Review By Don Sloan
Two cultures, once united, now live only miles apart, but worlds away from each other. This is the arresting premise of the standout novel The Surface’s End. The author has produced a masterpiece of dystopian fiction about young love and forbidden knowledge.
One set of people lives on the surface of the earth. The other lives well below ground — the result of a long-ago war that left the planet decimated in some areas.
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Whitfield has heard it all his young life: “Never go near The Deathlands.” But one day his hunting takes him out of the lush valley where he and his family live and into The Deathlands, where he discovers a portal leading to the civilization far beneath the scorched, cracked earth.
In its pristine service corridors he glimpses — through a crack in the walls — a beautiful young girl about his age. And that glimpse sends into motion a whole train of fantastic events that puts both Jonah and the girl — Talitha — in grave danger.
Talitha’s family — indeed, the entire underground population — has been told for hundreds of years that the surface is uninhabitable — scorched and ruined by a terrible war ages before. “The Facility”, as they call the underground domain, has been set up and maintained to anticipate their every need.
But Talitha has always wanted to feel actual wind on her young face, and to gaze into a true star-filled sky — not the one reproduced electronically on her ceiling each night. Then, Jonah arrives in her bedroom and suddenly the possibilities that she has only dreamed of turn out to be real.
The authorities of The Facility are furious, and Jonah and Talitha must make some hard choices about their future. Will they escape to the surface and live happily in Jonah’s settlement? Or will the self-sufficient, self-serving society keep them prisoner — or worse?
This book literally turns a new page on an old YA genre, and does so with excellent writing, flawless editing, and characters you’ll come to care about deeply.
Five stars to The Surface’s End. You’ll read it in one sitting and become anxious for the film to be released.
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