Cover Image: Beneath the Rising

Beneath the Rising

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Member Reviews

This book was a challenge because I found the main character wholly unsympathetic. Was he written with that in mind, or is the reader meant to empathise with him? He's resentful, blamey and jealous and his love for Johnny never seems to rise above those feelings into, oh, a genuine attempt to understand her and support her. 
I absolutely *loved* the mad science, the social commentary and the looming eldritch horrors.
But I was so wrong footed by Nick's attitude and choices. I wanted to shake him throughout the book. I was most certainly rooting for Johnny!
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When Nick Prasad’s best friend, science prodigy, Joanna “Johnny” Chambers returns home from an international trip, he is looking forward to spending some time with her. But when, on the night of her return, Johnny creates a new invention that could change the world, she begins to awaken a dark and ancient evil. Johnny, with Nick in tow, must embark on a journey to stop the still sleeping Ancient Ones from waking up and destroying the world. 

Beneath the Rising was a crazy story. It was full of twists, turns and nightmares. The world that Premme Mohamed developed was incredibly detailed and believable. I especially loved how she used Lovecraft’s stories as a little Easter egg during Johnny’s research. However, the really amazing aspect of Mohamed’s writing was the in-depth, realistic and heartbreaking relationship she created between Nick and Johnny. 

You have to love when a hero or heroine is written with extremely relatable flaws. I will never understand how writers think main characters can go from meek and mild to kicking ass just by putting on a cape. Nick wasn’t written as a boy who was thrust into an extraordinary circumstance and all of sudden became an action hero. He still had anxiety and stomach issues, two things I would definitely be afflicted with if I found myself in the same sort of situation. He was written as constantly battling between his love and admiration for Johnny and his disdain for their relationship and mission. 

I also loved how Johnny had changed the world and helped so many people, and yet she still didn’t really care about those people. I’ve always imagined that a brain capable of such genius might also lack the ability for common human emotions. I guess that Johnny’s lack of empathy and disdain for touch and companionship beyond Nick means that Mohamed had a similar thought! 

I would highly recommend Beneath The Rising to just about anyone. Yes, it’s technically a science fiction story, and that may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the ancient ones and the action really takes a backseat to the relationship and human nature parts of the story.
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An excellent debut novel. It works well as a standalone, but I hope it gets a sequel. I feel both the story and its resolution leave room for it. I loved dark humor mixed with eldritch horrors and excellent portrayal of two hurt teenagers trying to find their place in the world. 

Highly recommended.
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This book is more of a sci-fi adventure than a horror story, but that just makes it all that much better. I like cosmic horror, and this one was fun. It's full of nice twists and turns, excellent pacing, and the writing is top notch. The characters are fully realized and the ending is very satisfying. I enjoyed it.
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This book was good and I thought it was interesting the way the story moved. Slowly at first and the. Fast like we were running out of time. I like how firmly this is his story. This caught me at the bad time of school becoming more intense and the plague and things are hard? I did enjoy this story telling and I think the monsters and shape of the story is innovative. The characters felt real especially because of their flaws.
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So Paul has already ably reviewed Premee Mohamed's BENEATH THE RISING for Nerds of a Feather, and Premee has joined us for a six books AND an interview to boot. But as I also picked up a review copy of this one, I thought I'd dust off my Tweet-review skills for it!Beneath the Rising is the story of Nick Prasad, a poor brown kid living with his Mom and three younger siblings, and his best friend Joanna "Johnny" Chambers, a rich white supergenius who he is hopelessly in love with. Solid YA contemporary set-up, you might think, but that's not where we're going with this.Johnny and Nick are constantly in each others' orbits in a way that Nick doesn't quite understand, ever since a traumatic incident in their childhoods. But when Johnny invents a miraculous clean energy source, he gets caught up in forces he never realised she was involved with.See, apparently there was a deal with some cosmic horrors back when Johnny was a bit younger. And apparently this energy source is tapping into their awful universe, and now one of them is about to open a portal to our universe and some bad things might come of that.We're all into apocalypses at the moment, right? But it's OK, this one is pretty far off from the one we're living. It takes Nick and Johnny first to Morocco, and then to Nineveh, in what's now Iraq, in a desperate chase to stop it - all while being hunted by well-meaning but frustrating human authorities as well.The adventure is fun, but what really keeps the story going is the relationship between Johnny and Nick, particularly as Nick starts to reevaluate the connection between them that has defined his life for so long.Both have built intricate systems to maintain their connection despite the power dynamics involved, though from Nick's perspective it seems apparent that most of the genuine compromises have been his. But learning your complicated bestie has a pact with the Eldritch Gods for all the time you've known her? That takes some getting used to.My biggest challenge with Beneath the Rising was working out whether and to what extent to sympathise with Johnny. On many levels, this is a character who defines entitlement: one who never compromises, for anything or anyone, and seems incapable of supporting her friend as much as he is expected to support her. Add to that interpersonal entitlement the gulf between them: the smart, famous genius, whose white girl problems Nick never minimises but which feel to the audience like a lot less than what Nick has to contend with in keeping his family afloat, and the poor kid who is never quite sure why he's in her orbit.And then she drags him across the world on a secret mission to save everyone, all while still projecting the aura of being collected and on top of everything despite all the arrests and the creepy stares, and we get to watch Nick tag along while every fault line in their relationship and their past is put to the test.All of this adds up into something that's kind of a platonic anti-romance about falling out of love with your best friend, which is a happening that doesn't get covered enough in books, let alone ones involving the potential death of the universe. It's sad and loving and nevertheless full of banter and really worth reading.So, yeah, buy Premee's book! It's published by Solaris and, at least in the UK, available directly in ebook directly from Rebellion's website if you want to avoid both postal systems and The Bad Place during these dark times. Or there's a number of great indies who I'm sure can source it and either hold or post it safely.
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This book was ok, but not a favourite  for me. I found it hard to follow and often caught myself drifting from the story, and had to re-read multiple pages. The characters were ok but again not favourites. I did like the friendship between them and the banter, but felt they lacked something ?Im not sure I’d read again.
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Beneath The Rising
by Premee Mohamed

After reading this book, I will definitely pick up the next book by Premee Mohamed.  This author has a great deal of potential and I look forward to seeing what else she writes.

I wanted to start out with that because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was being too negative about this novel, because there were a number of things I didn’t like.  To be honest, there were times when it felt like a slog and I was tempted to not finish it.  But one thing kept coming back - the raw truth of the central relationship.

 It I’m getting ahead of myself.  This book is in a genre that is not particularly my jam.  I don’t often go for Lovecraftian horrors.  I’m mostly a science fiction fan who also loves fantasy.  I wouldn’t have ever requested an eARC from Netgalley until I read about the book and author on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog’s My Favorite Bit feature.  Reading what the author wrote about herself and her book made me immediately request an eARC, so thanks to both Mary Robinette and Netgalley for getting me this book.

This novel is the author’s first traditionally published book, and it feels a lot like a first novel.  A lot of the descriptions are lyrical and poetic, which makes it very jarring when the book switches into vernacular.  Apparently, it WAS a first novel, one the author wrote in 2002, which might explain the choice of the alternate history setting where the September 11th attacks did not succeed.  I later read Ms. Mohamed’s Big Idea guest post on John Scaliz’s Whatever blog and I thought to myself, this person seems awesome.  She wrote this book originally when in school working on a genetics degree and it totally brought me back to my own Drosophila lab days.


A lot of the writing feels rough.  The Eldridge monsters start out scary,  but quickly begin to feel repetitive and boring.  The globetrotting quest feels as pro forma as a game of 80’s Carmen Sandiego.

So why do I think this is an author worth following? Simple.  She totally captured the feeling of being the needier person in an unbalanced friendship.  Have you ever had a friendship where you constantly thought to yourself “why is this person even friends with me?” Where your depth of feeling far outpaced the other person’s? Where you constantly felt that you weren’t pulling your weight and you kept waiting for the other person to drift away? This author totally captured all of those raw, visceral feelings and put them down on the page.  That’s why I’ll be watching it for what she does next.
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Well, that was really interesting. Who would've thought you can write a book about cosmic horror with tons of humor in it!

I loved the beginning of the book, so powerful with the image of little Nick waking up after a tragedy to see Johnny (a girl named...) for the first time. 

It was a really breathtaking read, no time to stop as we follow the two main characters in a race against time that felt very Indiana-Jones-esque. Fast paced, with brief instances of horror and a lot of fighting, I think it would appeal more to readers of adventure books than fans of Lovecraft, but that's just my opinion.

I quite liked it, all in all. And laughed more than I expected. And was crushed when the development I was hoping for didn't take place. 

But anyway, good, good, go buy it. :)

Ps. I recieved an advance copy of the book through Netgalley.
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Premee Mohamed’s globe-trotting sci-fantasy cosmic horror alt-history adventure debut doesn’t exactly shatter genre conventions as much as pants them and run away giggling. The novel has a kind of nervous energy that is both puckish and disarming, like a court jester whose council the king values. 
Beneath the Rising begins in Alberta, Canada, not long after the September 11, 2001 hijackers failed to bring down the World Trade Center in New York. Many of the world's biggest problems have already been solved—or soon will be—thanks to teenaged super-genius Joanna “Johnny” Chambers, a multi-billionaire who has been making earth-shaking scientific breakthroughs since the age of four: rewriting the laws of physics, curing every illness from HIV to Alzheimer’s, etc., and who now has her sights set on renewable energy. You would think this gender-reversed take on the “boy genius” trope would be the hero of the novel, but that burden rests on the shoulders of Johnny’s long-suffering, distressingly ordinary best pal Nick Prasad, who also narrates. Soon after Johnny shares her latest triumph with Nick, an extra-dimensional eldritch terror called Drozanoth harasses and tries to threaten Nick into handing over Johnny’s newest invention. Johnny already knows exactly what Drozanoth is, where it comes from and what it wants. With their families’ lives and the world’s survival at stake, Johnny drags the hapless Nick into a world of international conspiracies and secret societies, Ancient Ones and Elder Gods, as the two teenagers search for a way to stop unimaginable evil from overrunning the Earth.
Despite being a little plot-heavy at times, Beneath the Rising is an attention grabbing romp that separates itself from the pack with its brisk pace, acerbic humor and fiendish world-building. Mohamed exploits the contrasts between the two lead characters to great comedic and dramatic effect. Johnny—white, pretty, blonde, rich and absurdly good at everything—can’t help but take the lovelorn, otherwise friendless Nick for granted. For his own part, Nick must tamp his pride down and keep his unrequited feelings in check just to hang on to her coattails, but he’s also self-aware enough to question the wisdom of his devotion. Mohamed never lets us forget that these differences matter: conflicts born of class, gender and race periodically bubble to the surface in the tension between them.
Sometimes I felt the novel was too narrowly focused on Nick and Johnny, leaving secondary characters to serve as little more than props and obstacles. But overall, Beneath the Rising is way too imaginative and way too much fun to miss.
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<blockquote>Like thirteen years of friendship with the glass wall of her secret between us, like the barrier separating animals and humans at the zoo. And yet here we were, nine thousand kilometers from home, together. A girl and her dog. [loc. 4507]</blockquote>

Johnny (short for Joanna) is a prodigy whose inventions have changed the world. She and Nick have been best friends since childhood, despite being different in almost every way: Johnny is white, wealthy, and a genius, while Nick is brown, works a mundane job to look after his family, and can't justify getting a degree. Perhaps the only thing they have in common is that, as children, they were the sole survivors of a hostage situation. 

Their shared PTSD is just one of the factors in their friendship: they are both tremendous geeks (there are multiple references to the Peter Jackson <i>Lord of the Rings</i> movies, to D&D, to Superman and <i>Pulp Fiction</i> and <i>Jurassic Park</i>) and they trash-talk one another constantly. Nick is the first to know when Johnny makes a ground-breaking discovery that promises clean, free energy. But her latest invention draws unwanted attention -- and Nick realises that there are things Johnny's never told him, secrets that dwarf Nick's unrequited crush on her.

This is a world whose history is not quite our own. In September 2001, for example -- a year or so before the events of <i>Beneath the Rising</i> --  two planes were hijacked and <u>almost</u> hit the World Trade Centre. And it is a world transformed by Johnny's inventions: cures for HIV and Alzheimers, alternatives to plastic,  housing for disaster zones, molecular recycling... 

But Johnny has paid, and is paying, for her gifts, and the price is appalling. Cosmic horrors are gathering at the edges of the human world, seeking a way in. Only Johnny and Nick can avert disaster -- or so Johnny claims. Nick, stumbling after his friend on a hectic quest that takes them from Canada to Morocco to Iraq and onward into the ancient places of the earth, can't figure out how he can possibly be part of the solution. 

Premee Mohamed's <a href="http://tamaranth.blogspot.com/2019/03/201933-apple-tree-throne-premee-mohammed.html"><i>The Apple Tree Throne</i></a> was a highlight of last year's reading for me, hence my requesting <i>Beneath the Rising</i> for review. The two are very different books: both are emotionally subtle and written with precision, but here the story is on a far broader canvas, and the underlying secrets more epic. That said, I found the relationship between Johnny and Nick seized my attention in a way that the cosmic battle for the future of humanity did not. It's refreshing to see a friendship treated this seriously: it's horrific to see the foundations of that friendship.

Thanks to NetGalley for my advance review copy, in exchange for this honest review.
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Nick and Joanna (Johnny) have always been friends, ever since they were united by a singularly terrifying event. They have always been friends, but not equals. Johnny is wealthy and a genius. A prodigy. She has cured AIDS, invented a million cures and vaccines and polymers and solar panels and clean water generators, all before the age of 18. Nick works at a grocery store stocking shelves to help out his mom who is supporting herself and four kids. Still Nick and Joanna are attached to each other in a way that Nick knows and Johnny really understands. And that bond will be tested. 

This book was engrossing. Johnny and Nick embark on a quest across the Middle East and find themselves searching ancient libraries and tombs and fighting monsters. There is some humor and a lot of action as well.

I found myself wishing  that I understood more about the evolution of the relationship between Nick and Johnny because it was so uneven. I also wanted more glimpses of Nick’s family life. there are a lot of things that are alluded to but not completely explained. Johnny’s motivations are slowly unfurled over the course of the novel and Nick’s true feelings as well. Ultimately both remain unresolved.
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While I DNFed this one, I think it was more a case of, <i>Beneath the Rising</i> isn't a good fit for me personally, rather than it being a bad book. I've seen it pitched as <i>All the Birds in the Sky</i> meets Lovecraft, and it's pretty apt; the story is about what happens when the creation of a clean-, infinite-energy generator draws the attention of eldritch creatures beyond our reality, who decide they want the generator for themselves. Mohamed made the interesting decision to tell the story via the first-person narration of Nick, who is not the generator's creator - he's the alleged best friend of its creator, Johnny, a world-famous prodigy who's revolutionised every aspect of the technological world. Johnny is a bit reminiscent of Tony Stark, except she's never been interested in weapons - from her first inventions as a pre-teen, she's always been in it to save the world from itself. Solar panels, bio-degradable plastics - and now the generator. 

So Johnny's life is off in the stars, wealthy and famous beyond belief. Nick, on the other hand, is at the complete opposite end of the economic spectrum; he and his (verbally/emotionally abusive) mother struggle to keep Nick's younger siblings fed and clothed, and Nick often goes almost a year at a time hardly hearing from his supposed best friend. So the contrast between the two of them is dramatic, and Nick especially is painfully aware of it - Johnny, with the blind thoughtlessness typical of even the well-intentioned rich, seems painfully <i>un</i>aware of how different their circumstances are. Their dynamic, while well-written, initially made me kind of uncomfortable - while it's realistic and believable, I didn't enjoy reading about Nick questioning his own worth and comparing himself to all that Johnny's accomplished. Add to that that Nick thinks he's in love with her, and I thought I was going to DNF this a lot earlier than I did.

However, events surrounding the generator actually levelled the playing field between Nick and Johnny incredibly, in a way I wouldn't have guessed was possible. Nick gains the moral high ground in a big way, and has his eyes opened to the fact that Johnny isn't as perfect as he's painted her. Not that Johnny is any kind of villain - it's more that she's <i>human,</i> with flaws of her own and capable of making mistakes. 

I actually stopped reading at that point, because the story was going beyond my (pretty pathetic) tolerance for horror, and despite the stakes being raised and the story actually getting started (at the 30% mark)...I just didn't care. I wasn't invested, and those things that Mohamed handled really well - like the class difference between the two friends, Nick's economic and family situation, the horror of the monsters Nick came face to face with - I just wasn't in the right headspace for horror or that kind of depressing reality. I spent months trying to read my ARC, but I was never a good fit for this book.

The book is slow to get started, but I think that the right kind of reader is still going to enjoy <i>Beneath the Rising</i> immensely. Alas, I'm just not that reader. But I really don't think that's a reflection on the book's quality. Sometimes you and a book just don't click.
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Horror is not usually my thing, but I thought I'd give this a go, figuring there would more it than that. It is, and I liked it overall. The book is unpredictable  with good pacing and sophisticated writing. I admire the author's imagination, and enjoyed the characters. It builds to a satisfying ending. With some adventure, maybe best for horror fans.

Thanks very much for the review copy!!
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I enjoyed elements of this book, but it was not what I expected going in. What I thought would be a rising horror story of Eldritch monsters, was much more of an adventure story that a sci-fi horror. The relationship between the two leads was sometimes confusing and the dialogue felt a little too on the nose and clumsy at times. Elements of the story also made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief, for example a young child being allowed to move out and live on her own, even with genius level intellect, felt a little unlikely for me, and there were a couple of these niggling issues that didn't allow me to become fully immersed in the story. 

However, despite those issues, it was a fun story, but make sure you know what it is, going in.
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Spy Kids, but older and better. The power dynamic between Nicky and Johnny pulled me along through this quest-adventure. Their banter and complicated relationship provided humor and tension that the overall plot lacked for me, and I took great satisfaction when Nicky learned the truth. I was furious for him. This book will make for excellent discussions and book club arguments. I could see the framing of who had what choices, the meaning of consent, who suffers when bad things happen, and internalized -isms being taught in literature courses using this text as example. I liked that it worked on various levels: young adults against the odds, flawed friendship cracking under stress, teen duo must save the world, or why must the unequipped youth be the ones fixing everything all the time. It was very much a “where are the adults” vibe, and that’s a message many of us grasp on a global catastrophe kind of level these days. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. This author is a favorite of mine, and I look forward to reading more from them in the future!
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I have always been enticed by cosmic horror and other Lovecraft adjacent stories, but I never really dove into the genre. It’s always lurking in the background, taunting me with its perceptions of madness. Luckily for me, Premee Mohamed’s Beneath The Rising is a Lovecraftian story filled to the brim with horror, adventure, a dash of comedy, and a lot of fast-paced adventure. Beneath the Rising follows two teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and on the eve of destruction as they sort out their friendship and try to contain the Lovecraftian consequences of their decisions. Written through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Nick Prasad, the story explores the nature of cultural and class differences, shared traumas, and teenage romance as the characters attempt to save the world from Eldritch horrors.

The story begins when Johnny, Nick’s childhood friend and supergenius, Joanna “Johnny” Chambers”, returns from her latest travels of the world and shows Nick her latest experiment, a new unending source of clean energy. Upon activating the device, strange beings start appearing and harassing the two teenagers. Soon, Johnny reveals to Nick that she fears she has awoken the Ancient Ones, beings she has learned about through the various scientific societies she is a part of. Nick is inadvertently pulled into the chaos of Johnny’s quest to save the world by virtue of being her closest friend, even though he feels he barely knows her. He’s poor, of Indian descent and secretly in love with Johnny, a rich, white supergenius who flies around the world. 

Mohamed’s ability to explain the world through Nick’s eyes is wonderful. I sometimes felt lost, but it seemed like a deliberate choice, becauseNick’s consciousness switched between memories and current events with no real transition. It was as if I was reading someone’s thoughts while they were trying to parse what was happening in front of them and also reconciling it with a memory it triggered. These were the only times I felt pulled out of the book, but it gradually became less jarring as I attuned to the style. Nick felt like a teenage boy, aware of the seriousness at hand, but willing to take a crack at a joke to impress his friend. He referenced pop-culture a decent amount, but mostly because that was the easiest way to relate to the absurd situations he found himself in. Normally, I cringe at pop culture mentions, but they felt natural here in a way I have not experienced before. It felt like Mohamed purposefully wrote them as a point of contact for Nick to make sense of the world instead of being used to relate to the reader, and that is refreshing.

With the story being told in the moment through Nick’s point of view, the pacing is fun and frenetic. It conveys a sense of what Nick and Johnny must be feeling as they face the end of the world. There are constantly new threats that must be dealt with, or a new library to get to in order to find a way to defeat the Ancient Ones. Mohamed’s strength as an author is not just in her ability to keep the plot moving, but also giving the characters room to breathe and process what they just went through. Johnny lends an air of “whatever, I see crazy stuff all the time,” while Nick is still playing catchup and questioning the nature of their friendship, let alone the nature of the cosmos. Their fights with each other hit hard, and the reconciliation is earned if it even happens. Their relationship is truly engrossing as it’s pushed to the limits as these two teenagers travel across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Even more astounding is Mohamed never let the larger plot fade away and lose relevance, having it hover over the characters like a sword of Damocles. It put a lot of pressure on the story and kept pulling me to the next page.

I am not an avid reader of Lovecraft, but even so, something about the way the mythos is used felt refreshing. The Ancient Ones were always within reach, but rarely ever in sight, adding an increasing amount of tension. This might be disappointing for some, but I did not mind it. The first time “something” showed up in the story, I felt my blood run cold and I owe that to Mohamed’s careful and deliberate revelation of the world. My feelings as a reader often seemed to mirror Nick’s, unsure of what was going on and always needing an explanation, but only able to get a little bit from Johnny. It felt like a madness creeping into Nick’s brain, as if what he was going through could not possibly be real, but there was no other explanation. Moments that were humorous could also be easily turned on their heads as moments of horror. I never got the sensation that I missed the cue, however, as if Mohamed was hinting at the ambiguity for a reason and making me think about how teenagers would handle themselves in these terrifying situations.

The last aspect of the book that really gripped me, however, was just how insidious every interaction felt. Mohamed starts the story off with a moment of alternative American history in which 9/11 happens, but the planes miss. Similar tensions still pervade the western hemisphere, however, and Nick receives some of the backlash as an Indian person born and raised in Canada. It felt real, and as if Mohamed looked at me through the pages of her book, and asked “are you paying attention?” I could not stop looking for the little ways this change wove its tendrils into how Nick and Johnny engaged each other and the world given their backgrounds. I felt every word and turn of phrase had to be dissected. Being inside Nick’s head only fine-tuned this notion, making Johnny feel unreliable and dodgy in response to his inquiries. It was bold, and I felt it paid off immensely through the rest of the story.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fast, fun take on the cosmic horror genre that pushes its characters to the limits, Beneath The Rising is for you. Mohamed cares for her characters, and her love of the world that she’s built shines through. There are plenty of twists that are as revealing of the story as they are impactful to the characters. I had a blast, and this book makes me want to dive further into the genre. So, if you feel its pull even slightly, its worth it to answer its call.

Beneath The Rising: 8.0/10

-Alex
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At the tipping point between horror and adventure, Beneath the Rising ultimately falls on the side of adventure, and if that’s a major consideration for choosing your fiction, its best you know in advance. The style here is overtly Lovecraftian, but there isn’t the weird or the hopelessness to match those emblematic horrors. There is darkness, certainly, and immense, cosmic threat waiting to engulf us all, but if you’ve ever hidden behind the sofa at an episode of Doctor Who, that’ll tell you the kind of fear to expect. That’s not to disparage this story, because if there is a spirit of Doctor Who to this book, it is Who at its very finest, and richer still than that.

Nick is the classic companion: earnest, somewhat in awe, somewhat in love, but all too aware of how far above him the superhumanly gifted Joanna( “Johnny”) is. She’s this incomprehensibly gifted child prodigy, who invents the future and shapes the world, but now she’s invented a tech that threatens to end it by allowing a terrible evil in from the beyond.
If you are a fan of Who, it’s possibly because of the appeal of a seemingly godlike hero, powered—essentially—by a desire to do good, but at the same time utterly reckless and seriously damaged. Johnny occupies that same character space, but here the damage proves more deep rooted. And, like the best Who, when the companions are able to steal the show, that’s when the truly epic stories appear. Premee Mohamed has harnessed this focus, letting Nick tell and, in a way, direct the story, rising above the part of sidekick to a space more like that of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby: dictating the temperament of the moment and seeing the big pictures that Johnny can’t. It’s the interaction between these two characters that makes this book great; the friendship is rich, and authentic, and flawed, and the voices are attractive and engaging.

The protagonist is thinner, and there’s more of a sense of thriller plotting to the race to undo Johnny’s mistakes than horror. But once you buy into the adventure stakes, the chase is good. It’s too short, and runs at its resolution like a train, but the ride is thrilling. And threatening. It won’t terrify, but I’m not sure Mohamed really tried to do so. More important is that you’ll care about these two—and you need to in a book so sparsely populated with characters—and any threat to what you care for is a genuine one.

Definitely recommended.

This ARC was provided by the publisher is return for an honest review.
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I really, really wanted to like this book but ultimately just couldn't get into it. I loved the lively writing style and I really enjoyed the main character, but the way the main dynamic was set up felt extremely unevenly written- I didn't really understand why the two of them were friends and waiting to introduce the way they met meant that I felt like I was coming into the story in the middle, rather than the beginning. This translated to most of the rest of the story- I felt like I was bouncing off the plot rather than getting immersed in it and ultimately, that really affected my ability to enjoy and follow the story.
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Loved this book! It took me a little bit to get into it as it was a bit all over the place for the first chapter but then the story centered on the relationship between Johnny and Nick and how they were such a close pair for all the differences of money race and upbringing they had, and it got better and better the story has a wonderfully Lovecraft type theme but with a more relaxed modern feel the characters really get under your skin and you want  to carry on reading to see how it all works out,
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