By L. N Denison
2044, hard to think about while we’re living in 2015 but author L. N Denison does a great job at giving us her electrifying version of how life will be. It’s an adventure for sure.
We’re being told a story that addresses discrimination in a very original and—plainly—cool way. In 2044 there will be a holocaust against people of mixed lineage, wrap your head around that and then throw in heart pounding scenes, people running for their lives, and corporal punishment. The terror is real but it’s so entertaining that you don’t want it to end.
Our main character is Jen, a very tough young girl. She’s someone I wouldn’t want to mess with in 2015 but in the hardened world imagined in 2044, she’s like a ball of scorching fire. I think she goes a little beyond a “tom boy” but the characterization is still believable and I found myself enjoying her very much. She was comical when the story needed some relief and she was serious when it was time to thunder through those intense, heart-stopping scenes—which there were plenty of.
While I won’t say that Denison’s writing is crafty, it is to-the-point which really works here. She has a solid form where she leads you in the right direction at the right pace. Going Underground held my attention and got me turning pages faster than I realized. I didn’t have to force myself to read it, I actually enjoyed it and I wouldn’t be surprised if others did too.
I would say this is a great addition to the dystopian genre, there are some typical aspects to it—which you’ll find in every genre—but this is one that I can see getting bigger and more popular as time goes on. The level of violence is so-so, but I’m one who loves dark stories and such so it didn’t bother me. But in a world that’s being dominated by evil, brain washing, governmental control, you should expect a certain level of violence and warfare.
Myron is the other character in this story, my favorite over Jen. I thought he was a little more realistic than Jen but he balanced her out really well and served as a great counter to her energy. He was a character that developed well so it didn’t surprise me when I started cheering for him, hoping that he survived everything and made it through the twists and turns as the story progressed. That desire to see the main characters succeed served as a major page-turner for me. It’s horrible to have a good story but bad characters so I was pleased to be able to happily root for the protagonists.
That leads me to my one and only complaint. The story is told from third person so the narration follows both Jen and Myron through their adventures. In third person, I’d expect some POV switching—especially in a thrilling dystopian novel—but the switching happens suddenly and in the same chapter, even the same page. One paragraph would detail what Jen was doing then the next paragraph we’d be with Myron. It seemed a little flip-floppy but it wasn’t enough for me to toss the book away. I just think it would have played out better to at least split their POV between chapters. That way I know exactly who I’m following around.
Regardless, I found Going Underground to be a well thought out and clearly planned novel. The layers meshed well and the development was strong. I loved the humor and the bond between the characters. The book was creative as it tied in typical pieces to make a completely original story. The ending seemed solid but I think it could continue to a second piece. Would definitely recommend to fans of dystopian books and thrillers.