Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beneath by Roland Smith

I have traveled on many subways and trains across this country and whenever I  caught glimpses of tunnels as the train whizzed by I couldn't help but wonder about life in that subterranean maze. There are people who frequent the nether regions beneath our society but to have an actual functioning society down there is something that is hard to imagine...or is it?

Young Pat loves his older brother Coop despite the latter's quirky nature. The boys come from a loving if slightly weird family with two extremely smart parents who are good at their jobs but not so great at raising kids. Then one day his brother disappears and then Pat begins receiving some strange communiques from him. This leads him to New York city where the mystery deepens.

Pat finds not one but two societies underground with a hierarchy, strict laws and  some strange characters. It is his luck that he enters that world at a time of upheaval and although he makes alliances he doesn't know who to trust. There are some dangerous people in the world below, and some of them may be a threat to the world above ground.

Smith does a good job of showing how Pat begins to act like a person from down below after just a short time. While I must admit that Coop seemed just a bit too reckless for my liking he was a good foil and without his shenanigans we would have no story.

I like this book since not only does it show a young protagonist who must be brave in the face of terrible adversity, but he also must conquer some very real phobias that have dogged him his entire life. There are multiple literary references as well and the author is obviously an avid reader. I recommend this book for readers aged 10+

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