*I received an eARC of this book to review *
Below by Alexandra Warwick
“In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth–nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.
When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face–yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.
Yuki only plays the games she wins.”
If you like:
- Strong Willed Females
- Life Threatening Situation
- A Mysterious Villain
Then this book is for you!
I just finished the book not to long ago, and I’m still trying to process that ending because I wasn’t expecting it. I also wasn’t expected to be so captivated by the Face Stealer because a) he’s a demon, b) he’s so hot/cold and c) he’s what nightmares are made of. But, he’s also so dark and mysterious and has this energy that made me want to know more about him. When I first pictured him, I was envisioning this shadowy thing that took people’s faces in the middle on the night leaving them an empty shell, but I wasn’t this demon to have a human body with an actual name (Numika).
Apaay lives in this village in the icy North where the men are the hunters and providers, and she’s constantly trying to prove that she is more than someone who should be cooking and mending things. She’s tired of people telling her that she should leave the ‘hard work’ to the males and just let it be because she’s not good enough to do that work. She’s the person that people give her a once over and keep on with their lives, even her family treats her like this to a certain extent making Apaay’s need to prove herself even more worthwhile to show them that she is worth something.
“She tried not to feel sorry for herself. The truth did not have to hurt if she didn’t want it to. It was nothing she did not already know. But deep down, it ate at her. And the only thing keeping her together was this: if she succeeded at this task, maybe people would look at her differently. Maybe they would see her as someone worthy.”
That is until her sister’s face is stolen when she’s walking home after a fight with Apaay. Apaay not only feels this overwhelming amount of guilt for not being with her sister to walk her home, but she’s sees the opportunity to prove all of the people in her village wrong. She sets out on a journey into the unknown to the land where no one has returned, leaving everything behind in what many believe is a death sentence to get her sister’s face back from the Face Stealer.
“The North would carve you up, spit you out if you let it. There was no place for vulnerability on the ice.”
Apaay has to face the brutal elements of the north to get to this place in another dimension to get once step closer to finding her sister’s face and giving her back her life. She doesn’t expect to find this merciless young girl living in a labyrinth who can control water and ice and Apaay certainly isn’t expecting the Face Stealer to look so normal.
She soon finds herself living as Yuki’s prisoner and playing this deadly game to save not only herself but her sister and family.
During her time in this place, Apaay is pushed beyond her limits emotionally and physically, yet she finds a will to keep going whether it’s the thought of her family back home or her cellmate who has became a close friend. Each day brings a new form of torture that makes her lose a piece of her soul making life that much harder to hold onto.
“Life was full of risks, after all. To open your heart to love, knowing it could lead to pain or death. To choose a less-trodden path.”
In this epic first book about a girl set out to find not only her sister’s life but her own strength, she soon finds out that there are more to the stories that she was told as a child to keep her safe. Make sure you have a warm blanket and a hot drink to keep you hot as you read this book set in a land with ice and snow that span farther than you can imagine.
Happy reading until next time,
This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info