Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World

Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah is a book with a fascinating concept but mediocre execution. The plot is thrilling at first but quickly becomes like many other dystopian novels, and the main character seems immature. I did enjoy the world building, however, and I believe the submerged world will appeal to many.

Review: The Light at the Bottom of the WorldTitle: The Light at the Bottom of the World
Author: London Shah
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

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.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World

This book tells the story of the Earth in 2099, where life now exists under the sea. Leyla, who has just won a submersible race, is denied her wish to free her father and thus sets out on a journey to save her father herself. However, the government is hot on her heels, and danger lurks in the depths of the waters. What drew me to this book was the idea of submarine racing. This is such a unique idea, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would play out. Unfortunately, only a small chunk of the book is dedicated to this, which was a little disappointing. After the race ends, the story reverts to a basic dystopian, and the plot falls flat.

❀ Unique Setting

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed is the setting. Shah has created a vision of the world in a post-apocalyptic future, and the history and logic is well-developed. Every little detail including why humans live under the water and why certain technologies exist is accounted for, and it is easy to see how much planning went into this book. I haven’t seen a book about an underwater dystopia before, so this was a fresh concept for me.

❀ Immature Main Character

I am still not entirely sure how I feel about Leyla. On one hand, I loved how determined she is to make things right and rescue her dad, but on the other, I feel like she is a bit immature. To me, something about the way she speaks is not always fitting for her age, and her recklessness bothered me. That being said, I still wanted to support her on her journey as she does have a touching motive.

The Light at the Bottom of the World is a book that I neither loved nor hated. There are certain aspects I loved such as the submarine racing and the world building, however much of it fell flat, including the main character. I do still think that many will enjoy this one, as perhaps I am just tired of dystopian.

About London Shah

London Shah

Author London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Afghan descent. She has lived in Britain's capital city for most of her life via England's beautiful North. When she's not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she's most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city's older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it's rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

19 thoughts on “Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World

  1. Debra Branigan says:

    Thank you for sharing your honest review of this book. I am actually a bit disappointed as this was such an interesting storyline.

  2. Angela says:

    I was very curious about this book, yet at the same time I was kind of worried about how it would all play out. I think I’ll keep this on my TBR for now but keep your review in mind!

  3. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books says:

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear you were a little disappointed by this one 🙁 the premise sounds so promising, I’m sorry to hear that it fell a little flat for you. I’m still very eager to read it someday, but I hope I’ll enjoy it a little better than you did. thank you for the lovely review! 🙂

  4. Mary Gardner says:

    I appreciate your honest review. I like the idea of the unique setting but honestly will probably skip this one as I don’t find too much else appealing.

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