Author: Daniel Polansky
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on 26th February 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy/Epic Fantasy
Series: The Empty Throne #1
Source: Publisher, bookbridgr
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Book Depository
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.
Twenty five years ago mankind mustered and army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in a single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.
This was me, at the end of the book. Suffice to say, I did not hate this book but I was really disappointed. I felt a little cheated by that summary because I was expecting action, battle scenes galore and betrayals and plotting that would make me gasp. My main issue with Those Above was the writing style. It took be a few tries to get into it at first, but even as I pondered on, I just felt like I was forcing myself to keep reading.
I was bombarded with a huge vocabulary that was so complex, I needed Google after every two sentences. It is heavily descriptive and I was left confused page after page. There are 4 point-of-views told here alternating by chapter. A well-known widow, Eudokia, who has huge influence over the political society, a war general named Bas, who is the only human known to have defeated one of the beastly superior creatures, a teenage boy living in a lowest Rung called Thistle and Calla, one of the privileged to live above alongside the Lord of the Red Keep.
The multiple POV's were a great way to get a perspective on what is happening around the fantasy world although I felt like I enjoyed reading from Bas and Eudokia's POV the most. Reason being the battles and action that snapped my attention was narrated through their eyes and which was what saved me from giving this book 1 star. Honestly, Eudokia was the saviour. I wasn't fond of a majority of the characters, they just popped up here and there for me, but Eudokia grew to be my favourite. Here's a woman who had lost her husband in battle and now stands proud and confident as a widow and holds huge political influence over the society. She was devious, crafty and entertaining and I loved how her plan to start a war slowly unfolded, even surprising me with how she had a back up plan incase things went wrong. She was an incredible woman!
I grew irritated with Thistle who held so much promise. From the summary, it is told he would lead an uprising but all I got was a hormonal teenage boy trying to get by in a dog-eat-dog-world. Nothing was happening. The plot lagged. And this was the case for most parts of the book. The ending was definitely the highlight of the entire book, things kicked off then!
All in all, the world building was pretty intense, detailed but a little overwhelming. I had trouble keeping track of the cities and areas, it actually would've helped greatly if the book had a map! I think they help visualise the world better, especially if it's an Epic Fantasy world. I just couldn't get into it as much as I wanted to and wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for action and fast-paced drama. There is a lot of political references and a slow build up which I evenly disliked and enjoyed.
I'm just sad it didn't live up my my expectations. This book just wasn't for me. I really love that cover though!