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Beneath the Surface

The Outsider Project, Book 1
Written by: Rebecca Langham
Narrated by: Kate Roth
Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins

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Publisher's Summary

When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonetization 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.

©2018 Rebecca Langham (P)2019 NineStar Press, LLC

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • DabOfDarkness
  • 2019-10-05

Cool idea bogged down with angsty romance

This tale starts off interesting. It has that dystopian feel to it as the world is rather polluted and overcrowded. Lydia Barrett comes from a powerful & privileged family. But she wants to teach children and volunteering to go teach the Outsiders in their underground city gives her a chance to get away from her dad’s famousness and the paparazzi. There she gets to know some of the Aliens (aka Outsiders) quite well. Not all is as it seems. That’s a great set up and I was sucked into the story.

But then things really slow down for me… and stayed slow for the middle third of the book. It was the teen age angsty romance that didn’t work for me. There’s a little more going on there – like we learn about the gender fluidity and inclusiveness of the Outsiders, the lousy conditions the Outsiders are forced to live in, etc. But most of it is the teens trying to figure out who likes who and if they want to do anything about it.

While I loved the LGBTQ+ inclusiveness of this story, there was a lot of time spent on it. After a while, it felt like the author had a drum to beat. Anyways, the last third of the novel picks up again (yay!). There’s more conspiracy stuff, a big reveal about where the Outsiders might have come from, and betrayal! Yes! The story ends on a strong note for me, tho I would have to think about whether or not I want to continue on to the next in the series as I think I’m allergic to angsty romance. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Kate Roth was fun to listen to. She brought this story to life with her various accents. I think her Australian accent was the best. Her male character voices could use a little more masculinity. Roth did quite well with the romantic scenes. The pacing was perfect and there were no tech issues with the recording. 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rebecca Langham. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lelia T
  • 2019-09-07

An Interesting Tale

3.5 stars

Days after reading Beneath the Surface, I’m still unsure of just what I think about it and it keeps popping back into my mind. That’s not a normal state of events for me but it must be a good thing that I’m still cogitating over this book, right?

The premise is a good one, that humans have won the war with the aliens and have subjugated the survivors, and it’s refreshing to see aliens that are so close in appearance to humans and so subject to many of our behaviors. I missed having any of the initial conflict between the two because that would have brought a lot of frenetic action to the page and, in fact, the story suffered, for me, by being sort of staid. I also could have done with less attention to the romantic entanglements—I always think there’s too much of that—but the characters did appeal to me a good deal.

Perhaps my indecision about this book lies in the feeling that there are too many threads to follow, too many soapbox issues. Did the author really intend that? I don’t truly know but there’s no doubt that this felt like an allegory for our current conditions in the US (and in a few other countries but most noticeably here) what with our government’s treatment of immigrants and the rise of racism, corruption, terrorism, broken promises and all the other ill will going on here.

Narrator Kate Roth does a nice job other than having some difficulty with male voices and her use of varying accents helped bring it all to life. I’ll gladly listen to more from her.

So, bottomline, Beneath the Surface has a lot to offer but there are facets that prevented me from liking it 100%. I’m hoping for—and expecting—some more booklove with the next installment 😉

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mari Stark
  • 2019-08-05

Great sci-fi story

Loved this book completely, Rebecca Langham did an extraordinary job with this sci-fi story.

We got to learn so much about this world the author crated, the past and present between aliens and humans. It is slow paced, but is perfect. I loved the development, the display of technology and the intricate genetics, as well as diversity shown all along the book.

The characters are very interesting, I loved them so much. Alessia and Lydia are great. There’s a romance in the mix, but isn’t the main topic, although seems like this will spice things up in the sequel.

I loved how well written and descriptive it is, you can live it all as if you were inside the mind of the characters and could see and feel what they living and going through. It is a very enthralling and engaging story. It’s a fascinating read, surprised me in the best way. There were a lot of things I didn’t see coming, but I enjoyed very much to discover all the secrets involved.

I’d love to recommend this book, mostly to those who enjoy a good sci-fi story, intriguing, wonderful characters and captivating stories. I’m so ready for the sequel, because that ending left me wanting more. November won’t be here soon enough.

Kate Roth did a great job with the narration, captured the essence of the story and the characters. Alessia’s voice is my favourite.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Megan A Field
  • 2019-07-23

wow

really good. i just can't wait to listen to the next book! i can't wait to see what happens