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In a not-so-distant future apocalyptic world, everything known has been thrown into a whirlwind of despair. Life as Josh Kimbo knows it is lived in a deep underground bunker built by the government nearly a century prior. Ten years of living in a secure bunker have driven Josh and those around him to their brink. Josh is forced to decide whether to escape from an authoritarian leader’s firm grip or risk breathing the “toxic” air above ground. Josh not only faces the people whose purpose is to put him down but his biggest enemy continues to be himself. Throughout his journey, Josh not only battles outside forces, he battles against his own inner demons to discover who he is. Love, fear, pain, comfort, action, and tragedy drive Josh’s story past anything that he thought was possible for himself. Physically and mentally.
Josh Kimbo leads a simple life in the Underground. Ten years ago, there was a great disaster and since that time Josh and his brother have lived in a relatively safe space underground, protected from the radiation above and doing what they can to live a meager existence. Josh tends the garden in the underground, helping to grow the food to feed the people living there. It’s an important job that helps him to feel fulfilled but he still has the sense that there is more to life. The community is strictly regulated by the Governor of the Underground. Any infraction against the rules leads to punishment up tp and including execution. While this system seems to work well enough, there are signs the community is questioning what the future will hold. When Josh’s friend Reek is taken away by the Governor, it’s inevitable Josh will be taken next. Josh’s brother has a bold plan to get them out of the Underground. But, even if Josh makes it out, he doesn’t know what kind of harsh conditions he’ll have to face and if he will be able to survive. Will he give in to his fear or will he survive to help those he knows and loves?
The Underground is at times reminiscent of The City of Ember in setting but does tell a unique story. There are some intriguing action scenes and the reader gets to know Josh quite well as a character. While the author does a decent job of putting the story together, there are times where there is more telling than showing. There is also a bit too much head hopping in some scenes for my taste but overall this doesn’t detract too much from the story. The book truly picks up in the last third of the story and has a few surprises by the end.
If you like post-apocalyptic books like The Hunger Games, The City of Ember, or Divergent, you will likely find this worth reading.