Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: death, slavery, fear, murder.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars


This audiobook was recommended to me by my book club buddy (Hi Michelle!) because she knew I really enjoyed realistic dystopian novels.


The introduction sets off at a rapid pace, where the narrator is describing the state of the dystopian US. In Winter’s novel, the government overturned emancipation, and therefore POC slavery is still legal- while most states banned it, the Hard Four allowed it. These states pay bounty hunters to find escaped slaves and return them to their owners. Working for the US Marshall Service, a young black man named Victor is promised freedom if he manages to infiltrate the an abolitionist movement in Indianapolis, called the Underground Airlines.

Throughout the novel, Victor contemplates his role in the infiltration, and what kind of person it makes him- good or bad? And while doing so, how can he move on once the job is done?

Leaving readers on a bit of a cliffhanger, Winters creates a thoughtful, quick paced, and thrilling novel about a disturbing dystopian America. I enjoyed Victor’s rapid wit and resourcefulness, and the rest of Winter’s crafty characters, as well as thrill of the danger they were in. However, it was uncomfortable to imagine such a setting- dystopian or not- and I struggled to find an emotional connection to the book in general.

Published: July 5, 2016

Publisher: Mulholland Books

TL/DR: Underground Airlines by Ben Winters is a dystopian novel about a man attempting to infiltrate an abolitionist ring called the Underground Airlines.

Read it? Yes. I think people will genuinely enjoy the tale, especially for those looking for realistic dystopian plots.

Recommend it? Yes.

Buy it? I bought a copy for myself, but I would probably just borrow this one.

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Categories: Book Review, Dystopian, Fiction, Suspense Thriller

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Great review! I almost booted this from my Goodreads TBR last month but I’m glad I kept it on! It does sound really interesting 🙂

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