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Above by Isla Morley


by Isla Morley

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1533178,096 (3.45)1



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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
  LisaDaugherty | Jun 23, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. The story was captivating and the author's use of imagery and language painted such a vivid picture, the thoughts and actions of the characters came alive. I really hated for the story to end. ( )
  blmyers | May 15, 2017 |
Book review for Above by Isla Morley
(Amazon, Netgalley, Goodreads)

Blythe is kidnapped by Dobbs the slightly odd school librarian and imprisoned in an underground bunker to keep her safe from the apocalypse that he is convinced is coming. As a school librarian myself I had issues with this book from the start but putting personal affront aside I dived in and I have to say for half the book I was hooked. The story of Blythe’s imprisonment was compelling; her desperate attempts to escape, her hatred for Dobbs tempered with her reliance on him to stay alive and finally her adaptation to her captivity all made for a very moving read.
Then she escaped. I don’t want to give spoilers but I really wanted reunions, adjustment to life outside, reintegration into society, maybe even some justice done for all those lost years. I didn’t get it. Don’t get me wrong I love innovation, being wrong footed and books going off in other directions but the second half of Above felt like a completely different book and I’m afraid it was just a step too far for me. I also wasn’t comfortable with Blythe’s changing attitude to Dobb’s character. OK he might have been right about the apocalypse but he’s still a kidnapping, rapist!
All this aside the book still gets three stars from me for the promise of the first half and I will suggest it to others because I have a feeling this book will be literary marmite and somebody else might think it brilliant.
( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
In Above by Isla Morley Blythe Hallowell is abducted by creepy school librarian and survivalist Dobbs Hordin and taken to an abandoned Atlas F missile silo located by Eudora, Kansas, her hometown. Dobbs tells Blythe he is saving her from the end of the world. Once the world ends, Dobbs and Blythe will be prepared to take their rightful place and repopulate the earth. As a captive, Blythe must struggle with her crushing loneliness, isolation, as well as giving birth.

The novel is separated into two sections: Below and Above. Obviously the first part of the narrative deals with Blythe's captivity below ground and her coping mechanisms while the second portends a future.

There is no doubt that Above is a compelling novel to read and will keep you engrossed in all the action.
However, for me Above was a so-so read. I have several major problems with it.

First I really felt that the beginning of Morley's novel owes too great a debt to Emma Donoghue's Room. I totally understand that abduction and captivity of a young woman in a novel may be coincidental, but it felt too similar at the beginning. I will acknowledge that the comparison ends in the second half when the story takes a dystopian turn.

This duality of the two sections is another problem for me. The complete novel felt like two separate novels crammed together without the benefit of enough development of the plot to make the complete novel work as the sweeping dystopian saga it wants to be. The ideas are there, but the execution is lacking and inconsistent.

For most readers the BIGGEST problem I had with Above won't be a problem for you at all, so you can ignore this complaint.
I wish Morley had made up a mythical city in Kansas rather than using an existing one, because she repeatedly annoyed me with her descriptions and summations of the area. See I live in Lawrence Kansas, home of the University of Kansas, only 6 miles from Eudora, Blythe's longed-for hometown. While Eudora is a small town, the population is almost 3 times Morley's number. That wouldn't include the large population living outside the city limits. And there is a very large population living in the country. It's only about 20 minutes down the highway until you reach the outer suburbs of the whole Johnson County/Kansas City suburban area. When Morley said "Douglas County, Kansas, land of miles and miles of nothing" I wanted her to leave California and come see the nothing she is describing, because if she has visited the area she missed an essential truth: that it's actually pretty close to a large population area thus we have many commuters living here, in these miles and miles of nothing, in towns and acreages.

But then she might simply need to visit Kansas in February. Blythe describes her 5th birthday party. She says her mother has set up the card table in the backyard... on February 2nd. Ummm, not likely. We've had some bitter cold days here in Kansas in February. Sure, sometimes it warms up but no one would be putting up a card table in the backyard for a birthday party on February 2.
And yes, FYI, there are seagulls inland on lakes.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the Gallery Books for review purposes.

( )
1 vote SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
The blurb of this book sounded interesting, but I worried it would be too much like Emma Donoghue’s Room - a book I loved, but once it’s been done, all you’re going to do is compare, and someone’s going to come up short. Though they start fairly similarly, Morley’s Above is drastically different than any other captivity books I’ve read. The book has a timeless quality that really works (until a mention of cell phones SO CLOSE to the end!), and though I didn’t feel like I really knew Blythe, I was emotionally invested in the story. It dragged a bit at times, and there was a lot of description of the place where she was held captive, which somehow made it harder for me to picture. But the suspense in this story is amazing, as well as the disbelief that washes over you in the second half. Highly recommended. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
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Abducted and locked in an abandoned missile silo by a mad survivalist, a Kansas teen endures loneliness and despair while struggling to raise a baby in isolation before escaping into a world more changed than she anticipated.

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