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London Shah Books In Order

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Publication Order of Light the Abyss Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Journey to the Heart of the Abyss (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

London Shah is an English science fiction and fantasy author known for her duology Light the Abyss. She is a British Muslim of Pashtun heritage and has spent most of her life in Britain’s capital.

As a woman of color herself, London is motivated to write stories filled with characters of colors whose ethnicities and backgrounds reflect real-world people who rarely see themselves in the pages of their favorite novels. When not writing, you will find London taking a walk at Richmond Park or Thames, drinking tea, eating sweets and cakes, or getting lost in Britain’s capital streets.

The Light at the Bottom of the World

In the first book in her duology, London Shah introduces us to a 16-year-old Leyla McQueen, a full-time sub-race on a mission. The story is set in Great Britain at the end of the 21st century (2099), where people have adjusted to the life of living underwater. As the water levels continue to rise, underwater life gets ravaged by a fast-spreading sickness.

The people accuse Leyla’s father of spreading the illness called Seasickness, but Leyla knows too well that her father is an innocent man. So when Leyla is picked to participate in the London Marathon, she only wishes to accomplish one thing: help bring her father home alive.

But when her plans don’t go as planned, she ventures out to seek the answers herself, and luckily she isn’t alone. She enlists the help of her two friends, Tabby and Theo, her grandfather, and soon the four find themselves in a race against time in the treacherous waters to find her father.

London Shah’s writing is not only vivid in detail but also thought-provoking. She beautifully describes her futuristic setting in the underwater world, weaving a unique technology, habitat layers, and the intricate political web that comes with it.

The story is narrated from the first person point of view allowing the reader to connect deeply with Leyla. You learn more about her past and see the whole world through her eyes. The layered world she lives in allows you to get a clear picture of the underwater society, setting, politics, and character growth through the chapters.

Leyla is a great lead character. She is committed to racing life, loves her father as any girl would, and for the first time, she gets to experience the treacherous world outside her city. However, she is unwavering, hopeful, and full of spirit. Throughout the narrative, she grows and faces challenges that test her knowledge of the outside world. In her perspective, the reader gets to have a layered glimpse into the politics the government established in underwater Britain.

The story moves on at a steady pace, where you’re left with different questions at the end of every chapter as you try to piece together the mystery.

On a deeper level, London Shah weaves in the theme of family. Even though she never admits it, Layla is most times lonely; she misses the moments when she spent time with her parents at home and searching for her father; she hopes that she can regain this loss. Friendship is also an important anchor for Leyla’s familial unit.

Journey to the Heart of the Abyss
This title marks the end of London Shah’s Light the Abyss duology. The story begins one month after the events in the first book, and the stakes only get higher as the threats grow deeper and dangerous.
This duology mainly explores the good side that people have inside them while simultaneously exploring the risks that people face even in the modern world- risks that allow us to become a machination of cruelty.

London Shah explores the role of government, prejudice, passivity, propaganda, and more through Leyla’s point of view as she confronts the prejudices around not only her but also her own beliefs and practices that cause her harm. Her journey helps her and, to some extent, us, the readers, to grow and transform us into better people. These are the type of books that forces the reader to confront their complicity when it comes to the harsh reality around us, encouraging us to be brave enough to fight for a change.

Throughout the narrative, Leyla has had some great character development. From the naïve girl, we meet at the beginning of the series strong woman she emerges to be in the end. But of course, after her father is taken, she is left with no choice but to look for him, and it’s quite refreshing to see this young woman take the boldly step into a world she never experienced. This allows her to see all the cracks in the life she was forced to grow up knowing.

Like the first book in the duology, the themes of this novel are thought-provoking. It touches on the themes of identity, religion, weaponization of civility, propaganda, whistleblowers’ power, and the hatred from ignorance. All the themes touch on the reality of history but also remain relevant to discuss, making it a perfect read for book clubs.

If you’re a fan of books like The Tiger at Midnight, Legend, and Defy the Stars, this London Shahs duology is highly recommended.

Light the Abyss is a unique young adult science fiction series with a clear, immersive, and exception world. It features a fast-paced plot, a cast of compelling characters, and lots of twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The character a well fleshed out allowing the reader to deeply connect with them as they take you on an epic journey through their futuristic world.

Even with the exception of the greater social commentaries portrayed, this duology is a fun epic adventure through the deep, dark, and treacherous water. The series is well crafted and qualifies for an adaptation for the big screen. The unique and diverse underwater settings portrayed in detail would be beautiful to see on the big screen, and it would be interesting to see all the technology here brought to life.

Book Series In Order » Authors » London Shah

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