The ARC tour works like this: first, you must be participating in the DAC. Then you go to the ARC tour blog, take a look at the ARCS available, sign up for those that you think sound interesting, wait for an email saying you were accepted as part of the tour, be sent the book, read it within a week time frame, and send it to the next person on the tour with delivery confirmation.
So anyway, all that being said---I got Above World last Friday in the mail. I was so excited to read this as the blurb just sounded so interesting. I was not disappointed!
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
A suspenseful sci-fi escapade plucks two children out of the ocean for a thrilling adventure.
Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony's survival is at risk. The Kampii's breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna's fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku's tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt - growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains - here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.
So, after my head stopped spinning over people living under the ocean (DON"T CALL THEM MERMAIDS!!!!!!!!), bird people, horse people and people that were part machine part human (cyborgs?) all fighting in a post-apocolyptic world (humans were becoming increasingly rare), I really got in to this book!
For me, all the fighting and adventure boils down to just a few simple things: survive, family is important, even though we're all different we're all the same inside, and don't become so caught up in whatever that you lose your humanity. For Aluna, keeping her humanity---her sense of right and wrong / just and unjust was the easy part. It was remembering that while our family has the capacity to hurt us the most, it also has the capacity to give us the most love that was hard. In the end, she traded her freedom for the life of her sister and the ultimate good of her people.
In looking back at a lot of my reviews, I talk about how strong a character is and that's why I liked them so much. Today, I'm not going to do that. Oh sure, I could go on and on about the warrior Aluna, how she went from a headstrong girl to a thoughful and charismatic young woman, but I would like to talk more about Hoku and Callie. Both are described, or thought of, as weak --- because they like books and learning, and not fighting. But, they play two of the most pivotal rolls in the story. Without Hoku or Callie, the battle would have been lost. So yay geeks! Just because you aren't out there kicking butt and taking names every day doesn't mean you aren't important, or are just the side-kick. Sometimes, as in Above World, without you, all would be lost.
There were battles, and the fights were talked about, but it didn't go in to the gory detail.
I don't know where the book took place, but I imagined it off the coast of California. I guess I figured the water was warmer there, there were mountains for the aviars and deserts for the horse and snake people.
All in all, it was a great book. I started it Friday afternoon and finished it midday Sunday. I'd recommend it to middle school and up readers, and probably those who liked The Hunger Games. That being said---know your reader, what they like and what they can handle.