Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Undertow by Michael Buckley

This is a book review for Undertow by Michael Buckley. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is May 5, 2015.

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.

This book was so different from anything I have read before and I loved it. It has strange creatures that are half fish/half human. It has bullying, abuse, family loyalty, secrets, and romance. There is so much here!

The book starts several years after the Alpha take over the beach at Coney Island. The town becomes a military zone where people are scared to walk the street and scared to show any compassion at all towards the Alpha. Regards to the Alpha, the descriptions and the world that Michael Buckley created are just amazing. The Alpha are a entire population of people/fish that once lived underwater. One day they washed along the beach at Coney Island and now they are a weird mix of fish and human. Some of the Alpha look like other humans. Some have scales, some have tails and some have swords that come out of their arms. No one knows why the Alpha are here or what their intent is. When the book starts, the government has made the decision to begin integrating the Alpha into schools with humans. This does not go over well. There are protesters and cops in riot gear in front of the school every day. Honestly, I could see so many similarities between how the Alpha were treated and how other people who are different have been treated in the past (and even now). The Alpha are bullied and teased to such an extreme. I felt so bad for the Alpha and what they were going through. It was obvious they didn't want to try to integrate, but the government was forcing them.

I loved the character of Lyric. She was so incredibly complex and went through so much character growth. She is also keeping a pretty big secret of her own, so she tries her best to stay under the radar with everyone. Even though this secret is revealed within the first couple of chapters, I still don't want to reveal any spoilers. I loved all the secondary characters; her best friend Bex, Bex's boyfriend, Shadow and all of the Alpha: Fathom, Luna, Ghost, Arcade. The Alpha were expected to adapt to the human world, but everything in the human world was so strange and unique to them. The new principal of the school, Mr. Doyle, strong arms Lyric into meeting with the Fathom (the crown prince) every day. His reasoning is that Lyric can maybe help Fathom assimilate and ease his integration into the school. Lyric and Fathom try to keep this a secret though. Obviously, they cannot keep it a secret for long. Some of the humans are so against the Alpha that they start threatening Lyric simply for talking to him.

I started to really like Fathom. I felt bad for him because he was in this strange new world and didn't know what any of the humans wanted. I was happy that the romance between Lyric and Fathom wasn't instantaneous. She doesn't hate the Alpha, but she is afraid of what people will think about their relationship. They developed a friendship that quickly developed into something else. The first third of this book went a bit slowly because the author had to build the world and set the scene. I did forgive that, especially once I read the last third of the book. The action quickly turns into this fever pitch, where the Alpha are fighting both the humans and another, more dangerous enemy at the same time. There is a lot of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal stuff in this book. This is the first book in the series. It was kind of a cliffhanger of sorts. I am so excited to read the rest of the series!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy!! You will not be disappointed. 

10 comments :

  1. I don't read much YA unless it has an element of fantasy/dystopian etc. This sounds like it fits the bill and sounds really different, which is so important to me since many of these YA fantasies start to sound the same! Thanks for a very good review.

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    1. Thanks Rita! That is why I loved this one. I read a lot of YA dystopian. After a while, you are right, they all start to sound the same. But this one was so different from anything I have ever read. I hope you enjoy this one.

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  2. Gah! I'm so excited! I requested this one on NetGalley, I'm crossing my fingers they approve my request. If they don't, then I'm totally buying it :P Great review Cynthia!

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    1. Thanks Claudia! I am crossing my fingers for you to get approved!

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  3. I can't wait to read this one, as everyone has so many complimentary things to say about it. I'm definitely missing out! Beautiful review :)

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    1. Thanks Ramona! You must read it. It's so good!

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  4. This truly has an interesting concept. I don't think I've read anything like this before. I'm worried about all the disturbing elements to it, though (bullying, violence...). Fingers crossed I'll enjoy it as well as you have.

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    1. Thanks Joy! I hope you love it too.

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  5. GAH, I almost requested this one, but was like "nah, I will wait for a few reviews". Now I really wish I had! Guess I will just have to buy it, because it sounds amazing! The characters sound wonderful, and honestly, the whole idea of the book is incredibly unique! Clearly, I must have this book! Fabulous review :)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks so much Shannon! I almost skipped out on requesting it too, but I am so glad I did. I hope you enjoy it as well. :)

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