Happy Tuesday, everyone!
After re-reading The Final Six recently, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel. Though I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good as book 1, The Life Below ulimately surpassed its predecessor, making for a complex sci-fi novel that had me on the edge of my seat!
WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS LIKELY RIFE WITH SPOILERS FOR THE FINAL SIX.
If you haven’t read The Final Six and plan on doing so, I suggest you don’t yet read this review. For now, if you want to read my review of book 1, click here!
Enjoy this week’s review!
The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)
After the tumultuous choosing of the contenders for the Final Six, Naomi is set on a course for space, heading to Europa with five other contenders–including her archrival, Beckett. Bemoaning the fact that she may never see Leo again, she boards the ship with suspicion. But as they fly closer to Europa, she discovers that there may be even more secrets that the International Space Training Camp may be hiding. Secrets that may mean the difference between life and death.
Crestfallen at losing his place on the Europa mission, Leo is summoned by Greta Wagner, a scientist responsible for constructing the backbone of the Europa mission–that was fired before the Final Six fought for a place on the mission. Her intel on the mission and the ISTC puts Naomi and the others in danger, and they only have one option to save her and the other five crew members–and that’s running their own Europa mission.
Will their paths collide in time for the truth to be revealed?
Fresh off of reading The Final Six, I was worried about book 2 for the first third of the novel, or so. The plot seemed to be going nowhere, and I was desperately worried that $11 had hopelessly gone down the drain. But lucky for us, The Life Below picks up in a heartbeat, cranking up the volume and turning the stakes up to the next level. In the end, it was even better than book 1–a positively pulse-pounding, intergalactic thrill ride.
First off, CHARACTERS. Now that the Final Six had been narrowed down, I was fascinated to get a glimpse at some of the characters that were just background noise in book 1. I liked Sydney, in particular–she had a vital place on the mission, and she was generally just a very human character. I liked returning to the minds of Leo and Naomi, and though their romance still felt a bit forced at times, it was ultimately a good choice.
Now that everyone’s been thrown out in space, the stakes are ten times higher. This was where the book picked up for me; the results of everything from the Athena supply run to exploring the RRB bacteria had often frightening repercussions and conclusions, making for a novel that had me on the edge of my seat.
My personal favorite part was one of the main subplots, in which Naomi and the rest of the crew figure out a decoded message in the form of the musical structure of Radiohead’s “Sail To The Moon”. Besides the fact that I’m a total nerd for Radiohead, it was such an inventive way to make and figure out a cipher. Honestly, a heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Monir for blessing us with all these Radiohead references.
All in all, a thrilling sequel with all of the elements of a solid sci-fi novel. 4.5 stars for me!
The Life Below is the second in the Final Six series. From what I can tell, it’s a duology, but…ugh, the ending made it seem like there would be another book…CURSES! 🤬
Anyway, we’ll see how that goes…
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your week, and take care of yourselves!