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Review: Beneath the Surface (The Outsider Project Book 1) by Rebecca Langham

September 27, 2020

About the Book:

When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonization of their peers is simply more “humane.” There’s no question, nor doubt. Just acceptance.

Lydia had embraced that sense of “truth” for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a powerful governor, she has been able to live her life with more comforts than most. Comforts can be suffocating, though, and when the opportunity to teach Outsider children in their private, “humane” community becomes available, she takes it.

What she finds beneath the city is far from the truth she had grown to know. There she meets Alessia, an Outsider with the knowledge and will to shake the foundation of all those who walk above ground. The two find a new and unexpected connection despite a complete disconnect from the technological world. Or perhaps in spite of it.

Still, it takes a lot more than an immutable connection to change the world. Lydia, Alessia, and a small group of Outsiders must navigate a system of corruption, falsehoods, and twists none of them ever saw coming, all while holding on to the hope to come out alive in the end. But it’s a risk worth taking, and a future worth fighting for.

My thoughts:

A fantastic Aussie scifi with a twist. It’s set beneath the surface of Earth.

The Outsiders – an alien race who arrived on Earth escaping a war on their own world – are taken in by humans at first but very quickly the humans turn on their visitors and the Outsiders are rounded up and placed in facilities underground where they are “contained and protected” code for “prisoners.”

But the humans don’t know the full truth. Neither do the Outsiders. This story is beautiful blending of a scifi, a mystery and a romance. Lydia is a human teacher who has volunteered for a stint in one of the facilities to teach the Outsider children. She is the daughter of the Governor and fully believes the history she has been taught of the Outsider arrival. Once underground she meets Alessia, an Outsider who captivates and intrigues Lydia. Alessia is just as drawn to Lydia. Their relationship is fraught with danger both for Alessia and for Lydia because of who and what they are. Events from within the facility and without reveal hidden truths to Lydia that could change her world and the world for everyone.

This is a fabulous Aussie scifi. The worldbuilding is clever and unique with a few twists I didn’t see coming. Set below ground and within the facility’s constricting walls at no point does the scene setting seem dull and uninteresting which is kudos to Rebecca Langham’s writing style. The pace is swift but this does not take anything away from the characterisations and emotional journeys of her characters. A very enjoyable read.


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