Below Zero

Below Zero

Dan Smith,

Below Zero

Chicken House, 2018

ISBN 9781910655924

11-14 Shortlist 2019

 

On this shortlist:

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out of 5
 

 

 

Who Wrote It?

Dan Smith was born in England in 1970. When Dan was growing up he went to boarding school and lived all over the world, including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, Brazil, Spain and Russia before settling down with his wife and two children in Newcastle. During his globetrotting adventures Dan would often not have access to TV, games consoles or sometimes even electricity so he began making up his own stories which were the start of his career as an author for both young people and adults.

What's It About?

When Zak’s plane crash-lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark nightmare. The power’s out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else – deep beneath the ice – which only he can understand...

Fact File

Dan’s favourite book is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

The first book Dan ever read was Manx Mouse by Paul Gallico when he was 7.

Dan’s wife and children say he lives in his own imaginary world called “Danworld” which is said to be always exciting!

One of Dan’s most unusual jobs was working for a company who made giant Christmas decorations.

Below Zero was published by Chicken House on 4th January 2018.

You can find out more about Dan through his website http://www.dansmithsbooks.com or find him on twitter @DanSmithAuthor.

Your Reviews

Annabel from Roundhay High:

I like at the start they don't give away much information. Though it does not start with the main character. It is so tense at the start then becomes less tense. the ending is not that great.

Annabel gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Kaitlyn from Allerton High School:

I love this book and it's exciting plot twists! Zac was such a brave and powerful character! With his illness of imagining sights, he pushed through it all and defeated the evil... I won't tell you!

Anyway, I recommend this book to anybody who loves adventure, mystery and chilling stories! This was a perfect story for me as I love these mysterious types of tales. A straight 5/5 from me!

Kaitlyn gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Lauren from Roundhay School:

I didn't really like it, I didn't care for any of the characters. At the beginning, the story was unoriginal, and when the author tried to add originality, it caused the ending to be very anti climatic.

Lauren gave Below Zero 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Areeba from Southfield Grange Trust:

Below Zero is about a boy named Zak whose plane crashes at Outpost Zero where it is really cold.

I enjoyed this story because the storyline was amazing and I absolutely loved the characters.

Areeba gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Lizzie from Roundhay :

For me the book was good and I liked it but it wasn't all that and didn't leave me wanting more.Though I did like the characters and I would recommend to a friend.

Lizzie gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Anna from Corpus Christi Catholic College:

This book was quick pace and action packed. I loves how the book flowed along with the plot.

On the other hand there was parts of the book where the book flowed less and became a bit of a bore to me as it lost the momentum of the pace. My other issue is with the "nowhere to run" gimmick that a lot of horror books and films portray these days.

other than that, I found the book amazing and I loved the sense of danger that most books don't display but yet there is an air of security which becomes stronger and stronger throughout the book. The characters are both compelling and the speech is both funny and sad and heart-pumping at different times. Looking forward to reading more from Dan Smith

Anna gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Bob from Corpus Christi Catholic Collage:

This book is fine and has a great story but is sometimes a bit too boring in places. The families who are preparing for a trip to colonize mars just don't add to the story and are a bit of a waste to the point of the book. They are necessary but could be made much more exiting. It could be greatly improved by giving an end goal for Zak to work towards(other than survive).

Bob gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Maddison from Leeds East Academy:

I did enjoy this book however in my opinion I think that it had too many surprises.

I was hoping I could read the book and think it was really creative and read more of the author's books but it was more of an action book and I did not really understand the plot as too much was happening at once.

Maddison gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Edith from Cardinal Heenan Catholic HIgh School:

Even though this book was eerie, I loved every second of it! Once I started, I could no stop reading it and I also was moved by it. It is an amazing adventure story and I would recommend it to anyone who likes good books!

Edith gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

ben from John Smeaton academy:

whilst I understand the difficulties of writing a novel especially a sci-fi horror smith puts next to no effort into this book not taking time to think of a story.He writes words rather than a story, in the first five minutes of reading the protagonist Zak had landed in an antarctic white-out with his family and the Russian pilot Dima, entered the facility outpost zero which trains to colonize mars, found it empty, seen hallucinations of large polar bears and living shadows and found Dima dying on the ground.Smith focused all of his energy on trying to scare his readers meaning he, rather than creating a story, created a cash grabbing horror where all he cared about was creating a killer when he should have been trying to make sure his audience would get to see them before they got tired of the book.In conclusion read this book if you wish but I do not recommend it.

ben gave Below Zero 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Simon from John Smeaton Academy:

Book was garbage, Story line doesn't make sense and a new character is brought in every chapter.

Simon gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Kate from John Smeaton academy :

I really enjoyed this book because it was filled with suspense and I found that I could not put it down!

Bellow zero is a book about Zak and his family going on a trip to a camp in Antarctica called outpost zero.when they get there, there is no one to be found and strange things keep on happening to Zak and his family.

Some parts of the book were sad because of zaks brain illness and other parts were really exciting.i also found the plot very interesting and intriguing.

I would recommend this book to people who like sci-fi because it was mysterious and had strange creatures.

Kate gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Millie from Roundhay Secondary School:

It was full of suspense and adventure but i found that the book got to a point where it was quite slow pace and not incredibly interesting. I did find however the idea of the spiders really captivating and exciting as you saw what these beasts were! The idea behind being trapped in the Antarctic with no way escape has been used before. I enjoyed the mystery to it and how you saw what was going on from several different angles of the story.

Millie gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Liam from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School:

The book was amazing! It had tons of suspense and it was very jumpy. It was comical in parts and sad at times. I would recommend it to a lot of people.

Liam gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Jack from Corpus Christi:

I thought this book was the great. I found the plot interesting and liked the characters were interesting also. This book is about zak and his family. While theyre meant to be on holiday zaks mum and dad get called to outpost zero to fix the spider drones. This leads them into an adventure.

Jack gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Rakia from Southfield Grange Trust:

Below Zero starts off with you meeting ‘Zak’ who’s plane has crash landed on outpost zero, a small research centre in the Antarctic. When they arrive, there’s no one there, an eerie silence floods the base. The base is deserted families that are supposed to be there are nowhere to be found. And under the ice there is something lurking, something dangerous tap tap tap the ice is cracking and what’s underneath it, is something no one could have ever expected.

Below zero was an amazing book it starts of really well and interesting, urging you to read more and as the plot of the book progresses the book starts to become slightly boring, the reason for this is because the book starts to slow down and the pace of the book differs. I think this is because the book starts to become filler chapters and there’s nothing really going on for a while. The book becomes really good towards the end. The book has a really good concept but if more chapters contributed to the plotline it would have been better. The end is amazing and the book is exceptionally thrilling and I hated the fact that it was finished.

Rakia gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Alex from Kin:

Adventure, Fast-paced, Mysterious and Creepy

Below Zero is about a boy called Zak and his family. They go to a place called Outpost Zero because Zak’s parents made some spider drones that have malfunctioned. Outpost Zero is meant to be a training facility for families that will spend the rest of their lives on Mars. . When they arrive at the Outpost no one is there and there is something out in the snow. Soon they find themselves stranded with their plane destroyed.

I found this book slow-paced and I couldn’t really get into it. However, it does have some mysteries that the reader may want to solve.

Alex gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Ryan from John Smeaton Academy:

In my opinion, this book just didn't engage me enough to continue reading. It could be interesting at certain parts such as when the red coats start talking to her. However, most of the book didn't attract me as a reader, I found it really difficult to read and it took me a while to read. It isn't my genre either, maybe it could be seen as quite an interesting book if you're into such books.

Overall, I do think that it could be am interesting book, but to me it just failed to engage me.

Ryan gave Below Zero 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Lily-Rose from Allerton Grange School:

I enjoyed this book once I got into it. The characters were very real, but in places it was slightly confusing. I liked the descriptions of The Ark and how everything was sorted out in the end. I had to have a pack of tissues next to me as I read, it was really sad!

Lily-Rose gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Malachy from St. Mary's Menston:

this is a really exciting book that pulls you in right from the beginning and doesn't let you go until you finished it. If you love adventures and fantasy with excitement along the way then this story, of how a young boy called Zak who will have to fight through the ice to save life its self, is for you

Malachy gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Milly-jo from Leeds east academy q:

Below zero was a mystery/adventure story it was a extremely interesting book .I love how in the first to second chapter was her finding something which leads to a whole journey a

Milly-jo gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Mrs Blashill from Southfield Grange Trust:

I read this book in the recent bout of snow and ice, which definitely added to the experience.

Zak and his family have to go to a base in the Antarctic where families are testing out living conditions ready for a mission alongside a mysterious company who are investigating beneath the ice. When the two missions collide nightmares are unleashed.

As the adventure unfolds the story becomes more frightening, it is a well written book and although it’s not my favourite genre I found myself gripped by the storyline.

Mrs Blashill gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Amelie from Roundhay high :

This book is very interesting.I got frightened at the bit were the red coats said join us.I have read over books like this some better some worse but this is definitely a good pick for the awards. Not really my style of writing but I still enjoyed it.

Amelie gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Sana from Southfield Grange Trust:

I enjoyed reading this book because I liked how they started with saying your blood will run cold it tells me that the book is good and interesting.

Sana gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Aya from Southfield Grange Trust:

I enjoyed this book because the first part of the book is interesting when they introduce the characters and start the story. Unfortunately as the story moves on it gets quite boring because too many details are included and it makes the story drag.

This affected my enjoyment of the book because it would made the story more interesting by making the story shorter.

Aya gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Samantha from Southfield Grange Trust:

Below Zero starts off with you meeting Zak who is the main character. his plane crash lands in the Antarctic. Zack sets out to solve the mystery why everything is in darkness. He has limited food and resources.

I think that this book is a bit boring because in my opinion it isn't my kind of book. There were bits that didn't make any sense.

Samantha gave Below Zero 1 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Isabel from Allerton high school:

This book was amazing! Packed full of adventure, once I had started I just couldn't put it down. I love all the characters but especially May because I find I can easily relate to her and understand her ways. It was chilling from start to end. Also ends with a good ending but leaving with questions to be answered. Definitely one I would recommend to those who love action, mystery and chills. Well done Dan! Thanks for this brilliant new story!

Isabel gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Amirah from Allerton High School:

This book was at times intriguing but at others it raved on and on. I enjoyed the beginning as the description was vivid but very drawing toward my attention.

Amirah gave Below Zero 3 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Jacob from corpus christi catholic college:

AMAZING - BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ!!!

Jacob gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Skye from John Smeaton Academy:

I think this book was ok. It wasn't my style but I found it in the end ok

but one thing I liked is how it had air of security.

This book is about a boy called zak who went on holiday and it wasn't the best,disasters accuired every way they turn. All though I didn't really like it I found it a loving story as zak has brain cancer and he tries to go on a relaxing holiday before getting his treatement. Hower they are called up to an outpost zero where they are trained to go on a trip to mars. When they get there theres nothing; no people or buildings; nothing but insects. The main question is will they get home...

I think you should read this book especially if your into mysterious books.

Skye gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Amirah from Allerton Grange:

This book was packed with adventure.It was action-thrilling and breath-taking.When you start reading you don't want to stop until you have finished the book!

Amirah gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Alfie from Corpus Christi:

This book has a very interesting and fun premise that is executed almost perfectly. It displays brain cancer like no other book and makes you really want the heroes to win. The characters are compelling and the dialogue is both funny and heart-warming at different times. My one issue is that it does the same 'cut off from society and no where to run ' gimmick that lots of horror books do these days, that only bothered me for the first half of the book anyway.

Alfie gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Violet from Benton Park:

This book was brilliant! I loved it because it had a sense of danger but also an air of security which, as you read it becomes stronger and stronger.

This book is all about a teenage boy called Zak whose holiday turns out to be a disaster. They are meant to be going for a lovely relaxing break before Zak's treatment but then they are called up to Outpost Zero, a base where people (families) are being trained for a one way trip to Mars, because the machines his parents have built don't seem to be functioning properly. But when they get there, there's no one there, instead there's loads of strange insects. Can he and his family survive long enough to get back home or will they get caught to?

I would strongly suggest that anyone from the age 11 onwards reads this book as it will draw you in and leave you thinking, 'just one more chapter.'

Violet gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Mrs from Crawshaw Academy:

I loved this book. It's not my usual genre but I found it fast paced, full of action and exciting. It became quite a page-turner.

Mrs gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Irmante from Leeds East Academy:

I really enjoyed Below Zero. It was full of mystery and surprises from the start.It was very engaging and made me want to read more and more each day.

Irmante gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Rain from Southfield Grange Trust:

This book is about an adventure of the Reeves family on Outpost Zero. Zak the son of the Reeves family has a unique brain. When Zak’s plane crash-landed on Outpost Zero, he discovers the worst nightmare of his life. All the power on Outpost Zero was out and there was no heat and food was scarce for them to survive.

I like this story because the author makes the story mysterious. The use of language is powerful.

Rain gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Simra from Southfield Grange Campus:

Below zero is a book which is based on the adventures of Zak Reeves and his family. Their plane crashes in one of the most isolated places on earth and Zack’s worst nightmare lurks right in front of him...

This story is written in third person. I like this story as it is very intense, and the plot of the story is twisting. I did not guess the ending as it was completely puzzling and left you on a cliffhanger. In my opinion, the story was suitable for my age group as it was intense and intimidating at the same time.

Simra gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Sima from Southfield Grange Campus:

Below zero is a book which is based on the adventures of Zak Reeves. One day, him and his family get called to duty. Their jobs are to go to planet Mars and they wanted to go to see their mechanical spiders which they, beforehand, created. However, their plane crashes on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research Laboratory which is based in one of the most isolated places on Earth. However, he has just found out that his worst nightmare lurks right in front of him...

This story is written in third person. I like this story as it is very intense, and the plot of the story is twisting. I did not guess the ending as it was completely puzzling and left you on a cliffhanger. In my opinion, the story was suitable for my age group as it was intense and intimidating at the same time.

Sima gave Below Zero 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Hamza from Southfield Grange Campus:

Below Zero is one the most amazing books I have read. It has everything you want excitement, spine chilling and fear. Dan smith is an amazing author and he wrote the book in an unbelievable way.

The book is about a 12 year old boy named Zak and he comes to Antarctica with his family as a holiday. He reaches Antarctica in a crash landing but luckily he and his family are fine. Zak starts to have visions but he doesn’t know what is happening. Is it his illness? Or is something trying to reach him? Find out in this spectacular book

This is a marvellous book and it is a must read!

Hamza gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Ethan from Corpus Christi:

In this book below zero Zak and his family travel to Outpost Zero. A lot of mysteries lie ahead for Zak. This book will definitely keep you guessing to what is going to happen next. This book kept me turning the pages, i'm sure you will too.

Ethan gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Miss Busby from Corpus Christi Catholic College:

Wow! What a book!

A blizzard of fast-paced action and adventure!

The story takes Zak and his family to a remote research base in the Antarctic. He and his family face robotic critters, zombies and ghostly visions in extreme cold conditions as they uncover the mystery of what happened at Outpost Zero before they landed in their DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.

What lies beneath the deep icy chasm?.. You'll have to read it to find out!

This book would make a great movie!

Miss Busby gave Below Zero 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.