Title in white on blurry blue underwater city
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book of duology



Book cover for JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE ABYSS: title in white on submerged city

Leyla McQueen has finally reunited with her father after breaking him out of Broadmoor, the illegal government prison—but his freedom comes at a terrible cost. As Leyla celebrates his return, she must grapple with the pain of losing Ari. Now separated from the boy who has her heart and labeled the nation’s number one enemy, Leyla must risk illegal travel through unchartered waters in her quest for the truth behind her father’s arrest.

Across Britain, the fallout from Leyla’s actions has escalated tensions between Anthropoid and non-Anthropoid communities, bringing them to an all-time high. And, as Leyla and her friends fight to uncover the startling truths about their world, she discovers her own shocking past—and the horrifying secrets behind her father’s abduction and arrest. But as these long-buried truths finally begin to surface, so, too, do the authorities’ terrible future plans. And if the ever-pervasive fear prevents the people from taking a stand now, the abyss could stay in the dark forever.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE ABYSS picks up more or less where THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD left off, taking up well beyond the locations we’d seen before.

It let us not only explore new territory (into Norway) but also new communities – Anthropoid ones and mixed ones. After all the revelations of the previous book (don’t worry, there are plenty of new ones here!) it was nice to see evidence of some of those revelations in person. It helped ground them more than just “the government’s been lying to you!”

I feel like that’s something that’s often missing YA at the moment, the grounding and real proof of the big claims and twists, as many often go on documents or testimonies. Beyond setting this duology apart, it also really makes you believe it’s real and thus it has real consequences. Not to mention stakes as you can see what the reveal needs the character to protect or challenge.

This also really helped make you trust/believe the more convenient (in terms of tying things up that probably didn’t have to be linked for a satisfying story) reveals later on in this book. Because you’d seen and trusted the others, these unsubstantiated/unproven information reveals were easier to accept as part of the story. Sometimes building trust with a reader is more important that providing absolutely everything.

The one thing I really noticed reading it this time around was that this duology races into and races through action. I was always a little surprised when we were in action (as it felt like we’d gone from non-action to action in about a paragraph) and then equally surprised when we were in the post-action moments a page or so later. It’s a very compact way of writing action – certainly not the norm but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s just that I never really got used to the style.

Read my reviews of other books by London Shah:

Light the Abyss (this series):


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