The first thing I noticed about this book was the cover. I was scrolling through the First Reads Giveaways (from which I received my copy) page and was attracted by the vibrant, crisp, contrasting colors of the cover. As I read the book I discovered that the cover reflects the two stories within it perfectly: they are vibrant, crisp, contrasting, and fascinating.
Above, the first book (or at least the on I read first) transported me into the Loftian world of clean floating cities, seemingly utopian, blooming with perfection. Stephanie Campisi has crafted beautiful sentences that capture the etherealness, and the contrasting dark side, of the Loftian cities. She uses metaphors especially well. The story itself, apart from the words used to tell it, was one of the kind that don't explain themselves as you read them: the ones leave you with the enjoyable task of putting the pieces together to figure them out. Although the ending of the leaves you wondering about the future of the characters in the book, it's not a cliffhanger: it's a pleasant sort of imagine-what-happens-next kind of wondering. I definitely enjoyed this book.
Below, Above's opposite, tells the story of Dirt, earth as it exists in this union of books. Just like Campisi does in Above, Ben Peek utilizes just the right words not only to describe the world of Dirt, but also to give the reader a sensation of Dirt, as if you can feel yourself being choked by the pervasive pollution everywhere. Peek's writing style is, appropriately, not as decoratively metaphorical and lush as Campisi's and fits perfectly with the content of the story. Dirt is the opposite of Loft in almost every way; the exception to this rule being the ending of Below being the same sort of imagine-what-happens-next type as Above.
I certainly loved these two books. They provided the perfect afternoon escape into two perfectly contrasting worlds. And, I must say, I love the layout of the book just as much as the story: it was a stroke of brilliance on the part of whoever designed the cover and layout to put the books upside down relative to each other.
It's always cool to hear from people who write about your work in a thoughtful manner, isn't it?
It may also be of interest to folk that, next month, the Writer and the Critic will be discussing the book. The show assumes you've read the book before hand, so there are heaps of spoilers, arguments, and such fun to be had. You probably don't want to be on the other side of that when it happens.