“Beyond the Hills” is the sequel to “Walled City”, which introduces us to the city of Elabi with all its quirks. People have automated servants, not dissimilar to the Alexas we have here nowadays (I wish I could give mine any name I wanted). Everyone must work for the good of their society, and nothing can get in the way. Elabi has no time for beliefs or emotional responses. If you question anything, you could find yourself reported to the council, and sent beyond the hills.
As its title suggests, the second book takes us into this area designated for punishment. It hooked me in from the very beginning, when the main character (Macia) gets an unexpected letter from someone who calls her ‘My dearest friend’. Macia’s troubled past finds her determined to hold people at arm’s length, but through this letter, her life is gradually turned upside-down.
It’s difficult to put this book into any genre. It could be sci-fi (because it’s set in another world), but all the characters are still human. You could almost call it dystopian; there are a lot of miserable people in Elabi, though they don’t realise it. The story moves at a good pace, and there’s plenty of action to punctuate the thoughts in Macia’s head. Here’s the link to “Beyond the Hills” on Amazon, or go to Maressa’s website to learn about her other books.