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Worlds Beneath by K.A. Emmons

The Blood Race, Book 2

On My Kindle BR's review of WORLDS BENEATH by K.A. Emmons
I used to think that seeing was believing, but now, as I struggle to stay alive below the ravine, I begin to realize that - good or bad - I will see whatever I believe.

“Who are you, Icarus, that the earth opens its mouth to receive your blood?” Sensei’s words were my last thoughts before I fell into the bottomless ravine, plunging toward my own death, and bringing about Hawk’s at the same time. Or so I thought.

I woke up underwater. I awoke in a strange and unfamiliar world, filled with maze-like forest, shadows, and nightmares seemingly as vivid and dangerous as reality. I had no idea who I was, or how I got there - I couldn’t remember anything, until I remembered her: Hawk. The other half of my soul.

I knew that in order for her to stay alive, I had to survive and find a way out. But that’s easier said than done when you’re trapped in a realm as deadly as your every thought - and dominated by a hierarchy of ravenous wolf packs.

Alerted by a dream, I realize that Hawk has left the Dimension to come find me. For an instant, I rediscover hope. But that hope quickly burns to ash when I realize that we may not be the only ones down here. Someone else with a thirst for her blood may have survived the fall too. And I may have just lured her right into the jaws of a predator even fiercer than the wolves.
Source: I received a free copy of this book and opted to post a review.
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy
Pub. Date: July 1, 2018

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If you'll recall, I reviewed the first book in "The Blood Race" series back in November. I discussed my confusion about where the author was going with the plot and premise, but I also said that Emmons' writing was excellent. After reading this second book in the series, I'm gobsmacked because this book explains everything that wasn't explained in the first book, and then some.

The character building in this book is outstanding. I thought Emmons did an amazing job with this in the previous book, The Blood Race, but I think she outdid herself with this book. So much more is revealed about many of the characters in this book, and I was surprised that a few of the characters who came across as shallow in the previous book had so much depth.

The plot has taken a bit of a darker turn as Emmons delves into Hawk's turbulent past, the threat of war outside of Sanctuary, and the conflict amongst the sliders within Sanctuary. While other reviewers have commented on the underlying message of how love, hope, and faith overcomes all, I was particularly intrigued by the "you make your own world" philosophy. It's a philosophy that comes up frequently in everyday life, and I enjoyed Emmons' literal interpretation of it. This philosophy was present in the previous book but its role in the plot was more subtle, so I'm happy to see how the plot has developed around it.

The world building is impressive. Emmons built several unique worlds that matched the different characters' hopes and fears. There were some similarities between the worlds; however, the important elements of the settings differed. I also love Emmons' imaginative and clean style of writing; everything is explained well, her word choice is appropriate and small, editorial elements are impeccable.

I wouldn't describe Worlds Beneath as a true dystopian fantasy, it leans more towards speculative fantasy in my opinion. I think that readers who enjoy dystopian or speculative fantasy such as "The Hunger Games," Lovelock Ones, and "Bad Bloods" will enjoy reading this book. Having said that, if you haven't read the first book in the series, you'll want to read it before digging into this book.

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About K.A. Emmons

When she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run.

Emmons’ debut novel The Blood Race is the first book in her YA science fiction/fantasy thriller series.

The novel follows main character Ion, a troubled teen with unusual powers which he struggles to keep concealed. Through a series of strange occurrences, and a run-in with Hawk, the beautiful, mysterious, yet savage girl next door, Ion involuntarily stumbles headlong into an extra dimension—a secret reality that’s been hidden since the beginning of time; one that was made especially to protect and train teenagers with the abilities he possesses—”anomalies”. A secret place of intense training, hidden from humanity and created to defeat a rising darkness which a prophecy declares could swallow future earth.

Emmons lives in the often-snowy hills of rugged Vermont with her husband and dog named Rocket.
On My Kindle BR's review of WORLDS BENEATH by K.A. Emmons