Beneath the Rising
A coming-of-age story about two kids in the middle of a war of eldritch horrors from outside spacetime…Nick Prasad and Joanna “Johnny” Chambers have been friends since childhood. She’s rich, white, and a genius; he’s poor, brown, and secretly in love with her. But when Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens the primal, evil Ancient Ones set on subjugating humanity. From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they need to trust each other completely to survive…

Beneath the Rising Details

TitleBeneath the Rising
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherSolaris
ISBN-139781781087862
Rating
GenreHorror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fiction, Adult

Beneath the Rising Review

  • Charlie Anders
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this delightful novel about a teenager named Nicky Prasad, and his supergenius best friend, Joanna "Johnny" Chambers. Johnny has invented tons of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that have transformed the world for the better, in this alternate version of the early 2000s --- but when Johnny invents a perfectly clean reactor the size of a shoe box, which can provide nearly limitless power, she accidentally summons some ancient elder gods who I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this delightful novel about a teenager named Nicky Prasad, and his supergenius best friend, Joanna "Johnny" Chambers. Johnny has invented tons of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that have transformed the world for the better, in this alternate version of the early 2000s --- but when Johnny invents a perfectly clean reactor the size of a shoe box, which can provide nearly limitless power, she accidentally summons some ancient elder gods who want the reactor for themselves. Oh, and also the ancient elder gods want to enslave humanity. That's the set-up for a novel that goes in lots of directions that I never expected, and is full of surprises and reversals and twists that complicate the above narrative. Beneath the Rising is one of those wonderful books that keeps peeling back layers, not of some cosmic mystery, but of its two main characters. Nicky and Johnny end up being much more complex and ambiguous than they appear at the start of this book, and every reveal is gasp-out-loud astonishing. Beneath the Rising is the kind of book that keeps you guessing, and yet makes you crave each new reversal, like another hit of narrative delirium.But also, did I mention mad science? Elder gods? Eldritch magic? Chases and escapes and resourcefulness and clever banter and poetry and traps and ancient tombs? Premee Mohamed packs so much fun and neat ideas and fascinating settings into Beneath the Rising. But the best part is still the two main characters and their evolving, unspooling relationship at what might just be the end of the world. Definitely check out this super fun genre-warping novel.
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  • Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars - Video Review: https://youtu.be/qdAF9eb6ht0This was an incredibly unique speculative fiction novel that blended together elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy. At its core, this is the story of a deep relationship between two lifelong friends. This was easily the best aspect of the novel. I loved reading about the friendship between Johnny & Nicky, which felt very authentic. Another fantastic element of the story was the focus on wealth and race. This story explored the 3.5 Stars - Video Review: https://youtu.be/qdAF9eb6ht0This was an incredibly unique speculative fiction novel that blended together elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy. At its core, this is the story of a deep relationship between two lifelong friends. This was easily the best aspect of the novel. I loved reading about the friendship between Johnny & Nicky, which felt very authentic. Another fantastic element of the story was the focus on wealth and race. This story explored the discrepancy of status and privilege of the two characters. Frequently, we saw the advantages that Johnny unknowingly enjoyed while Nicky had to overcome so many obstacles related to his income level and ethnic background. This book really spoke to the inequality that,sadly, very much still exists in our modern times. This book was a horror novel in the more literary sense of the word. In terms of tone, this book was not really creepy, but rather used the horror elements to move the narrative forward. The horror within this book is rather fanstatical, or cosmic, which is not my personal favourite. The challenge of this novel comes with the believability of the plot, which required A LOT of suspension of disbelief. Compared to other speculative fiction I have read, this one really stretched me. The main issue was that, in order for the story to progress, the characters and readers needed to understand and accept the fantastical elements in a short period of time. As a result, the genius character immediately jumped to certain conclusions, which were then immediately accepted as truth without being tested. The narrative just felt rushed, which made it hard for me to fully buy into the premise. So while this was not a perfect book for me, I still very much enjoyed aspects of it. Given its unique nature, I would strongly encourage readers to try it for themselves. If you are looking for a diverse, genre-bending story featuring a strong friendship, then you should consider picking up Beneath the Rising.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Rebellion Publishing.
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    Premee Mohameds globe-trotting sci-fantasy cosmic horror alt-history adventure debut doesnt exactly shatter genre conventions as much as pants them and run away giggling. The novel has a kind of nervous energy that is both puckish and disarming, like a court jester whose council the king values. Beneath the Rising begins in Alberta, Canada, not long after the September 11, 2001 hijackers failed to bring down the World Trade Center in New York. Many of the world's biggest problems have already Premee Mohamed’s globe-trotting sci-fantasy cosmic horror alt-history adventure debut doesn’t exactly shatter genre conventions as much as pants them and run away giggling. The novel has a kind of nervous energy that is both puckish and disarming, like a court jester whose council the king values. Beneath the Rising begins in Alberta, Canada, not long after the September 11, 2001 hijackers failed to bring down the World Trade Center in New York. Many of the world's biggest problems have already been solved—or soon will be—thanks to teenaged super-genius Joanna “Johnny” Chambers, a multi-billionaire who has been making earth-shaking scientific breakthroughs since the age of four: rewriting the laws of physics, curing every illness from HIV to Alzheimer’s, etc., and who now has her sights set on renewable energy. You would think this gender-reversed take on the “boy genius” trope would be the hero of the novel, but that burden rests on the shoulders of Johnny’s long-suffering, distressingly ordinary best pal Nick Prasad, who also narrates. Soon after Johnny shares her latest triumph with Nick, an extra-dimensional eldritch terror called Drozanoth harasses and tries to threaten Nick into handing over Johnny’s newest invention. Johnny already knows exactly what Drozanoth is, where it comes from and what it wants. With their families’ lives and the world’s survival at stake, Johnny drags the hapless Nick into a world of international conspiracies and secret societies, Ancient Ones and Elder Gods, as the two teenagers search for a way to stop unimaginable evil from overrunning the Earth.Despite being a little plot-heavy at times, Beneath the Rising is an attention grabbing romp that separates itself from the pack with its brisk pace, acerbic humor and fiendish world-building. Mohamed exploits the contrasts between the two lead characters to great comedic and dramatic effect. Johnny—white, pretty, blonde, rich and absurdly good at everything—can’t help but take the lovelorn, otherwise friendless Nick for granted. For his own part, Nick must tamp his pride down and keep his unrequited feelings in check just to hang on to her coattails, but he’s also self-aware enough to question the wisdom of his devotion. Mohamed never lets us forget that these differences matter: conflicts born of class, gender and race periodically bubble to the surface in the tension between them.Sometimes I felt the novel was too narrowly focused on Nick and Johnny, leaving secondary characters to serve as little more than props and obstacles. But overall, Beneath the Rising is way too imaginative and way too much fun to miss.Many thanks to Netgalley and Solaris books for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Fadwa (Word Wonders)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 34%Okay i'm sorry i lost interest in this book and it was taking me way too long to finish even with the promising start and premise.And the fact that it said Morocco is in the middle east took me out of the story sooo fast and was the last thing i needed to convince me to put the book down.It was really intriguing at first and there are so many good concepts put in it and things i've never seen explored before which might have kept me reading but it all requires huge amounts of research DNF @ 34%Okay i'm sorry i lost interest in this book and it was taking me way too long to finish even with the promising start and premise.And the fact that it said Morocco is in the middle east took me out of the story sooo fast and was the last thing i needed to convince me to put the book down.It was really intriguing at first and there are so many good concepts put in it and things i've never seen explored before which might have kept me reading but it all requires huge amounts of research and if the book gets something you can get right with a google search wrong then I can't help but question the authenticity and veracity of everything else in it.
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  • kari
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. It was fun to read Premee Mohamed in a text vastly different from what I associate with her fiction, and she finds a confident voice in a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure as well. Her debut novel draws heavily from tropes - from the supergenius Johnny (and what a good deconstruction of that trope it is!), through many-tentacled cosmic horror and direct references to Lovecraft, to secret libraries and archaeological wonders hidden under the I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. It was fun to read Premee Mohamed in a text vastly different from what I associate with her fiction, and she finds a confident voice in a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure as well. Her debut novel draws heavily from tropes - from the supergenius Johnny (and what a good deconstruction of that trope it is!), through many-tentacled cosmic horror and direct references to Lovecraft, to secret libraries and archaeological wonders hidden under the dunes. It's a journey through popculture as well as through the places the protagonists visit, interwoven with eerie poetry.That's not where the book's strength lies, though. Its greatest forte is the relationship between the protagonists, Nick and Johnny. Mohamed explores its many layers with empathy and heartbreaking precision, and the depth and ambiguity of that relationship will haunt you for days after you've read the book. It will certainly haunt me like no Old God ever could.
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  • Matthew Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Amazingly fast paced and an incredibly unique voice.
  • S. Barker
    January 1, 1970
    Well, that was really interesting. Who would've thought you can write a book about cosmic horror with tons of humor in it!I loved the beginning of the book, so powerful with the image of little Nick waking up after a tragedy to see Johnny (a girl named...) for the first time. It was a really breathtaking read, no time to stop as we follow the two main characters in a race against time that felt very Indiana-Jones-esque. Fast paced, with brief instances of horror and a lot of fighting, I think it Well, that was really interesting. Who would've thought you can write a book about cosmic horror with tons of humor in it!I loved the beginning of the book, so powerful with the image of little Nick waking up after a tragedy to see Johnny (a girl named...) for the first time. It was a really breathtaking read, no time to stop as we follow the two main characters in a race against time that felt very Indiana-Jones-esque. Fast paced, with brief instances of horror and a lot of fighting, I think it would appeal more to readers of adventure books than fans of Lovecraft, but that's just my opinion.I quite liked it, all in all. And laughed more than I expected. And was crushed when the development I was hoping for didn't take place. But anyway, good, good, go buy it. :)Ps. I recieved an advance copy of the book through Netgalley.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Spy Kids, but older and better. The power dynamic between Nicky and Johnny pulled me along through this quest-adventure. Their banter and complicated relationship provided humor and tension that the overall plot lacked for me, and I took great satisfaction when Nicky learned the truth. I was furious for him. This book will make for excellent discussions and book club arguments. I could see the framing of who had what choices, the meaning of consent, who suffers when bad things happen, and Spy Kids, but older and better. The power dynamic between Nicky and Johnny pulled me along through this quest-adventure. Their banter and complicated relationship provided humor and tension that the overall plot lacked for me, and I took great satisfaction when Nicky learned the truth. I was furious for him. This book will make for excellent discussions and book club arguments. I could see the framing of who had what choices, the meaning of consent, who suffers when bad things happen, and internalized -isms being taught in literature courses using this text as example. I liked that it worked on various levels: young adults against the odds, flawed friendship cracking under stress, teen duo must save the world, or why must the unequipped youth be the ones fixing everything all the time. It was very much a “where are the adults” vibe, and that’s a message many of us grasp on a global catastrophe kind of level these days.This is one of my favorite new authors, and I look forward to reading more of their work.This ARC was provided to me through NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Sara Norja
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher. I wish I could talk about spoilery things, but I'll leave this review spoiler-free since the book isn't out yet. Beneath the Rising is an intriguing debut novel focusing closely on two characters: Nicky Prasad, the first-person narrator, and his prodigy/genius best friend, Joanna 'Johnny' Chambers. Johnny is a scientist and inventor with a penchant for improving the world. Nicky has always lived in her shadow, and struggles with his feelings of I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher. I wish I could talk about spoilery things, but I'll leave this review spoiler-free since the book isn't out yet. Beneath the Rising is an intriguing debut novel focusing closely on two characters: Nicky Prasad, the first-person narrator, and his prodigy/genius best friend, Joanna 'Johnny' Chambers. Johnny is a scientist and inventor with a penchant for improving the world. Nicky has always lived in her shadow, and struggles with his feelings of inadequacy. The small cast of this novel is quite an interesting choice considering the world-shattering nature of the Ancient Ones who threaten humanity's very existence. Yes, there are Ancient Ones: Lovecraftian horrors awakened by Johnny's newest invention. Now: Lovecraftian things aren't always my cup of tea -- but it seems I do like the new cosmic horror wave / Lovecraftian stuff that is not actually by Lovecraft. In this novel, Premee Mohamed uses disjointed poetry to underline Their creepiness, an effective and well-used device.The most interesting thing about Beneath the Rising is actually not the cosmic horror, though. It's the friendship between Nicky and Johnny. During the course of the novel, Mohamed peels off the layers of this relationship with nuance and depth, and takes it to places where few novels I've read have gone. I'm especially pleased with how Mohamed ended things. The focus on libraries and hidden knowledge was also appealing to me, although I think archaeologists would have issues with some aspects of this novel. Also, although I know Mohamed is deliberately using the supergenius trope, it's just a trope that usually doesn't appeal to me, especially since it undercuts the collaborative nature of actual science. As with all cosmic horror (for me), the terror and creepiness in Beneath the Rising work best when they're shadows, Their frightening depths hinted at, but not fully revealed. When the monsters actually come out to play, I wasn't as horrified. But the story builds up to a world-threatening climax, and deals with it in a reasonably satisfying way. Some of the steps on the way felt a little too easy to me, relying as they often did on Johnny's superpower-level genius, but the actual climax of the story worked well (and there's a section of poetry that resonated with me). Also, Beneath the Rising is a novel where having an epilogue works: the epilogue was deeply satisfying to me on an emotional level, and without it, the novel would've felt incomplete.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I was really conflicted about this review, as I feel like I need to process this book more.The book was definitely exciting, and it kept me engaged. As for the characters, however, I found them really difficult to connect with, especially Johnny. Their relationship was oddly co-dependent, and Im not totally sure how that furthered the story.As I was getting closer to the end, I thought I understood where the book was going; it started to feel very topical, in that it seemed like a commentary on I was really conflicted about this review, as I feel like I need to process this book more.The book was definitely exciting, and it kept me engaged. As for the characters, however, I found them really difficult to connect with, especially Johnny. Their relationship was oddly co-dependent, and I’m not totally sure how that furthered the story.As I was getting closer to the end, I thought I understood where the book was going; it started to feel very topical, in that it seemed like a commentary on the fact that the responsibility of saving the world has been placed solely in the hands of children. However, as the book came to a close, I’m not sure that’s what it was saying at all. In fact, I don’t really know what it was saying.I’m lukewarm on this one. Was it interesting and entertaining? Yes. Was it profound and poignant? Unfortunately, I’m not really sure.
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  • Silvio
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Rebellion for this ARC! The review is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p0P-... in the video for as well--Beneath the Rising by Premee MohamedCosmic horror is hard because you cant be overly explicit about it. Otherwise, it loses its luster. Furthermore, as soon as someone says the word Lovecraftian, suddenly the work is pigeonholed into a niche it might not belong to or want to be in. Today, Id like to talk about a cosmic horror story, thats more than a sum Thank you NetGalley and Rebellion for this ARC! The review is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p0P-... in the video for as well--Beneath the Rising by Premee MohamedCosmic horror is hard because you can’t be overly explicit about it. Otherwise, it loses its luster. Furthermore, as soon as someone says the word “Lovecraftian”, suddenly the work is pigeonholed into a niche it might not belong to or want to be in. Today, I’d like to talk about a cosmic horror story, that’s more than a sum of its parts.Nick Prasad and Joanna "Johnny" Chambers are best friends since childhood. Joanna “Johnny” Chamber is smart, from an affluent white family. Nick Prasad is brown, poor, and secretly madly in love with Johnny. She creates a special kind of reactor that could change the world by eliminating fossil fuels, and inadvertently awakens the Ancient Ones, who are dead set on ending humanity as we know it.Premee Mohamed is a scientist and writer based out of Alberta, Canada. She has degrees in molecular genetics and environmental science. I believe she started publishing her work in 2015 with her story in the She Walks in Shadows anthology. She is the author of The Apple-Tree Throne and numerous short-stories online and in print.What I expected: • The vibe I was getting from the blurb was more of weird fiction, so I expected the eldritch (or cosmic if you prefer) aspect to be more of a backdrop. Nothing else, honestly. I went in blind. What I got: • Everything? This novel is bursting at the seams with themes and ideas. Especially themes. We’ve got racial profiling (the protagonist is brown), the alternate universe (9/11 attack happened, but the towers were not hit), coming of age story… Weird fiction? I’d say that this was very explicitly Lovecraftian, very quickly. What I liked:• The protagonist is very self-aware or at least tries to be in regards to his relationship with his best friend. He’s not in denial about some things, he actively tries to get over them and suppress them. • When the Other ones, the beings outside time and space start to get closer as a result of Johnny’s invention, Premee quite craftily employs poetry. Passages of almost atonal, sparse, abstract poems that are rather effective.• Polymaths as central characters are tricky. Doubly so when they are young. Johhny invents life-altering drugs at age 3 or 4, has earth-shattering inventions before hitting puberty, and we’re constantly reminded about her intense intellect. At first, I found it to be to cliché and absurd, but as we find out that she is the way she is because she interacted with the old ones as a child, it suddenly makes everything better. It raises the stakes as she has to sacrifice her lifespan, which ties into the themes of paying the highest price for knowledge.• I loved the ending, and I suspect I’m not the only one.What I didn't care for:• Dear watchers, take this with a grain of salt and knowledge that I’m not an American. I don’t think that setting this in the early 2000s added anything to the story. The early 00’s references like Napster got on my nerves. Alternate history angle served a purpose, as we find out that the Old Ones have been involved in big disasters from time immaterial. After the author establishes that things went differently in this reality, we could’ve jumped to the contemporary year with ease. I understand why it was done. To underline Nick’s otherness and tensions of the time. Numerous checks and racial profiling that non-white people suffer. Trouble is, I don’t think anything has changed for the better in these 20 years, so it might as well be 2020 instead of 2002.Verdict:When a novel has many BIG ideas, such as this one, I always try to define a central one and try to isolate it from the rest. Would the novel still work with only the coming of age story? It would, and it does. The central relationship is the heart of the story which never slows down. Cosmic horror has come a long way, and I’m happy that there are authors like Mohammed who push it forward. ★★★★☆
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  • Siavahda
    January 1, 1970
    While I DNFed this one, I think it was more a case of, Beneath the Rising isn't a good fit for me personally, rather than it being a bad book. I've seen it pitched as All the Birds in the Sky meets Lovecraft, and it's pretty apt; the story is about what happens when the creation of a clean-, infinite-energy generator draws the attention of eldritch creatures beyond our reality, who decide they want the generator for themselves. Mohamed made the interesting decision to tell the story via the While I DNFed this one, I think it was more a case of, Beneath the Rising isn't a good fit for me personally, rather than it being a bad book. I've seen it pitched as All the Birds in the Sky meets Lovecraft, and it's pretty apt; the story is about what happens when the creation of a clean-, infinite-energy generator draws the attention of eldritch creatures beyond our reality, who decide they want the generator for themselves. Mohamed made the interesting decision to tell the story via the first-person narration of Nick, who is not the generator's creator - he's the alleged best friend of its creator, Johnny, a world-famous prodigy who's revolutionised every aspect of the technological world. Johnny is a bit reminiscent of Tony Stark, except she's never been interested in weapons - from her first inventions as a pre-teen, she's always been in it to save the world from itself. Solar panels, bio-degradable plastics - and now the generator. So Johnny's life is off in the stars, wealthy and famous beyond belief. Nick, on the other hand, is at the complete opposite end of the economic spectrum; he and his (verbally/emotionally abusive) mother struggle to keep Nick's younger siblings fed and clothed, and Nick often goes almost a year at a time hardly hearing from his supposed best friend. So the contrast between the two of them is dramatic, and Nick especially is painfully aware of it - Johnny, with the blind thoughtlessness typical of even the well-intentioned rich, seems painfully unaware of how different their circumstances are. Their dynamic, while well-written, initially made me kind of uncomfortable - while it's realistic and believable, I didn't enjoy reading about Nick questioning his own worth and comparing himself to all that Johnny's accomplished. Add to that that Nick thinks he's in love with her, and I thought I was going to DNF this a lot earlier than I did.However, events surrounding the generator actually levelled the playing field between Nick and Johnny incredibly, in a way I wouldn't have guessed was possible. Nick gains the moral high ground in a big way, and has his eyes opened to the fact that Johnny isn't as perfect as he's painted her. Not that Johnny is any kind of villain - it's more that she's human, with flaws of her own and capable of making mistakes. I actually stopped reading at that point, because the story was going beyond my (pretty pathetic) tolerance for horror, and despite the stakes being raised and the story actually getting started (at the 30% mark)...I just didn't care. I wasn't invested, and those things that Mohamed handled really well - like the class difference between the two friends, Nick's economic and family situation, the horror of the monsters Nick came face to face with - I just wasn't in the right headspace for horror or that kind of depressing reality. I spent months trying to read my ARC, but I was never a good fit for this book.The book is slow to get started, but I think that the right kind of reader is still going to enjoy Beneath the Rising immensely. Alas, I'm just not that reader. But I really don't think that's a reflection on the book's quality. Sometimes you and a book just don't click.
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  • Alexander Tas
    January 1, 1970
    Read this and other Science Fiction/Fantasy reviews at The Quill To LiveI have always been enticed by cosmic horror and other Lovecraft adjacent stories, but I never really dove into the genre. Its always lurking in the background, taunting me with its perceptions of madness. Luckily for me, Premee Mohameds Beneath The Rising is a Lovecraftian story filled to the brim with horror, adventure, a dash of comedy, and a lot of fast-paced adventure. Beneath the Rising follows two teenagers on the cusp Read this and other Science Fiction/Fantasy reviews at The Quill To LiveI have always been enticed by cosmic horror and other Lovecraft adjacent stories, but I never really dove into the genre. It’s always lurking in the background, taunting me with its perceptions of madness. Luckily for me, Premee Mohamed’s Beneath The Rising is a Lovecraftian story filled to the brim with horror, adventure, a dash of comedy, and a lot of fast-paced adventure. Beneath the Rising follows two teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and on the eve of destruction as they sort out their friendship and try to contain the Lovecraftian consequences of their decisions. Written through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Nick Prasad, the story explores the nature of cultural and class differences, shared traumas, and teenage romance as the characters attempt to save the world from Eldritch horrors.The story begins when Johnny, Nick’s childhood friend and supergenius, Joanna “Johnny” Chambers”, returns from her latest travels of the world and shows Nick her latest experiment, a new unending source of clean energy. Upon activating the device, strange beings start appearing and harassing the two teenagers. Soon, Johnny reveals to Nick that she fears she has awoken the Ancient Ones, beings she has learned about through the various scientific societies she is a part of. Nick is inadvertently pulled into the chaos of Johnny’s quest to save the world by virtue of being her closest friend, even though he feels he barely knows her. He’s poor, of Indian descent and secretly in love with Johnny, a rich, white supergenius who flies around the world. Mohamed’s ability to explain the world through Nick’s eyes is wonderful. I sometimes felt lost, but it seemed like a deliberate choice, becauseNick’s consciousness switched between memories and current events with no real transition. It was as if I was reading someone’s thoughts while they were trying to parse what was happening in front of them and also reconciling it with a memory it triggered. These were the only times I felt pulled out of the book, but it gradually became less jarring as I attuned to the style. Nick felt like a teenage boy, aware of the seriousness at hand, but willing to take a crack at a joke to impress his friend. He referenced pop-culture a decent amount, but mostly because that was the easiest way to relate to the absurd situations he found himself in. Normally, I cringe at pop culture mentions, but they felt natural here in a way I have not experienced before. It felt like Mohamed purposefully wrote them as a point of contact for Nick to make sense of the world instead of being used to relate to the reader, and that is refreshing.With the story being told in the moment through Nick’s point of view, the pacing is fun and frenetic. It conveys a sense of what Nick and Johnny must be feeling as they face the end of the world. There are constantly new threats that must be dealt with, or a new library to get to in order to find a way to defeat the Ancient Ones. Mohamed’s strength as an author is not just in her ability to keep the plot moving, but also giving the characters room to breathe and process what they just went through. Johnny lends an air of “whatever, I see crazy stuff all the time,” while Nick is still playing catchup and questioning the nature of their friendship, let alone the nature of the cosmos. Their fights with each other hit hard, and the reconciliation is earned if it even happens. Their relationship is truly engrossing as it’s pushed to the limits as these two teenagers travel across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Even more astounding is Mohamed never let the larger plot fade away and lose relevance, having it hover over the characters like a sword of Damocles. It put a lot of pressure on the story and kept pulling me to the next page.I am not an avid reader of Lovecraft, but even so, something about the way the mythos is used felt refreshing. The Ancient Ones were always within reach, but rarely ever in sight, adding an increasing amount of tension. This might be disappointing for some, but I did not mind it. The first time “something” showed up in the story, I felt my blood run cold and I owe that to Mohamed’s careful and deliberate revelation of the world. My feelings as a reader often seemed to mirror Nick’s, unsure of what was going on and always needing an explanation, but only able to get a little bit from Johnny. It felt like a madness creeping into Nick’s brain, as if what he was going through could not possibly be real, but there was no other explanation. Moments that were humorous could also be easily turned on their heads as moments of horror. I never got the sensation that I missed the cue, however, as if Mohamed was hinting at the ambiguity for a reason and making me think about how teenagers would handle themselves in these terrifying situations.The last aspect of the book that really gripped me, however, was just how insidious every interaction felt. Mohamed starts the story off with a moment of alternative American history in which 9/11 happens, but the planes miss. Similar tensions still pervade the western hemisphere, however, and Nick receives some of the backlash as an Indian person born and raised in Canada. It felt real, and as if Mohamed looked at me through the pages of her book, and asked “are you paying attention?” I could not stop looking for the little ways this change wove its tendrils into how Nick and Johnny engaged each other and the world given their backgrounds. I felt every word and turn of phrase had to be dissected. Being inside Nick’s head only fine-tuned this notion, making Johnny feel unreliable and dodgy in response to his inquiries. It was bold, and I felt it paid off immensely through the rest of the story.Overall, if you’re looking for a fast, fun take on the cosmic horror genre that pushes its characters to the limits, Beneath The Rising is for you. Mohamed cares for her characters, and her love of the world that she’s built shines through. There are plenty of twists that are as revealing of the story as they are impactful to the characters. I had a blast, and this book makes me want to dive further into the genre. So, if you feel its pull even slightly, its worth it to answer its call.Beneath The Rising: 8.0/10-Alex
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  • Harrison Schweiloch
    January 1, 1970
    Beneath The Risingby Premee MohamedAfter reading this book, I will definitely pick up the next book by Premee Mohamed. This author has a great deal of potential and I look forward to seeing what else she writes.I wanted to start out with that because I didnt want anyone to think that I was being too negative about this novel, because there were a number of things I didnt like. To be honest, there were times when it felt like a slog and I was tempted to not finish it. But one thing kept coming Beneath The Risingby Premee MohamedAfter reading this book, I will definitely pick up the next book by Premee Mohamed. This author has a great deal of potential and I look forward to seeing what else she writes.I wanted to start out with that because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was being too negative about this novel, because there were a number of things I didn’t like. To be honest, there were times when it felt like a slog and I was tempted to not finish it. But one thing kept coming back - the raw truth of the central relationship. It I’m getting ahead of myself. This book is in a genre that is not particularly my jam. I don’t often go for Lovecraftian horrors. I’m mostly a science fiction fan who also loves fantasy. I wouldn’t have ever requested an eARC from Netgalley until I read about the book and author on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog’s My Favorite Bit feature. Reading what the author wrote about herself and her book made me immediately request an eARC, so thanks to both Mary Robinette and Netgalley for getting me this book.This novel is the author’s first traditionally published book, and it feels a lot like a first novel. A lot of the descriptions are lyrical and poetic, which makes it very jarring when the book switches into vernacular. Apparently, it WAS a first novel, one the author wrote in 2002, which might explain the choice of the alternate history setting where the September 11th attacks did not succeed. I later read Ms. Mohamed’s Big Idea guest post on John Scaliz’s Whatever blog and I thought to myself, this person seems awesome. She wrote this book originally when in school working on a genetics degree and it totally brought me back to my own Drosophila lab days.A lot of the writing feels rough. The Eldridge monsters start out scary, but quickly begin to feel repetitive and boring. The globetrotting quest feels as pro forma as a game of 80’s Carmen Sandiego.So why do I think this is an author worth following? Simple. She totally captured the feeling of being the needier person in an unbalanced friendship. Have you ever had a friendship where you constantly thought to yourself “why is this person even friends with me?” Where your depth of feeling far outpaced the other person’s? Where you constantly felt that you weren’t pulling your weight and you kept waiting for the other person to drift away? This author totally captured all of those raw, visceral feelings and put them down on the page. That’s why I’ll be watching it for what she does next.
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  • Silvio
    January 1, 1970
    Beneath the Rising by Premee MohamedCosmic horror is hard because you cant be overly explicit with it. Otherwise it loses its luster. Furthermore, as soon as someone says the word Lovecraftian, suddenly the work is pigeonholed into a niche it might not belong to or want to be in. Today, Id like to talk about a cosmic horror story, thats more than a sum of its parts.Nick Prasad and Joanna "Johnny" Chambers are best friends since childhood. Joanna Johnny Chamber is smart, from an affluent white Beneath the Rising by Premee MohamedCosmic horror is hard because you can’t be overly explicit with it. Otherwise it loses its luster. Furthermore, as soon as someone says the word “Lovecraftian”, suddenly the work is pigeonholed into a niche it might not belong to or want to be in. Today, I’d like to talk about a cosmic horror story, that’s more than a sum of its parts.Nick Prasad and Joanna "Johnny" Chambers are best friends since childhood. Joanna “Johnny” Chamber is smart, from an affluent white family. Nick Prasad is brown, poor, and secretly madly in love with Johnny. She creates a special kind of reactor that could change the world by eliminating fossil fuels, and inadvertently awakens the Ancient Ones, who are dead set on ending humanity as we know it.Premee Mohamed is a scientist and writer based out of Alberta, Canada. She has degrees in molecular genetics and environmental science. I believe she started publishing her work in 2015 with her story in the She Walks in Shadows anthology. She is the author of The Apple-Tree Throne and numerous short-stories online and in print.What I expected: • The vibe I was getting from the blurb was more of weird fiction, so I expected the eldritch (or cosmic if you prefer) aspect to be more of a backdrop. Nothing else, honestly. I went in blind. What I got: • Everything? This novel is bursting at the seams with themes and ideas. Especially themes. We’ve got racial profiling (the protagonist is brown), alternate universe (9/11 attack happened, but the towers were not hit), coming of age story… Weird fiction? I’d say that this was very explicitly Lovecraftian, very quickly. What I liked:• The protagonist is very self-aware, or at least tries to be in regards to his relationship with his best friend. He’s not in denial about some things, he actively tries to get over them and surpress them. • When the Other ones, the beings ouside time and space start to get closer as a result of Johnny’s invention, Premee quite craftily employs poetry. Passages of almost atonal, sparse, abstract poems that are rather effective.• Polymaths as central characters are tricky. Doubly so when they are young. Johhny invents life-altering drugs at age 3 or 4, has earth shattering inventions before hitting puberty, and we’re constantly reminded about her intense intellect. At first I found it to be too cliché and absurd, but as we find out that she is the way she is because she interacted with the old ones as a child, it suddenly makes everything better. It raises the stakes as she has to sacrifice her lifespan, which ties into the themes of paying the highest price for knowledge.• I loved the ending, and I suspect I’m not the only one.What I didn't care for:• Dear watchers, take this with a grain of salt and knowledge that I’m not an American. I don’t think that setting this in the early 2000’s added anything to the story. In fact the early 00’s references like Napster got on my nerves. Alternate history angle served a purpose, as we find out that the Old Ones have been involved in big disasters from time immaterial. After the author establishes that things went differently in this reality, we could’ve jump to contemporary year with ease. I understand why it was done. To underline Nick’s otherness and tensions of the time. Numerous checks and racial profiling that non-white people suffer. Trouble is, I don’t think anything has changed for the better in these 20 years, so it might as well be 2020 instead of 2002.Verdict:When a novel has many BIG ideas, such as this one, I always try to define a central one and try to isolate it from the rest. Would the novel still work with only coming of age story? It would, and it does. The central relationship is the heart of the story which never slows down. Cosmic horror has come a long way, and I’m happy that there are authors like Mohammed who push it forward. ★★★★☆
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Aaah!! So much to say and words have to go in order!! I was strongly anticipating this one because I love Mohamed's authorial voice and eldritch monsters. (You can tell it's a Premee novel because of the beetles.) The two main characters felt like beloved halves of a whole and a sorely-needed argument about opposing viewpoints at the same time. I was riveted to know what happened at the end, even while suspecting it could only go one way; seeds had been planted, and Red Herrings, too. The Aaah!! So much to say and words have to go in order!! I was strongly anticipating this one because I love Mohamed's authorial voice and eldritch monsters. (You can tell it's a Premee novel because of the beetles.) The two main characters felt like beloved halves of a whole and a sorely-needed argument about opposing viewpoints at the same time. I was riveted to know what happened at the end, even while suspecting it could only go one way; seeds had been planted, and Red Herrings, too. The friendship at the core of the novel was always both the characterization and the stakes. The novel certainly has a strong message.But I'm not sure the pacing at the end helped that message. It veers into traditional hero story for just a little too long, just as I was expecting it to get weirder (both structurally and in terms of the tentacles reaching out of the sky.) Some of the world-building also felt like it was supposed to reinforce ideas in ways I didn't quite understand. 9/11 never happened, but the United States is still hunting Saddam. (view spoiler)[ What exactly Johnny did at the end is never really explained, and while Nick gets what he wanted, she still is the one who both doomed and saved the world. (hide spoiler)] The early-2000s setting was a delight, and hopefully not too annoying for people who didn't live it. I thought the characters spoke in references exactly as much as regular teens do, not so much that it was jarring. An /important/ novel, I think, if not a perfect one.
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  • Runalong
    January 1, 1970
    Great genre crossing story with an alternative 2001; a world with great scientific achievements but now ancient monsters awaken and two friends must save the world and possibly their friendshipFull Review - HOPE HAS A PRICENick Prasad has always enjoyed a quiet life in the shadow of his best friend, child prodigy and technological genius Joanna Johnny Chambers. But all that is about to end.When Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens Great genre crossing story with an alternative 2001; a world with great scientific achievements but now ancient monsters awaken and two friends must save the world and possibly their friendshipFull Review - HOPE HAS A PRICENick Prasad has always enjoyed a quiet life in the shadow of his best friend, child prodigy and technological genius Joanna ‘Johnny’ Chambers. But all that is about to end.When Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens primal, evil Ancient Ones set on subjugating humanity.From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they will need to trust each other completely to survive…
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Barely readableThis is easily the worst dialogue in a book that I managed to wade my way through. Puerile and smarmy. Excessive verbiage throughout. The premise is ridiculous, even for a work of weird fiction. Poorly researched. I'm hard pressed to think of a single nice thing to say about this book. I suppose the infodump on the gods of Babylon was mildly interesting, but it's not new information to me. I truly hated this book.
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    It started OK, but it was increasingly predictable and a bit of a struggle to finish. Poorly veiled resentment towards a lot of things made it hard to relate to. As did all the weird name-dropping and obsessions with odd things like lipgloss and blonde hair, and disdain for education and success.And when the heck did Northern Africa become a part of the Middle East?
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  • Marlowe
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really fun modern Lovecraftian story. It doesn't engage with the genre the way Winter Tide did, but it's a fun romp with cosmic monstrosities. I love Mohamed's sense of humour and her pop culture references. I also enjoyed how steep the person stakes felt. When Nick and Johnny are exhausted, I FELT that exhaustion.
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  • Selena
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this yesterday and the characters are still with me; their unique voices are both endearing and frustrating, like real people can be. Premee Mohamed really nailed the ending, which was fair, even though bittersweet, to both Nick and Johnny.
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  • Rachel Mans McKenny
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful! Like Stranger Things meets archeological road trip, featuring two friends (one exceptional girl genius and one totally normal dude).
  • Chandra Rooney
    January 1, 1970
    Yesterday I finished Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed, which is first the Lovecraftian horror I've read in a long time.It's a huge stakes story that's anchored by a very personal conflict, so it's vast and cinematic without feeling empty. Horrifying but has jokes!There are several fascinatingly clever things done in Beneath the Rising with a deceptive ease. Next time you encounter someone who is like "Oh yes I've heard of that Lovecraft guy, but I don't know where to start..." give them this Yesterday I finished Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed, which is first the Lovecraftian horror I've read in a long time.It's a huge stakes story that's anchored by a very personal conflict, so it's vast and cinematic without feeling empty. Horrifying but has jokes!There are several fascinatingly clever things done in Beneath the Rising with a deceptive ease. Next time you encounter someone who is like "Oh yes I've heard of that Lovecraft guy, but I don't know where to start..." give them this book, because it's Lovecraft done better than Lovecraft could have ever done.
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  • Heather Rollins
    January 1, 1970
    A very good book... And I'm not sure yet how i feel about it, how much i liked it. I need to reflect.
  • Lizz Donnelly
    January 1, 1970
    I am always torn between the "I need to read Lovecraft" and the "but do I, really?" camps. I still haven't so I feel like I'd have gotten more of the references if I had, but for Beneath The Rising, I didn't feel like I needed to. It was still a delightful, fast paced, super tense sometimes, and very fun book. I loved Nicky as a character and a narrator and I just want to squeeze him and feed him something that won't upset his stomach (also, I relate.)
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  • Nicole Luiken
    January 1, 1970
    Cool premise: two very different friends (one ordinary, poor, brown boy, one a prodigy, rich, white girl) set off on a journey to save the world from an eldritch horror. The pacing was good with lots of chases and fights. The narrator begins to come into his own around the middle of the novel.Quibble: I wish I hadn't read the epilogue as it changed the flavor of the ending.
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  • Sidney Maris Hargrave
    January 1, 1970
    Listen this is just going to be emotional blathering so look. LOOK. I don't normally enjoy eldritch stories, I am Picky, but I pre-ordered this because Premee is an amazing writer and it. Did not. Disappoint.I love the characters, the worldbuilding, the banter! Literally a perfect book in my eyes. I couldn't put it down and honestly nothing is stopping me from picking it up for a second read.Do yourself a favor and get this book.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in one huge chunk and the rest in stolen moments because I just had to know what was going to happen. I was afraid the science parts would be too much but it wasn't. No confusing techno-babble that is essential to enjoying the book. I want to say that Nick and Johnny are my favorite people right now but I have some seriously conflicted feelings about them both now that I've finished the book. I.. still think that I adore them, despite all that happened. Anyway, this book was I read this book in one huge chunk and the rest in stolen moments because I just had to know what was going to happen. I was afraid the science parts would be too much but it wasn't. No confusing techno-babble that is essential to enjoying the book. I want to say that Nick and Johnny are my favorite people right now but I have some seriously conflicted feelings about them both now that I've finished the book. I.. still think that I adore them, despite all that happened. Anyway, this book was incredible and you should most certainly read it.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Not my usual sort of read so I'm possibly not doing it justice. I really liked the characters and their relationship but the actual action was a bit too relentlessly frantic for me....
  • Damien Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    At the tipping point between horror and adventure, Beneath the Rising ultimately falls on the side of adventure, and if thats a major consideration for choosing your fiction, its best you know in advance. The style here is overtly Lovecraftian, but there isnt the weird or the hopelessness to match those emblematic horrors. There is darkness, certainly, and immense, cosmic threat waiting to engulf us all, but if youve ever hidden behind the sofa at an episode of Doctor Who, thatll tell you the At the tipping point between horror and adventure, Beneath the Rising ultimately falls on the side of adventure, and if that’s a major consideration for choosing your fiction, its best you know in advance. The style here is overtly Lovecraftian, but there isn’t the weird or the hopelessness to match those emblematic horrors. There is darkness, certainly, and immense, cosmic threat waiting to engulf us all, but if you’ve ever hidden behind the sofa at an episode of Doctor Who, that’ll tell you the kind of fear to expect. That’s not to disparage this story, because if there is a spirit of Doctor Who to this book, it is Who at its very finest, and richer still than that.Nick is the classic companion: earnest, somewhat in awe, somewhat in love, but all too aware of how far above him the superhumanly gifted Joanna( “Johnny”) is. She’s this incomprehensibly gifted child prodigy, who invents the future and shapes the world, but now she’s invented a tech that threatens to end it by allowing a terrible evil in from the beyond.If you are a fan of Who, it’s possibly because of the appeal of a seemingly godlike hero, powered—essentially—by a desire to do good, but at the same time utterly reckless and seriously damaged. Johnny occupies that same character space, but here the damage proves more deep rooted. And, like the best Who, when the companions are able to steal the show, that’s when the truly epic stories appear. Premee Mohamed has harnessed this focus, letting Nick tell and, in a way, direct the story, rising above the part of sidekick to a space more like that of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby: dictating the temperament of the moment and seeing the big pictures that Johnny can’t. It’s the interaction between these two characters that makes this book great; the friendship is rich, and authentic, and flawed, and the voices are attractive and engaging.The protagonist is thinner, and there’s more of a sense of thriller plotting to the race to undo Johnny’s mistakes than horror. But once you buy into the adventure stakes, the chase is good. It’s too short, and runs at its resolution like a train, but the ride is thrilling. And threatening. It won’t terrify, but I’m not sure Mohamed really tried to do so. More important is that you’ll care about these two—and you need to in a book so sparsely populated with characters—and any threat to what you care for is a genuine one.Definitely recommended.This ARC was provided by the publisher is return for an honest review.
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