Blog Tour: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Fear has immobilized us. And it might be turning us into monsters.

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

Hi everyone! I’m so excited today to post my review for the blog tour of The Light at the Bottom of the World! I was lucky enough to be chosen as the part of the street team to celebrate the release of this incredible debut from London Shah. Be sure to check out the full schedule of this tour at the bottom of this post and feel free to visit everyone’s posts!

43885674The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

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.

 
Thank you to the author for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Light at the Bottom of the World | Series: The Light at the Bottom of the World #1 | Author: London Shah | Genre: FantasyScience FictionYoung Adult | Publication Date: October 29, 2019 | Purchase Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger Warning: Abduction, claustrophobia, violence.

what is it about?

Set in the post-apocalyptic underwater London, The Light at the Bottom of the World follows the story of Leyla McQueen, sixteen years old British/Afghan Muslim racer who was seeking for the truth about his falsely charged father by the government. With the belief that her father was innocent, she joined an annual marathon event to win the first place and trade her winning with freedom for her father. Unfortunately, with the continuous attacks from genetically modified humans, corrupted government, political intrigues, and only a little to almost no clue about the truth, Leyla must risk everything if she wants to reunite with her beloved father again.

what do I think about it?

The first impression that came into my mind when I started reading this book is Shah’s eloquent and grace for building, describing and developing this daunting future of London after the world got hit by an asteroid. So, we might as well start the review from that aspect. I wouldn’t be the one to criticize much about the writing in this book. It was cinematic and incredibly vivid. Although I was having difficulty to percept a few things, especially all about the technical bits from the buildings that people used as their home, to the subs that they used to transport underwater, I’d say that it’s a personal issue of mine due to the case of unfamiliarity. Other than that, I was having an exceptional time, exploring the underwater London and its long-gone monumental buildings with exciting creatures swam in between it.
 
Shah captured the perfect balance of portraying the vast ocean as something that — of course, mesmerizing — but also frightening. I personally share a common phobia with Leyla, the fear of the deep, unknown water. The terror of not knowing what’s lurking inside the ocean will always make me anxious. But, lucky me to be living in the land. Well, not so lucky Leyla to be living exactly within her own fear.
 
Now, moving on to the characters and their quest in this story. Leyla was definitely a young, naive teen, yet it was the reason why I’d find her characterization as highly relatable. She was your typical stubborn heroine who loved too much, and for that, willing to risk just about everything for her love. In this case, her falsely charged father. She was also incredibly brave for her age, although some might perceived her courageous acts as being careless. But, I’d say that it wasn’t the correct term for her case. Can you imagine to be living deep underwater, when you’re not supposed to as a human, as a sixteen years old girl who lost her father for a vague reason that not even the minister can answer it for you? I’d for sure lost my mind.
 
The other things that I enjoyed from this book come from various aspects, from the fun fact that Leyla had a pet named Jojo, a goofy white fur ball who’s too cute to be living in the deep, dark ocean, the mysterious Ari aka Leyla’s companion during her quest of finding the truth, to Leyla’s freshly installed housemaid/navigator in the form of holographic Osca Wilde which seems to be even more confident than me!
 
The Light at the Bottom of the World is a story of hope and unrequited love, twisted within truths. If you’re craving for an original underwater dystopian universe that meets corrupted politics, then you don’t want to miss this terrific debut.

what’s the verdict?

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what did others say about this book?

  • Ashley @ Cromulent Book Review said: “I love this – it would be easy for a YA protagonist to become cynical and bitter (adolescents, am I right?) but Leyla perseveres, despite her fears.”
  • Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks said: “Shah’s writing is captivating in a way that allows the reader to fully submerge themselves in a unique underwater world and be swept away by the characters and the story.”
  • Olivia @ One Mused said: “The world-building here is top notch, and I really felt like I could imagine this future and the people in it.”

tour schedule

October 20th – Utopia State of Mind
October 21st – Tomes and Textiles
October 22nd – Reader Voracious
October 23rd – Hollibrary Books
October 24th – Julia Fleur
October 25th – YA Book Corner
October 26th – Headscarves and Hardbacks
October 27th – Artsy Draft (It’s me!)
October 28th – The Tsundoku Chronicles

Are you thinking about adding The Light at the Bottom f the World into your next reading list?

Blog Tour: The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco + Wallpapers

A demon is what they call a goddess that men cannot control.

Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

 
Thank you Caffeine Book Tours for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Never Tilting World was published on October 15, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

The Never Tilting World follows the story sets up in the land of Aeon, seventeen years after an incident between the goddesses who caused the world to stop spinning and leave two separated realms as the result. The one is Aranth, cloaked in endless nights and stormy sea, while the other is Golden City, scorched by the unrelenting sun and burning desert. Odessa, the daughter of Asteria who ruled Aranth, suffered from a mysterious disease yet firmly believed that her power is coming and she could save the dying world. Accompanied and guarded by Tianlan, a healer/warrior who suffered from PTSD after surviving her previous mission, they both headed o the Great Abyss. On the other side of the world, Haidee, the daughter of Latona who ruled Golden City, interested in everything mechanic-related, crossed her path with Arjun, a nomad amputee, and they also both headed to the site of the Breaking.

what do I think about it?

The premise sounds a bit controversial in my opinion, but I couldn’t help but wonder what could I expect from a story that pitched as Frozen meets Mad Max? Although I feel decent about Frozen (yet you might find me humming Let It Go on random moments), I’m a massive fan of Mad Max and its terrifying world. And I’m glad to tell you that the universe of Aeon that Chupeco brings into papers, is very much a resemblance to those two contrast universes.

The elders would tell us how the Sun Goddess Latona had ripped the sky in two and feasted on her twin sister’s heart, dooming us to a lifetime of wasteland because she could not stop craving the light. We were born hating them. We had every reason to.

Dare I say that I just want to stan Chupeco for delivered such an original universe full of extraordinary beings and creatures that I could never imagine before. Although I was completely blown away by both of the realms in Aeon and I could sense all of the intriguing details that Chupeco tried to bring in this remarkable world, I often caught off guard by the inconsistency of the plot, resulting in unbalanced narratives. One scene might be full of action, people’s lives are at stakes, and monsters are roaming around, but it ended abruptly and a bit too easily. I was craving for more explanation especially during these particular moments, yet it couldn’t be fulfilled and it brushed off onto the next scene. Meanwhile, there were a lot of side stories that—yes, it was quite interesting—but they were overly explained and this led me into boredom.

People don’t think much about the truth when the lies sound more interesting.

However, I truly enjoyed all of the characters featured in this story. The dynamics between Odessa x Lan and Haidee x Arjun are entertaining and fun to follow. Although I’m leaning more towards Haidee and Arjun just because I’m always a fan of snarky commentaries and witty banters (and enemy to lover, obviously), the evolving relationship between Odessa and Lan was also charming in its own way. I wish that the story also emphasized other characters more, especially Asteria and Latona, as I couldn’t help but keep wondering about the history between the two. At last, I’m quite sure that there will be more answers and revelation regarding the history of the universe itself, the goddesses, and the twins on the sequel. And also, I couldn’t end this review without giving Chupeco an appreciation for bringing such diversity of the disabled, the mentally ill (PTSD), and the queer (f/f romance) in this fantasy tale. I couldn’t speak much about the representation as I’m not a part of any groups that mentioned previously, but I salute Chupeco for  putting them all as the leads in her story!

what’s the verdict?


about the author

Rin ChupecoRin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.
 
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
 
 

Author website | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter


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Have you read any of Rin Chupeco’s books before? Are you thinking about adding The Never Tilting World to your next reading list?

Blog Tour: Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

And as she turned, it was revealed by her tread that she was fireborne.

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.
 
 
Thank you The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Fireborne will be published on October 15, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

Fireborne follows the story of Lee and Annie, two childhood friends who grew up together and their journey during the new regime in Callipolis. Although both of them were from the same orphanage and shared common goals when they were younger, the differences in their family backgrounds were too big to fill in the gap that started to arise as they grew older. Fueled by personal ambitions, fierce competitions, twisted lies, political intrigues, and emerging wars, Lee and Annie must choose between the family that they were born into or the one that they found along the way.

what do I think about it?

Hands down, Fireborne is one of the most solid debuts that I read this year. I’ve been discovering a lot of good books lately, but this one is truly a gem. I’m also incredibly excited since I buddy read this book with Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea and we had a great time discussing and swooning over it! Today’s review is going to be a bit different than my usual format because there are a lot of areas that I want to cover and talk about without causing any confusion, in case you haven’t got a chance to devour into this epic universe yet.
 
➤ Let’s start with how this book pitched as Aegon Targaryen and Hermione Granger with dragons. I don’t think if there’s any precise statement to explain this book aside from this one. If you’re intrigued to read this book after looking at that bold statement, let me convince you why you should continue your intention. The resemblance of Aegon Targaryen on Lee comes from Lee’s bloodline as the aristocratic family, commonly known as Dragonlords during the old regime. In this regime, Dragonlords are highborn in society and they had the birthright to ride dragons. After his family was murdered by revolutionaries and the regime changed, Lee joined the training to prove his worth to ride the dragons, but oftentimes, he still pondered whether he must compete for a title that should be his birthright. There are more resemblance of Aegon on Lee when the story got deeper, but I can’t really mention it without dropping spoilers! Meanwhile, the resemblance of Hermione Granger on Annie comes from Annie’s intelligence, hard works, and determination. Although she often got underestimated by her fellow classmates, even her teachers (it’s basically how Snape taking points from Gryffindor every time Hermione answered his questions in class!), for being a lowborn (um, Mudblood?!), she continuously improved herself to achieve her goals. #HustleHard

Because Firstrider is a title I’ve wanted since before the Revolution. It would be all the recognition, power, and respect that my family lost over the course of a single bloody month when I was eight years old, regained.

But maybe, you don’t care about Aegon or Hermione. Maybe, you’re just fond of the dragons. That’s alright, too. Because if you do, Fireborne is the story set in a dragon land that you don’t want to miss. The dragons featured heavily in this story and I can assure you that you’ll enjoy every single second of it. My favorite part is the fact that the dragons weren’t just appeared for the sake of ‘coolness’ for being a dragon, but rather how it was blended so naturally with the characters, the plot, and the overall worldbuilding. We got a glimpse of the existence of dragons during the old regime through the characters’ throwback, a glimpse of how they choose their rider (much like how the wands choose the wizard!) through their first encounter, and a glimpse of how they become emotionally connected with their riders through the competition to become the Firstrider, 

“Now tell me again why you want to make Firstrider?”
“Because I’d be good at it.”

➤ And lastly, character-wise, plot-wise, and writing-wise, Fireborne is truly a masterpiece. I couldn’t find anything that I dislike about this book. I enjoyed every scene that was delivered, every intrigue and secret that was revealed, and every character that was involved. There’s no wasted potential in this debut. The complicated relationship between Lee and Annie was delivered beautifully. It was a slow-burn romance that I’m longing to read. The convoluted political intrigue which was the major plot in this story was extremely well-built, as they were no rights or wrongs because everyone has their own motives and reasons to be avenged. And Munda delivered all of these gracefully through her dazzling writings. This entire book is an absolute golden, but I always enjoyed the quotation that the characters took from the fictional literature in this story, which also the title of this series, The Aurelian Cycle. These proses give me chills and I wish I could read the book itself (especially now that it is banned in Callipolis!).

Bring what fury you have and I will answer it with ours.

The bottom line, Fireborne is an epic fantasy that you don’t want to miss. It’s an incredible first of the series that will leave you craving for more dragon duel, political secrets, and swoon-worthy romance.

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Are you thinking about adding Fireborne to your next reading list?

Blog Tour: Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

I was death’s sister.
She was murderer’s daughter.

Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara’s morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.

But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.
 
 
Thank you YA Bound Book Tours for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Resurrection Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

Resurrection Girls started three years after Olivia Foster’s little brother, Robby, drowned in the pool in their backyard. Broken and crushed, her mother was consuming pills to escape the grief and her father wasn’t around that much, arriving home during late hours and avoiding conversation or any sort of social interaction with the remains of his family. When three generations of women moving into a house across the street, Olivia didn’t realize that her lonesome journey will take turns. The Hallas women are intoxicating and mysterious, and soon Olivia made friends with Kara, who’s full of confidence, odd, and seems to know a lot about Olivia ever since their very first encounter.

what do I think about it?

The first thing that strikes my mind about this book is that it was far from what I was expected. Looking at the cover, reading the synopsis, checking the genres’ list, I was expecting this book will be heavier on the fantasy, magical, and witchy elements. But in reality, this is a story of grieving, losing your loved ones, dealing with unavoidable emptiness, and healing. Although I’m not complaning, because Morgyn did an awesome job for delivering this story with her haunting and poetic narratives.
 
I had a great time with this book, especially diving in its odd plot and exploring its quirky characters. The originality of Resurrection Girls was outstanding and it was bizarre when I first read about Olivia and Kara’s correspondences with the prisoned criminals, but it was so bizarre that it actually attracted me to keep reading. Their friendship also dynamic and always interesting to be followed, as I keep wondering what’s the next thing that they were gonna do after I finished each chapter.
 
Unfortunately, there were other things that prevent me from having that extraordinary, one of a kind reading experience. The inconsistentency of the plot was my first issue, and I’ve been thinking about it since the earlier chapters, especially because things are slow during those earlier chapters and I didn’t feel that many of those scenes contributed big impact on the bigger picture of the story, yet it took a fast route every since Olivia met Kara. I also couldn’t fully engaged and resonated with the rest of Olivia’s family. And I had so many questions that bugging me throughout the story, especially towards the Hallas. What’s their history? How exactly are their “magic” works? Are they naturally born with their charms to manipulate people or is it a work of magic? Why there were no men in their family tree? Where was Kara’s father? Why was Kara grow an interest to penpal prisoned criminals? I wish there’d be more explanation about all of these since the Hallas was the reason why this story happening in the first place.
 
Overall, Resurrection Girls is a poignant debut that explores loss, grieving, and healing with such graceful way. The little incorporation of magical realism in this contemporary might be a hit or a miss, which all depends on your reading preference.

what’s the verdict?

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What’s your latest favorite hard-hitting book? Are you thinking about adding Resurrection Girls to your next reading list?

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls follows the story of five girls and their escape journey to find freedom in the brutal land of Arketta. With a hope to get rid of their cursed markings, they will have to face a long trip full of demonic creatures, ruthless monsters, and not to mention the forces that chase them for a murder that one of them accidentally committed.

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
 
 
Thank you The Nerd Daily, Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Good Luck Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

The story started in a brothel called Welcome House, where the five girls lived and tried their best to survive after being sold by their family to get money for a living, pay debts, or simply because it was seen as the better way because the brothel offered food and roof to stay. It was the sixteenth birthday of one of the girls, Clementine, and it marked her transformation from being a daybreak girl where she’d need to do daily chores, into a sundown girl where she’d started to accompany clients at nights, commonly called as brags. It was supposed to be her Lucky Night, until she accidentally killed her very first client. Her older sister, Aster, who’s already experienced the ugly side of being a sundown girl, realized that there was no way for them to get out of this unfortunate event without getting punish unless they run away and leave the brothel. With the other three girls, Mallow, Tansy, and Violet, Aster lead the escape journey not to just physically get out of the brothel, but also to get rid of the tattoos that marked them as good luck girls. Girls that are forced into sex slavery in Welcome House , girls that are forced to praise every brag that they encountered, girls that need to swallow drugs in order to escape their traumas, girls that are sold by their own family. Maybe, they were not so lucky after all.

what do I think about it?

Ever since its first page, The Good Luck Girls was nothing but continuous intensity, dynamic storyline, full-force action packs, excellent inclusivity and representation of multiple mental illnesses (anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction), and delivery of well-researched topics including sex trafficking, sex slavery, social inequality, and oppression. It was raw and raging. Davis delivered a story which set in fantasy land but with issues that sadly still happened in our reality.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire aspect of The Good Luck Girls. As much as being entertained by the magical universe that Davis created, I was also learning about multiple important issues that I’ve never aware of before. Yes, this story feels like a furious shout over devastating issues that still happening at this very moment, and I applaud Davis for sharing her awareness and knowledge, not just by simply writing this story but also for spending enormous efforts and time to deliver facts and truths by conducting researches (in case you want to see more behind the story about this and the book references that Davis used, check out the acknowledgment part).

Everyone deserved to be free, though. Everyone deserved to feel this.

The universe of The Good Luck Girls was exceptional. It was built on such detailed narratives that leave me craving for more. Davis was truly incredible in describing this magical world of hers, everything from the scab, the underworld, to the animal and other magical creatures that lived in it was delivered in such cinematic writing. Everything was vivid and authentic.
 
And clearly, this is neither a plot-driven or a character-driven story. Because it is both! There was always something happening that moved the characters forward. I’m not the biggest fan when this method used in a story because oftentimes, they feel forced and unnatural. But in The Good Luck Girls, it flows smoothly and although I’m tensed and scared for these characters’ life, I couldn’t wait for more twists and unfortunate events. (No offense, Aster. Your gang will be always in my pray)
 
In conclusion, I’m glad to pick this book as one of my most anticipated debut titles for this month, because it truly lives to my expectations! The ending was not a ‘happily ever after’, indeed, but it left many unanswered questions that hopefully will be revealed in the next book.

what’s the verdict?

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What’s your most anticipated debut for this month? Are you thinking about adding The Good Luck Girls to your next reading list?