Have you ever wondered about what is going on right beneath your feet? In this tense thriller, you are swept along with Lily as she steps into the nightmare to find out exactly what is going on below London.
Lily saves a mysterious girl, called Aria, as she races out of the Tube tunnel, but has no idea where her actions will lead her. Aria tells stories of an underground community lead by an autocratic, yet dynamic leader. Through a series of strange events, Aria is kidnapped by the Community as punishment for running away, and Lily (supported by the plucky Will and his dog, Foggy) descends into the labyrinth below London to rescue her.
The world of the Community is grim and everything about the setting feels tense and uncomfortable. What should seem ridiculous – the antagonist is simply referred to as ‘The Farmer’ – is unnerving and puts you on edge. The mysterious ‘Crop’ that the Farmer controls as his weapon of destruction is truly petrifying and the reveal when it comes doesn’t diminish that at all.
The characters are strong, and though the story is told through the two voices of Lily and Aria, it is never confusing. Ransom really excels at writing teenagers and giving them defined personalities, and though many of the scenarios are outrageous you never question the reactions. Lily especially is someone you can empathise with. The commentary on bullying and how debilitating it can be to a teenager is handled particularly well. The nature of the taunts is never explicitly revealed, which is a clever technique because automatically you start to think about your own experiences. It makes Lily’s plight feel even more personal and watching her find herself through extraordinary circumstances becomes an involving aspect of the story.