Author: Michael Buckly
First Published: May 5th 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Secret Santa
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.
Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.
Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence
Undertow is hands down one of my all-time favourite books. The concept was refreshing and it was just fantastic to step into a different world that I’ve never read about before. I also love anything that is sea/ sea creature related because one of my current WIP’s is one and I’ve grown up loving the sea, sand and just the aesthetic of the beach. Undertow basically just screamed my name.
Undertow was beautifully written in an authentic voice which I could relate to. The protagonist, Lyric Walker, is such a fantastic character. Experiencing her journey in this book and unfolding secrets and plot twists were just, AMAZING. But my favourite character would be hands down Bex. She reminds me of myself personality wise and seeing what she was going through was heartbreaking and just… I wanted to be a fictional character for just a while so I could hop into that book give her a one second hug and give Russell (a character I will mention later on) some of his own medicine.
Seeing Bex’s world being shaken upside down was just tear-jerking and yes… I cried okay. Now another character who I adored was Tito aka Shadow. The guy was smooth and just had so much game on flirting with Bex and acting like he wasn’t interested. I loved the way he loved Bex. These two were the cutest, just the absolute best couple ever. Shadow was just there, always, caring and he will forever be one of my favourite male characters. His morals, personality; he is just a spectacular bloke, you’ll fall in love with the kid quick.
Lyric’s parents were realistic and just great additional characters. Michael Buckley’s side characters were so well done, I loved them all, because of how real they seemed. Like Russel, Bex’s Stepfather, was so well done. But I just hate the guy because in the book he’s a low life character.
Now the Alphas, aka Fish heads, were beautifully detailed both appearance and personality wise. I literally loved all the characters, (expect Surf, a huge Selkie, who’s just a big old bully).
Lyric’s love interest in the book, Fathom, was also an interesting character. At first, I didn’t like him because he literally meant bad news, but as I read further into the book I grew to love Fathom. I think Fathom’s and Lyric’s relationship wasn’t really insta lovey but was just really awkward, mainly because of how the Alpha pair up. Fathom was already promised to someone else, Arcade, and she reminds me of Lyric but just feisty and more intimidating.
The writing is done in first person, so you are Lyric Walker. It was effortless and as I mentioned before authentic in the sense that it sounds like a teenage girl. The final pages were a bit hard to swallow. I was confused on what was happening before and after the battle, but I quickly recovered.
I can’t wait for book two. I’ll be waiting (im)patiently. I highly recommend this book because of the refreshing new concept on fantasy, the loveable characters and just an awesome plot filled with plot twists.