I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
“Under Ground” is the first book in a trilogy. It is not a standalone novel.
“Love is a taboo, a mere fantasy— foreign, unreachable, and dangerous.
Raised in a society where women have no rights, seventeen-year-old Thia Clay holds little hope for a bright future. When her parents sell her into marriage to elite member William Fox, Thia slowly gives in to despair. William is nothing but a cruel, selfish young man with no other interest than to serve his own. Born illegally and forced to hide from the authorities his entire life, nineteen-year-old Chi Richards is an active member of the Underground—a rebellious group seeking to overthrow the government. Chi only has one goal—to rescue his parents from the work camp they were forced into. Meeting Thia was never part of the plan, and neither was falling in love with her. If caught in their forbidden relationship, Thia and Chi could face a death sentence, and when devastating secrets surface from Chi’s past, Thia has to rely on her instincts to make a choice that could save her or destroy her forever.”
Under Ground was a strange mixture of old world and new. The ideology is very medieval, or at least Victorian, with the notion that women are not as important as men and have no rights. Everything seems to be illegal in this novel. Homosexuality, marrying for love, equal rights—you name it, and it’s probably illegal. Before the novel’s end, I noticed many Nazi-like ideas as well with concentration camps and mass execution of people deemed lower-class.
Thia’s beyond oppressed. She’s so oppressed she seems crippled by it. While she questions what she’s been taught, her first line of defense is withdrawal and “poor me,” which became a bit overwhelming.
This world that is so completely backward actually makes a frightening sort of sense. In our own society, it seems completely backward to remove freedoms, but the author’s explanation will leave you wondering if something like this new world could happen. The society-building was good as was the writing; however, the large paragraphs had me skimming at times. I think the novel could use a thorough editing, not for punctuation or grammar, but to eliminate some of the tedious repetition. There were times that the novel was too wordy and others when I WANTED to hear conversations that were “summed up.” I needed more show and less tell.
The dialogue was a stilted at times, and I had real issues accepting some of the major events toward the end of the novel. Characters performed “out of character” and were the cause of some important plot twists that I just found completely unbelievable.