The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Title: The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World #1)
Author: London Shah
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.


The Light of the Bottom of the World, immediately fascinated me. What a cool concept. The world is remade by an event that raises the sea levels above the land levels. I can’t help it, I love stuff like this and what a unique idea for a dystopia type story.

The world is really interesting. A Submersed Great Britain and people who are dead set on holding onto the past as much as they can. It’s actually intriguing how hard they try to. There are people who are plagued with something called Seasickness. Which almost sounds like they miss the land. If they have been there for quite some time, I’m surprised they haven’t adjusted to living under the waters. This comes out more in the book about Seasickness and the cause of it. Also the world under water is just an interesting visual. When I first started doing Graphic Design so many moons ago. I used to love to take pictures of cities and make them appear submerged and under water for decades. With algae, oxidation and decay. Plus if you have ever looked at pictures of and studied Atlantis you get that same feeling with this story. I loved that London Shah goes into a lot of details about what the building and things look like. I also think it’s really interesting that her friends family owns hotels that emulate the “Old World” which is the time above land. If you think about it, we often have resorts and themes that emulate the deep sea. So it’s like flip flopping. A really great idea.

So there is a bunch of different action that keeps that pace moving. The Submersible Marathon, different battle scenes as Leyla travels the ocean to find her dad. There are actually times that I forgot they are underwater and not in space. Ha ha. So if you are a fan of Sci-fi, I think you would really enjoy this! Of course there are government secrets as well because what government doesn’t have secrets. It’s really interesting how the information unfolds because we still don’t know everything at the end of the book. So I’m really intrigued as to why the government has made some decisions and can’t wait to see if we find out in the next book.

So what I also love is that some of my Science questions are addressed. In theory there is not enough water on the planet to completely submerge all land under water. (side note: I also had a lot of questions about underwater volcanoes and new landforms but that had no relevance to the story.) So the reasons that everyone stays underwater is also woven into the book as we find out more about the surface and what’s left of it. Also as to what lead to them being underwater in the first place. I hate when a story just leaves stuff like that open ended, so I was so happy to see that included!!

I liked Leyla, even though at times she seemed really immature. I don’t think that necessarily is a bad thing, she’s a teenager who lost her dad. I think I would go to great lengths to get my dad back too even irrational great lengths. So I liked that she is not perfect and makes mistakes. I think that she is really strong and true to herself. I also think it’s crap that so much stuff is kept from her and so of course her reactions are what they are.

I also really like sotic Ari. He’s got his reasons for being the way he is too. I really like some of their interactions too. Especially because they approach obstacles in different ways.

I really enjoyed The Light at the Bottom of the World and can’t wait for the next book to see what happens. I really wish I could see pictures of the world. Someone do some artwork, I have no artistic ability. I would really love to see the submarine!! I need a blueprint!! Such an imaginative world.


Author London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain's capital city for most of her life via England's beautiful North. When she's not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she's most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city's older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it's rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

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About Jen

I love books, tea/coffee(by the gallon) and sour candy. I wear my nerd badge with pride and have two children ages 5 and 3 that keep me on my toes.
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