The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah Review

The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London ShahThe Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah (Light The Abyss #1)

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Pages: 320

Available Through The Book Depository: The Light At The Bottom Of The World

Summary: At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Light At The Bottom Of The World is YA Sci-Fi debut that will leave you with a sense of wonder and is a delightful immersive adventure! Set in a future underwater, Leyla is a quest to reunite with her father! Layered politics, unique world building, and mystery are just some of the many things to expect from Shah’s wonderful debut!

I’d been looking forward to this book for over a year because the concept sounded fascinating, so of course that meant I had to add it to the TBR! Underwater society, the turn of the century, sub races, and government conspiracies? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

16-year old Leyla McQueen is a dedicated sub racer and she’s on a mission! Set in Great Britain in the year 2099 nearing the end of the century, people for the most part have adjusted to life underwater. However, up above on the surface the water levels continue to rise, there’s devastating storms, and back underwater there’s a sickness that’s spreading.

Leyla’s father is accused of spreading the illness known as Seasickness, but she knows he’s innocent! So, when Leyla’s chosen to compete in the London Marathon, she hopes her wish can accomplish one thing: Bringing her father home!

When her wish doesn’t go exactly as planned, she decides to seek out answers herself, but luckily she’s not alone! With her friends Theo & Tabby, her grandfather, and a mysterious new companion, Leyla is on a race against time traveling the dangerous waters in her submersible to find her father!

Shah’s writing is atmospheric and thought-provoking. Not only does she beautifully lay out this futuristic setting of an underwater society, but she weaves in the unique technology, habitat/environmental layers, and complex politics that come with it.

Told through a first-person POV you really get inside Leyla’s head and learn more about her past and what I really appreciated, was how much you learn about the world through her eyes! The world itself is layered subtly where your getting this clear picture of the underwater world and the politics, setting, and character development building with each chapter!

Leyla is a wonderful main character and I loved following her journey! She’s dedicated to racing, worries about her father, and is experiencing the world outside London for the first time. She’s hopeful, unwavering, and just has a wonderful spirit!

“Hope is all I have right now; it’s as unending as the oceans―and I must hold on to it…” (23).

In terms of representation this novel centers around our main protagonist and her family who’re Pashtun/Afghan Muslim! (Also, this book is #OwnVoices for British Muslim rep!)

Throughout the novel, Leyla grows in ways that test her knowledge of the world she thought she knew. Following her perspective, you get a layered look at the politics, setting, and government established in underwater Great Britain.

The story moves at such a great pace where at the end of each chapter, your left with so many questions and trying to piece the mystery together!

Leyla’s joined by her dog Jojo, an internal sub navigator who’s presented as Oscar Wilde, and Ari, a family friend who’s been tasked with looking after Leyla by her grandfather! What stands out as the story progresses are the really distinct changes to their dynamic as it shifts & grows in subtle ways. I loved how Shah explored their enemies to friends (maybe lovers?) dynamic and had so many surprises for them along the way!

I don’t want to get into it too much, because you really have to read it for yourself, but Leyla & Ari’s dynamic was developed in a really great way! They start out not really liking each other, but throughout their adventure together, what the dynamic is rooted in is trust! Trust within themselves and with each other! Its a wonderful message that layered itself into the story and adds so much to their friendship/dynamic!

The plot twists in this book were just SO good and made me really think about the world itself and what our characters have been tricked into believing!

A good adventure isn’t without a few bumps along the road for our duo! There’s the mysterious government security known as Blackwatch, a mysterious captain named Sebastian, and monsters (Arthropoids) that lurk within the waters!

I really loved how Shah beautifully explored and delved into the element of nostalgia, whether its for characters that Leyla notices are obsessed with the Old World, groups known as the Old World Heritage Society, even people’s fascination with collecting Old World objects. In this speculative fiction future, it created this sense longing and promise for what’s ahead! That was a beautiful message I picked up on while reading and really appreciated it.

There’s also a message woven in about family! Leyla herself never admits it too often, but she is lonely. She misses the time when she could spend the holidays at home with her parents and with her mission to find her father, she hopes she can regain that loss along the way. Friendship itself is also anchors itself as an important familial unit for Leyla and it’ll be great to see how those important themes are explored in the sequel!

The setting itself is layered with beautiful imagery and alongside Shah’s great writing, your given a sense of wanderlust that makes the world dazzle and make you wish you could go on your own underwater adventure too!

Now onto my critique: Its really just boils down to the writing! Though I really love (and will absolutely defend) the beauty of first person POVs, I felt at least for this first novel (for me personally) there were something about its presentation that made it difficult to fully connect with the plot at some points (mainly during Leyla’s journey as she traveled the oceans, looking for her father). As I read, I noticed there was a big focus to the emotion and emotional layers of the story through Leyla’s perspective.

With the way it was presented, the perspective made certain plot points feel glossed over. Because we’re in Leyla’s head, we really get an in-depth look at her as a character, which is great, BUT I did find at points there was a bit too much internal description of her thoughts/emotions. From my perspective, it took away from some of the exposition and execution of plot points. However, I really loved Shah’s writing style, its so beautiful and I definitely found myself writing down a lot of wonderful quotes!

After that ending I can’t wait to see what happens next in the sequel! I’m really looking forward to seeing whats next for Leyla’s journey!

The Light At The Bottom Of The World is a thought-provoking YA Sci-Fi that features a sub racer on a mission to save her father! With beautiful writing, a great cast of characters, plot twists, mystery, and a wonderfully immersive setting, you don’t want to miss London Shah’s debut!

Hey everyone, just wanted to share that yesterday I posted my author interview with Isabel Ibañez whose releasing her 2020 debut, Woven In Moonlight, in just a couple months! It would mean the world if you gave it a read, we talk about her inspiration, main character, and tons of different elements of her book she’s looking forward to sharing with readers! There’s also an awesome pre-order campaign I share in the post too! Hope you can check it out! 🌙✨💞

Bookish Buzz: New YA Books That Need More Hype!

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ I’m back with another Bookish Buzz! Originally debuting on my blog back in March, I created this feature to promote upcoming books that I feel deserve more love!

However, I wanted to change it up a bit today and not only promote upcoming books, but also a couple recently published or backlist titles!

A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai1. A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers (The NOVL)

A Match Made In Mehendi is a wonderful YA Contemporary debut that you need to add to your TBR if you haven’t already! This is such a fun and heart-warming debut that follows Simi who comes from a long line of family matchmakers. But being the artist that she is, instead of following the usual family tradition she creates an app, to help her & her best friend Noah improve their high school status. But, things get a bit complicated when a match doesn’t sit right with one of her classmates. This book shines in so many ways from the first-person POV, she’s confident and passionate as an artist and her voice just draws you into the story from page 1! The characters, atmosphere, and plot all come together in such a fantastic way, easily making this one of my favorite YA Contemporary reads of 2019! (Full Review)

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring2.The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Imprint (Fierce Reads)

Set in 1970’s Argentina, The Tenth Girl follows Mavi who is escaping a military regime. She starts her new life undercover as as a teacher at a renowned finishing school. But there’s mysteries and secrets that loom within the house and Mavi is determined to uncover them. The writing is wonderfully atmospheric and delivers that perfect eerie vibe for fall. I personally love reading from 1st person, so reading from Mavi’s (and a second) POV just takes me right back into the setting and mystery of the story wherever I stop. I haven’t finished it yet, but the mystery is written in a way that I really appreciate where it slowly unfolds and your bringing the pieces together little by little! Can’t wait to finish it!

Rebel Heart by Axie Oh3.Rogue Heart by Axie Oh

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Tu Books

I’ve been looking forward to the next Rebel Seoul book for so long and I can’t believe its finally here! I remember absolutely loving the first book, where Axie introduces us to the political-driven and intriguing Neo states of Korea. From there we follow Lee Jaewon who wants to prove himself as a soldier, but instead learns much more about his country that he thought he knew. From its technological advancements to the central political themes, I fell in love with this debut back in 2017! I’m really looking forward to seeing whats next in Rogue Heart, which’ll have espionage, even more government secrecy and politics!

The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah4.Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Set in an underwater Great Britain at the end of the 21st Century, we follow Leyla McQueen who is determined to set her father free and prove his innocence by participating in a submarine competition that’ll take her outside of London for the first time. She’s also joined by a new companion as she also uncovers government secrets along the way! The summary alone just captivated me and I’ve been beyond excited to read this debut! It looks like there’ll be tons of action, adventure, and I can’t wait to learn more about Leyla.

Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell5.Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon Teen)

I recently finished this debut and let me tell you, if you love beautifully written, detailed and atmospheric YA Mysteries, you should definitely pick up Songs From The Deep! Set on an island town surrounded by sirens, violin player Moira and Lighthouse keeper Jude team up to solve a murder! I will say it is a slow and quiet type of mystery and focuses on its main characters (who were former childhood friends) as they reconnect and piece together the clues of the case. The focus on the m/f friendship between Moira and Jude is fantastic and easily a highlight of this book! The world-building is wonderful and both the setting and atmosphere really deliver through Moira’s POV! I highly recommend checking out this debut, its out tomorrow! (Full Blog Tour Review)

Thousand Fires by Shannon Price6. A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Tor Teen

This is a book I’ve really been looking forward to because of the unique concept and it drew me in right away. Not only is it pitched as a modern retelling of Iliad, but is also set in San Francisco and is an #OwnVoices Filipina YA! The story centers around Valerie Simons who is no stranger to the rival gangs of San Francisco, her brother was killed by one of them 2 years ago. She’d given an opportunity for revenge by the mysterious gang known as the Stags– led by “charismatic and volatile leader” Jax. She becomes torn along the way of what path she should choose and where the journey will lead her. This book just sounds incredibly unique and character-driven, Price’s debut is one that I will definitely be checking out.

Thanks for checking out Bookish Buzz! Are you looking forward to any of the books featured? 😍💖📚🎉

What new YA Books are on your radar? 😄📚📚