovi'n

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice dear!
    I really enjoy book's tips.
    xoxo
    Iza

    vintageiz.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never heard of her before - how cool is it that you got to interview her on your blog! I didn't read much of the review apart from what the book is about because I might have a read of this and didn't want to ruin it too much :)

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aha I totally understand, I've avoided so many spoilers that way!

      Delete
  19. What in the world, girl?? It seems like your blog has gotten insanely popular since I've last been here! Congrats :) Anyway, I'm finally back to the blogosphere, and prepared to be commenting on people's blogs again!
    This book doesn't really seem like something I would choose to read, but I think you reviewed it well. I totally agree with you that the font has a great deal to do with whether or not a book is as enjoyable as it could be, but I hate the font of that text, haha. Oh well.
    It's feels good to be back, and I think you should review more often!
    -July, http://julyaemmance.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! And that's so nice, I think I will! Aaand yay that's so great, you've been really missed around here!

      Delete
  20. It sounds like a good book, maybe I should read one day! :)

    Hugs from Denmark x
    Mathilde | MATHILDE JULIE

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  21. this sounds really good. we've been looking for a new read, so we'll have to check it out!

    http://mkstyleramblings.blogspot.com.au/

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  22. You certainly know how to draw a reader into your post, explaining everything throughly. I agree, it can get quite tense sometimes when reading and getting a step ahead (from main character)- those are the most exhilarating moments and the pages are turned in a flash to get to the bottom of a story ;) Loved your writing.
    p.s.: followed via gfc #155, follow back? xx Maja
    - http://modern-muffin.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I know right! And awh, that's so sweet, thank you :3

      Delete
  23. Thank you so much for visiting my blog a while ago- I really appreciate it.
    I really like your blog- and actually, reading this post made me want to read The Beneath.
    Just love how you enjoy writing it all:)

    I'm following you now, so feel free to follow back:)

    fashion-babel.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. It's okay and aw aw thank you, that means a lot! ^_^

      Delete
  24. Fabulous review, your interest/passion really shines through! Thanks for sharing and have a lovely weekend :)

    http://aglassofice.blogspot.co.uk

    x

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  25. Hey Amy! You are one of my nominees of the One Lovely Blog Award. Please, check it out: http://weezasjournal.blogspot.com/2014/11/one-lovely-blog.html
    - June

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  26. So lovely to give 5/5, I will check it out ^^

    恵美より ♥
    www.emi-doll.blogspot.jp

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  27. You have a wonderful blog dear!
    http://adelinaschoice.blogspot.com

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  28. Really cool post dear! :)

    Have a lovely day
    xxx
    Bianca

    http://madamebalti.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've never read any books by this author, but since you've recommended her I'm definitely going to check her out!
    I've nominated you for a blog award!
    -- Rebecca at The Silver Flute

    ReplyDelete