Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London -ARC Review

Thank you to Disney Hyperion for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I had heard great things about this book and I was so excited to be able to read it early and be part of the street team! This book was amazing and I cannot wait for the second book!


Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


I am so happy I was able to read this book and you all need to go buy it too! It is a phenomenal debut and I am so looking forward to reading everything London writes.

Light is an ownvoices book with a British Pashtun Muslim main character. I absolutely loved seeing her in this book and that she was so very British! There was some very British references especially her love for tea! It was such a great thing to see, it felt like home.

I also loved how much of her Pashtun culture was included in the book. The food references especially had me craving everything! This book is full of wonderfully diverse characters from Leyla and Ari to others they meet along their journey. Even in London the community is so diverse and it was just normal to them, I really loved seeing that.

Hope is all I have right now; it’s as unending as the oceans – and I must hold on to it.

I really loved Leyla, she is smart, resourceful and courageous yet she still feels afraid when she fears for her life and freezes which made her so much more real to me. But she doesn’t let her fear control her life which I loved seeing. She is determined to find her dad no matter the danger.

Ari is other main character who is Leyla’s companion on her journey to find her dad. He is broody and angsty and I fell in love with him immediately! He is such a complex character and there is so much more to him than what we initially see. He is patient and kind and brave and protects Leyla and helps her to overcome her fears. I really loved them both together and how their friendship grows and of course their banter and bickering!

This book has some incredible world building, we first get to explore London with Leyla and how it is recognisable as our London yet so different as everyone now lives underwater. When Leyla leaves London to find her dad we get to explore more of the UK with her and the world that London has created was so intricate and detailed and SO BEAUTIFUL. While I am not a fan of going in open water, I did make me want to be able to see that world.

People always find a way to keep from losing one another – from losing themselves.

The story is full of mystery and intrigue and as the story goes on we realise that not everything we know about the world is true, it made me want to read just one more chapter because I needed to know what was happening! Also the mind blowing plot twists! I did not see them coming! They left me in shock and wandering what else that Leyla believed to be true wasn’t. The ending also left me reeling, it’s one hell of a cliffhanger and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive the wait for the next book!

One of the things that I loved was how despite there being some very heavy topics and intense parts of the book, London wove humour through it so well and the lighter moments had me cracking up! The way that the people thought we lived before everyone lived underwater, nostalgia with rose tinted glasses. It was such funny moments and I loved it so much!

Old world trains were spotless, and everyone chatted, knew one another. It was safe as houses. And they never broke down – not once. Zero delays!

I could go on forever about all the things I loved about this book and I highly recommend you all read it!