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 in doubt. 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 warrior spirit 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.1
I decided to read this book as part of my exploration into the mermaid fad that seemed to have popped up, but perhaps not taken a strong enough hold. What I found was very different than what I was expecting. The mermaids in this book do not refer to themselves as mermaids. Mermaids are silly girls who sing and brush their hair all day, bespeckled with shells. The book follows the Coral Kampii, of the City of Shifting Tides. As the story progresses you learn more about their history and the history of the world.
p.121 ” Hundreds of years ago, when we were all Human, the world started to run out of space…Humans were spread across the land, crammed into every niche and nook that could support life. They were using up the world, and their time was running out. So they changed…They looked at the places that couldn’t support Humans, and they made themselves fit anyway… Some Humans even made skyships and left the world altogether.”
The character of Aluna is a strong, brave girl who is seen as a child by her father. Due to failing breathing necklaces and ancient technology, her people begin to die. She takes it upon herself to find out the truth to save them, while her elders stay in hiding. Her best friend Hoku goes after her, along with a mysterious gift. As the two explore the above world and its hidden secrets, they meet other races, and discover the history of the planet, and those who may become the final destruction of it.
I would say that Above World is a fantasy dystopian. Although it would be great to evolve and fit into these different areas, the world took it upon themselves to make this happen. With their advanced technology, leaders of great Tek companies offered solutions. If you wanted to live in the ocean, they gave you a breathing device, and eventually a tail. Perhaps you wanted to take to the skies? They could offer you wings. The people have become dependent on these companies and their technology.
Above World is a really imaginative tale about a future of evolution and technology. I liked how the story left certain things open to be able to explore these options in future books. As the story progresses we learn more about the history and the process to how these people became what they are. Although I enjoyed the book I did not fall in love with it. Don’t let that discourage you though. This is a good book and well worth the read. There is a second book in the series called Mirage, and a third to be announced. I’d say if you are interested in this book, take your time, or even wait until all three are out.
1. Book summary