The Life Below

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The Life Below
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 18, 2020
ISBN
978-0062658975
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It was hard enough for Naomi to leave Leo, a fellow Final Six contestant, behind on a dying Earth. Now she doesn’t know who to trust. The International Space Training Camp continues to dodge every question about its past failed mission, and Naomi is suspicious that not everything is as it seems on her own mission to Europa. With just one shot at Jupiter’s moon, Naomi is determined to find out if there is dangerous alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there. Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can dock with Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa—it’s a definite, and it’s up to Leo to find and warn Naomi and the crew. With questions piling up, everything gets more dangerous the closer that the mission gets to Europa. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and all questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous mission get answered in a terrifying way. If the dream was to establish a new world for humans on Europa…the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

The Life Below
(Updated: February 17, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Naomi can't help but wonder if there was an ulterior motive behind the decision to kick Leo out of the Final Six. Once in space, she searches for the truth, which includes what might behind the RRB serum.Meanwhile, Leo has been recruited by the renegade Dr. Greta Wagner to use her ship to meet up with the Final Six. Deceptions, lies, secrets abound not only on Earth, but on the space ship that hopes to get to the planet Europa.

What worked: Fast-paced sequel that continues the plight of two of the Final Six candidates. Naomi is still trying to come to terms with being separated from Leo and also the doubts she has on the mission. One thing she has questions about is the RRB serum that the crew has to take. Dr. Takumi and General Sokolov insist it's to help protect them against the radiation on the planet Europa, but Naomi doubts that. Her determination to find the truth have her butt heads with more than a few of her crew-mates, including Beckett, the nephew of the President.

Leo at first is very excited that Dr. Wagner has recruited him. When the doctor offers him the opportunity to fly another ship to meet up in space with Naomi, he jumps at the chance. Even then he questions the real motives of Dr. Wagner.

There's lots of action throughout with Sci-Fi terminology that at times confused me. The interactions between the characters was fast and moved the story along. It's near the end of the story that the real horrors show up. I was glued to the pages, wanting to know what exactly was on the planet. Are there hostile aliens? Why did the crew have to take the RRB serum? And what did all of this have to do with the DNA testing Dr. Wagner did?

Thrilling ride through outer space with a chilling major reveal at the end. Hope there's another book in this series that will address the cliffhanger ending. Fans of a space Divergent are sure to be riveted by this engaging series.
Good Points
1. Thrilling ride through outer space with a chilling major reveal
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The Life Below
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
After our mindbending landing on the moon back in 1969, we’ve faltered in our quest to explore space. Mars seems like a barely attainable dream and no one apparently wants to go back to the moon. Imagine, then, the massive effort to go to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, to build a new home for humanity after we failed miserably on Earth to address climate change.

A tiny crew of six highly trained teens, accompanied by two AI’s, has a monumental task ahead of them when they lift off but it’s most alarming that they don’t really know what they’ll find on icy Europa. Why did the earlier mission fail and what is the International Space Training Camp hiding? There are so many things that can go wrong, not least of which is the possibility of finding alien life on Europa. Leo has learned something that could truly jeopardize the success of the mission and the safety of the crew but now he has to try to reach them before they get to Europa, before he loses Naomi forever.

Much of the action—and it’s pretty breakneck—focuses on the journey itself, as it should considering all the inherent dangers. I appreciated that because so many space exploration stories slide past the trials and tribulations of getting to the ultimate destination. The very real possibilities of space exploration are endlessly fascinating and Ms. Monir has crafted a story that’s worthy of those possibilities.
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