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Above Ground by A. M. Harte

Mayhem, violence, and danger: a story about fighting the odds, and surviving. 

Life above ground is something Lilith has never experienced. When she gets the chance to visit the outside world, to see, firsthand, the monsters that roam the surface, she’s understandably ecstatic. But the infected have a reputation for being dangerous for a reason, and Lilith is about to find out why . . . .

This is the story of Lilith, and her struggles for survival as she is plunged into an unfamiliar world that is far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

Note: Above Ground contains some graphic violence and harsh language.

A complete novel

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Listed: Jul 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

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Adventures among the Infected

By Linda Schoales, editor

Sep 15, 2009: “Above Ground” is a strong beginning to an intriguing, post-apocalyptic novel about a young woman who steps out of her safe environment to get a few thrills but sees more than she wanted to see. Lilith, like all humans, lives underground and has never seen the sky or the sun. The surface of the planet is only for the “Infected”; were-people, creatures with extra limbs, and other “freaks”. The only time Lilith would dare coming to the surface is to see a show displaying the Infected. Of course, the Infected have their own name for people like Lilith, and some of them have their own agendas.

In the Prologue, we’re introduced to some of the Infected as they are preparing to appear in the show. There is a lot of posturing and tension “in the air” due to the mixture of predator and prey types in the room. The reader is given the impression that something is about to happen soon that isn’t part of the usual show.

Chapter 1 introduces Lilith and her friend Emma as they’re standing in line, going through tight security before seeing the show. They seem like typical students and friends, excited and nervous about the upcoming event, and fascinated by their new surroundings. Lilith likes the open feeling of the sky but Emma is uncomfortable until a dome closes over the theatre. The presence of police and the security measures in the theatre increase the tension without slowing down the story.

The author has obviously put a lot of thought into the backstory and the world-building. In the first chapter she does a good job of conveying the excitement and nervousness of people living underground who come up to the surface for the first time. Some of their misconceptions were pretty funny. As more characters are introduced, we get an interesting mixture of peoples, all with their own personalities and customs. The story becomes more complicated as Lilith encounters various factions and has to choose who to trust. The writing is solid, the pace is good, and there is a nice balance between description and dialogue.

If you enjoy adventure stories with more than a touch of science fiction and fantasy, you’ll enjoy “Above Ground”. The characters are interesting and the plot moves along quickly. I’ll be interested in seeing where the author goes with this.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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A detailed landscape, enthralling in scope

By MJones, member

Feb 25, 2010: I’m not a huge fan of fantasy stories, and have a habit of shying away from vampire and werewolf tales, especially since there has been such a glut of these stories in commercial publishing lately. HOWEVER, Above Ground is no simple fantasy story, instead melding elements of science fiction and steampunk alchemy into a richly detailed landscape where the fish out of water has a human face. The worlds both above and below are so clearly defined it’s easy to visualize Lilith and her place within them, along with the [more . . .]

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Fast-Paced Apocalyptic Fantasy/Romance

By Frances Gonzalez, member

Sep 19, 2009: While I’m not a huge fan of the apocalyptic fantasy genre, Above Ground is well-written and well-paced enough to keep me invested despite my bias.

The story opens with an exceptional hook, protagonist Lilith and her friend Emma, dwellers underground, visiting the surface for a freak show. The events that transpire at the show introduce Lilith to a werewolf named Silver, and thus her adventure (literally "above ground") begins.

The world is [more . . .]

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Life on the other side of the hole…

By zoewhitten, member

Jul 14, 2010: Above Ground is vaguely like Alice in Wonderland in reverse. Instead of Alice falling down a hole, Lilith emerges from the caves that humanity has been living in after an unknown cataclysmic event sends everyone scrambling away from the surface world like house cats avoiding a long overdue bath.

The surface world now belongs to the affected (or the infected if you ask a human), people who have been tainted in various ways, resulting in mutations. Lilith is traveling to the [more . . .]

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