Four out of Five Stars
The Summary: When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonization 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.
Beneath the Surface is Rebecca Langham’s debut novel. It’s a science-fiction novel that delves into the tougher issues of what any society can and does experience. Lydia, who is the daughter of a powerful politician, choses to teach in an underground community where the Outsiders are housed. She teaches an extremely scripted version of history as to what happened and why the Outsiders were kept underground. It was for their own good, a way to protect them and one day they’ll get out of the underground societies. Once it’s safe for them.
Upon her arrival, Lydia first meets Jez, her teaching partner who is also a hybrid of the human/outsider species. That’s why she’s always remained underground, teaching and denying herself the chance to fall in love and to find friends. I think this is a moment that makes Lydia stand still and think. As she begins to get situated and teach she starts to interact more with the Outsiders. She sees Alessia throughout and she feels drawn to her. It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow. You’re taught a certain rhetoric all your life and you start to see something different. Then you’re attracted to an Outsider? That’s a lot.
Romance took a backseat to the main plot of Beneath the Surface. I think that if there had been more written about their romance, it wouldn’t have fit in the story. There were breathless kisses, scenes that could have been more detailed but you knew how the two felt about each other. It was more than attraction for them.
Fermi also had a bit of a romance going as well. I loved Fermi. He was so bright, happy and full of energy. So to see a secondary character get attention was exciting.
I found myself throughout the entire novel making connections to past and current events. I blame the historian in me but I saw segregation, racial tensions, and refugee issues. There were so many ways that this made me stop and think.
I enjoyed the amount of detail that had been needed to create such a huge, diverse world. There were at times I felt myself walking through the hallways, experiencing the rush of emotion. I could feel happy, sad, anxious and angry in a rapid manner. And it was all essential to the plot.
But the ending is what had you opening your eyes and thinking, oh my gosh. That’s so true. It’s something that I never saw coming but looking back there were plenty of little clues.
This is one you should definitely give a read.