Title: The Life Below (The Final Six #2)
Author: Alexandra Monir
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
No. of Pages: 320
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Date Read: February 22, 2020
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As Naomi lifts off into space and away from a rapidly deteriorating Earth, she watches the world fade away, and along with it Leo, a Final Six contestant she grew close to during training. Leaving Earth behind is hard, but what’s ahead, on Europa, could be worse. The International Space Training Camp continues to hide the truth about what happened to the last group of astronauts who attempted a similar colonization but failed mysteriously. With one shot–at this mission and to Europa–Naomi is determined to find out if there is alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.
Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him into space where can essentially latch on to Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa–it’s a definite. With Naomi unaware of what awaits, it’s up to Leo to find and warn her and the others.
With all the pieces of their journey finally clicking into place, everything else starts to fall apart. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and the questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous failed mission get answered in the worst way possible. If the dream was to establish a habitable domain on Europa… the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.
Many thanks to HarperTeen for sending me an advanced e-copy of the book.
After finishing The Final Six, I couldn’t wait to start The Life Below. I was so intrigued and attached to these characters that have found themselves thrown into space in order to “ensure” the existence of the human race and those that they have been forced to leave behind. The Life Below was an excellent addition to this series and furthermore has egged on my intrigue with that ending. I WASN’T PREPARED FOR THE INFORMATION IN THAT ENDING.
In The Life Below, the six that the ISTC send up to space are figuring out to maneuver living together for their trip to Mars and subsequent flight to Europa to settle, terraform, and prepare for humanity to follow. Leo, having missed being in the final six, is stranded on Earth. Dr. Greta Wagner, Naomi’s role model, seeing an opportunity recruits Leo for a solo trip to meet up with the six because not all is as it seems on Europa. The ISTC neglected to mention a lot of things to the six and Leo has the opportunity to help keep them alive. In space, Naomi knows that things aren’t exactly what they seem. Beckett is out in charge of the group and Sydney, after hearing Naomi out, discovers traces of extraterrestrial life in the radiation serum they’ve been injecting themselves with. Things get a little dicier when their communication with Earth crumbles and the Mars Athena acquisition goes nothing like it should have. Naomi, Leo, and the remaining teens in space are in for a ride, and not all of them make it out.
The detail in which Monir describes everything makes you feel like you’re preparing to join the crew. Everything is so well thought out and a lot of the science gets broken down into terms that make it easier to understand. This idea of Monir’s to send the team to Mars and then slingshot to Europa is so genius. Like, whoever thought of one of Jupiter’s moons having the possibility of holding life, even if it is fiction. Genius, I tell you.
One of the things I loved in this book is that you honestly never knew what was coming next. There were so many parts that I could’ve sworn I knew what was happening or what was going to happen and I was wrong. Really wrong. The writing of these scenes is so sublime and it sucks you in. I couldn’t stop reading. And the constant progression of the characters and the plot is so good. The twists and turns come out of nowhere and, again, you’re not prepared. Like, at all. So good luck. Especially with the ending. Holy crap, prepare to feel some things.
I really don’t wanna give away too much, but this is one book that you should definitely pick up. Monir does an incredible job with this sequel and I sincerely hope a book three is in the works. The Life Below released last week on the 18th and you can find it in the links above!
Alexandra Monir, Iranian-American author and recording artist, has published five novels for young adults, including her popular debut, Timeless. A Barnes + Noble best-seller and one of Amazon’s “Best Books of the Month,” Timeless and it’s sequel, Timekeeper, have been featured in numerous media outlets and been published in different countries around the world. She followed the duopoly with Suspicion and The Girl in the Picture, both standalone YA thrillers. Her upcoming science fiction novel, The Final Six (March 6, 2018) was acquired by HarperCollins and Sony Pictures during the same week, in two major pre-emptive deals.
Alexandra is also a singer/songwriter who often integrates music into her books’ pages. She wrote and recorded three original songs to accompany Timeless and Timekeeper, which were released as the album “The Timeless EP” and distributed by Jimmy Buffet’s record label, Mailboat Records. She also recorded a song that was released with the publication of Suspicion, and is composing a stage musical geared toward Broadway. Her musical roots are deep, as she is the granddaughter of the late Monir Vakili, the foremost Iranian opera singer.
Alexandra Monir is a frequent speaker at middle schools and high schools across the country, and at major events including fan conventions, women’s leadership conference, and book festivals. She is a member of the Iranian American Women Foundation, an organization near to her heart. Alexandra currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and newborn son. To learn more about Alexandra, visit her online at http://www.alexandramonir.com.
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