Review: From Under The Mountain – C. M. Spivey

From Under The Mountain
Book cover: Guerline looks over her shoulder at the reader. In the background, there mountains and mists.

As the second child of the Aridan imperial family, nineteen-year-old Guerline knows exactly what is expected of her: be unobtrusive, be compliant, and do not fall in love with her low-born companion, Eva. She has succeeded at only two of those.

But before her feelings for Eva can become a point of contention for the royal house, Guerline’s calm and narrow life is ripped away from her—in the course of a single night—and she is abruptly cast in the role of empress.

Faced with a council that aggressively fears the four witch clans charged with protecting Arido and believes they are, in fact, waging war against the humans, Guerline struggles to maintain order. As her control over the land crumbles, she learns that the war is rooted in a conflict much older than she realized—one centuries in the making, which is now crawling from under the mountain and into the light. With the fate of Arido hanging in the balance, Guerline must decide who to trust when even her closest councilors seem to have an agenda.

Darkly cinematic, From Under the Mountain pairs the sweeping landscape of epic fantasy with the personal journey of finding one’s voice in the world, posing the question: how do you define evil, when everything society tells you is a lie?

I read the prequel of From Under The Mountain, which is called The Traitor’s Tunnel and immediately fell in love with the universe. Here is my review of the prequel. I knew I wanted to read more and luckily the first book of the main series, had already been released.

It’s #ownvoices for asexual and transgender representation.

While reading this book, I felt completely immersed in the world. That is how good the worldbuilding is. It’s so realistic, which might sound weird, considering there are witches, dragons, and shapeshifters, but that’s how it is. The witches and the differences in their magic were the best described of these groups, and really very intriguing. I couldn’t decide though in which witch way I’d like to go because they’re all fascinating. There is the possibility of an interesting story arc with the dragons, since we found out about them more slowly and I’m pretty sure they’ll be receiving larger roles in the next books. The shapeshifters were a beautiful mystery, no matter how much I found out about them, I couldn’t stop wanting to know more. While the worldbuilding around these groups is solid, I felt like the conflicts between the humans, witches, dragons, and shapeshifters were erased during the last chapters. I found this disappointing since a lot of the book had been devoted to discussing the conflicts between these groups, and in the end it didn’t play any role in the final battle. I’m hoping that the next book will discuss the dynamics between these groups in more detail. The world is quite creepy as well, so I had the shivers off and on (but I do scare easily!).

I liked how the religion in this society is constructed and what one of the characters said about the gods after she got to know them. I’m not going to say more because that would be a spoiler.

I was very invested in Guerline and rooting for her all the time, especially since she genuinely tries to do her best with the few governing skills that she has acquired over the years. Shout out to Theodore (main character from The Traitor’s Tunnel) for being such a good person and supporting her. Also shout out to Bridget, who has a storyline that is kept quite separate from that of her brother’s (i.e. Theodore), but still just as awesome as he is. I was so annoyed with Eva as a character though, and I’m hoping that the next book describes her motivations and choices in more detail. I don’t like her, that much is clear.

I appreciated the last part of the novel, which contained a short description of Arido, the region in which the series takes place, as it both taught me more about the world as well as gave my imagination nourishment for possible future scenarios.

I enjoy title references that are sprinkled into the text, so that’s something you can look forward to in this book, if you’re like me. I also think the title is really fitting to the book, and because of that I’m very intrigued to see what is going to “from out of the forest”, which is the title of sequel.

I enjoyed From Under The Mountain very much, and am excited about the sequel From Out Of The Forest, which is coming out in 2018. If you’re unsure about the novel, I recommend reading the novella first, since it gives you a good introduction to the universe and some of the minor characters of the novel.

Trigger warning: attempted sexual assault.

4 stars

Are you interested in reading From Under The Mountain? If you have read it, what did you think of it?

4 thoughts on “Review: From Under The Mountain – C. M. Spivey

  1. That book just sounds too good to be true! Fantasy books with LGBT+ representation are so difficult to find. Your blog is a goldmine of fantastic book recommendations!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s