UNDERTOW by Michael BuckleyUndertow by Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 5th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, General, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.

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 best chance for 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!

Reading time 4 mins

I am so excited to tell you about this book. Undertow is a YA Science Fiction/Fantasy. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story except that it might have an invasion of sea creatures. The writing in this story was so engrossing I almost forgot how far out the concept was. Undertow kept me turning pages deep into the night. I didn’t mind missing sleep at all.

Lyric is a sixteen year old in New York living near Coney Island. She has been their since the 30,000 Alpha’s arrived on New York’s bay three years ago. The Alpha’s are a race of fierce creatures who lived under the sea. Three years later, the people of New York don’t want them there. The area around where the Alpha’s landed is under martial law. When the Governor decides having alpha children attend schools with humans with help with public relations, all hell breaks loose in Lyric’s school. Lyric is assigned the Alpha prince at school to help him assimilate. Helping an Alpha might get her killed as it has so many others. What no one realizes is that the real threat is on it’s way and the people of earth have only Alpha’s to defend them.

Since the Alpha’s arrived Lyric has went from being a reckless teenager to one waiting for something terrible to happen. Lyric is an atypical teenager who is living through a special time in history. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to live in the “zone”, the place where the invasion began. The author depicts most humans as being scared and responding to the Alphas very badly. There are groups of people that want them gone and will stop at nothing to make it very bad for those who try to make friends with them.

Lyric is curious, but no more than anyone would be. The rules are much different for her, she has a dangerous secret. The author penned Undertow in Lyric’s POV.  We don’t know anything more than her. Lyric is an honest female lead with such a good heart. Her human love interest was an honest look at teenage lust. She is smart enough to know that he just wants her for one thing. Lyric is unique in the YA genre in that her parents are right there, loving her and giving her strength. Her family is complete and her she loves her friends fiercely. I think her support system helps her to make good choices and it has helped her to become a solid friend for Bex. Bex is her best friend and is living in a very broken home. Lyric has some special secret, of course, as it is a YA book and that is all the rage. Her specialness did not take away from the fact that this story is completely unique. The concept is really solid and the story moves at a great pace.

The Alphas in this book are described as beautiful and terrible, they are frightening. I loved the interactions between Lyric and Fathom, the Alpha prince. He is not a prince I would envision. He is more of a pawn for his evil father, and there are some scenes in this story that show the lengths Fathom goes to prove his loyalty. The ugliness of the humans around Lyric and the real threat of death makes this a gripping tale. I could barely put it down. There was much to love about this story. The fantastical creatures, their weapons, and their culture. I was really intrigued reading this story. I was so swept up in the fantasy that I was actually relieved at the ending to find this is only the first book. I think fans of YA are going to love this concept and they are going to love Lyric.

 My Rating

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Today he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Alison, and their son Finn.

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I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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