“Book Review: Beneath the Ruins”
Reviewed by Steph Huddleston
A fast-paced dystopian adventure, as ensnaring as it is imaginative
Dystopian fiction hit an apparent peak around the time of Hunger Games & Divergent. Since then, it’s been a quietly lurking subgenre with diamonds just waiting to be discovered. That’s where Louis Woyak’s Beneath the Ruins comes in.
This sci-fi fantasy novel is a compelling reminder of why good dystopian fiction will never go out of style.
Packed with gripping action sequences, vivid worldbuilding, and a wide range of characters, Beneath the Ruins proves to be a great escape for speculative fiction fans.
Every year, darkness comes and rules over Arkdale for months at a time. Danger lurks in the dark, and shelter can only be sought within the town’s walls. But before the world grows dark once more, a group of friends will discover something in the mysterious ruins of the HARP outside the city walls. Something that could change their world forever and upset the precarious balance of power for good.
“It was that ephemeral time of day that was simultaneously late at night and early in the morning, where one day bled into the next.”
Ever-present danger looms over each character, and monsters and wild creatures lurk around many corners. From mechanical hounds to agents of darkness wielding battle axes, these creatures run the gamut of imagination and fear. There’s even a cross-over appeal for fans of science fiction and fantasy, so speculative readers will be getting a lot of what they come here for.
Fans of The Maze Runner and The Aurora Cycle are going to love the wide cast of characters in this one. Perspective shifts serve the forward momentum of the book and ensure the stakes are always changing and building. However, because of all the characters and the quickly moving pace, the character development can feel a bit rushed at times. This can cause a lack of emotional depth in these too-quick developments and make us wonder about how things happened off the page.
While the characters are largely in their early twenties, it bends a bit closer to YA than adult fiction with the characters’ actions, thoughts, and responses feeling slightly younger than their purported age.
But overall, Beneath the Ruins is a good, fast-paced novel set in a deeply imaginative dystopian world, with series potential. I could see Woyak keeping us captivated with plenty more of where this high-powered sci-fi fantasy came from.
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Print Length: 342 pages
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