Below (North, #1) by Alexandria Warwick – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Wolf Publishing

Publication Date: February 04, 2020

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.

With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins. “

*Thank you to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

I am a huge fan of Warwick’s. I am going to try an explain this, her writing makes me feel nostalgia. Below made me feel like watching The Never Ending Story and Labyrinth (It was not in any way based on those, just how it made me feel!). It just felt like my childhood. If that makes any sense.

Apaay has to battle sever weather, wild animals, survive Yuki’s nightmares come to life, survive being a prisoner, and survive Yuki’s punishments. There is a lot Apaay survives. It was very intense at some parts. I loved her never-give-up personality. She fought for those shes loves no matter the cost to herself. And there were high prices for her fight. I actually cried at one point. I NEVER cry reading. It hurt.

One thing I REALLY loved was the healthy and loving friendship she has with Ila! You don’t really see that a lot in books without it turning into a love story or something. I loved them!

Warwick also has an underlying message in her books. In Demon Race, it was forgiveness, and in Below, it was you are enough. Beautiful.

I wish there was a little more explaination of what Yuki and The Face Stealer were and where they came from. It was a bit confusing at times, BUT it left a ton of mystery to be solved for the next book! Which I need and can’t wait for!

What are some mythologies you love?

*Amazon link is my affiliate link*

*Book Sleeve is from Love You More Studio. Code: STORIED10 to save 10%*

The Demon Race (Spoiler Free Review)

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The Demon Race

Author: Alexandria Warwick (Her website HERE)

Publisher: Wolf Publishing

Release Date: September 18, 2018

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads

You can pre-order at Amazon (This is my affiliate link)

I am having really good luck with lesser known authors this year. This book was not on my radar the beginning of this year, but let me tell you, it should be on yours. This is a story of a girl who doesn’t want to get married so she goes and enters in the Demon Race. But the Demon horses (Heck yes. Awesome.), feed off of the participants emotions and soul.

This book had such a good moral compass. I thought that what the characters go through was actually very relatable in any society. I tabbed the crap out of this book because of that. So, when the demons feed on your emotions, they aren’t actually MAKING you do anything. They just heighten the bad emotions in you. But it is still your CHOICE to do the evil things. Even though to choose good is the hardest choice. Tricky, Warwick, tricky. I like it. I truly believe that this is a real occurrence that happens. People have bad thoughts all the time, it is how you respond to them that matters. People also like to blame, blame, blame. Blame their circumstances, blame the people around them. Yes, just like the demons in the story, those have a lot of play in your emotions. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide what to do with those emotions. You CAN choose good even when everything is against you. This was actually the core message I got out of this story.  I just couldn’t believe an author was actually writing about this! It was awesome!

Okay, I know by now your like, enough with the sappy stuff. So let me get into the characters. Namali, our heroine, was an extraordinary character. She fought what she knew was wrong, but she also forgave. How many heroines now-a-days forgive? It’s all about “I deserve vengeance.” She forgave her father and the men around her that were forcing her to do things. Wow. That’s actually quite beautiful. Now, don’t get me wrong, she fought like a hell-cat, as she should have. But I loved the forgiveness that followed. No one forgives anyone in this day and age. Her character progression was some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Here comes another slightly sappy sentiment… In this book, people suffer. Namali suffers because she is a woman and women in her culture are seen as property. Sameen suffers because he was born with a twisted foot. Now, there were times when Namali was all about her suffering. But she learns that other people suffer too. Wow. Imagine that. She’s not the only one who struggles. It would be nice to see a world where everyone had compassion on other people’s suffering instead of being selfish and just saying, “Well surely I suffer more, so I deserve more!” Warwick, you are an amazing story teller.

One of my favorite lines:

You don’t understand. She assumed that of him more often than she was comfortable admitting. And it was unfair. It was unfair because in doing so, she invalidated his opinion simply because they, as people, were different.

Final Thoughts. I loved this book. I thought it had MANY lessons in here that should be learned by girls and boys from around the world. I thought Warwick was brave in putting some of these things in here. I loved her writing style. It was also a clean book. I liked that. The ONLY reason this did not get 5 stars is because I’m not sure yet if I will re-read this. Y’all know my 5 stars are books I will definitely be re-reading.  Dare I say this slightly reminds me of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis? 

Happy Adventuring