Undertow by Michael Buckley
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2015
Synopsis: 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.
Comments: I’m mixed about this one. I enjoyed the overall arcing plot. I had a hard time sympathizing with the characters. While the story moves quickly and was the main motivator and interest keeper for me – the characters fell short of being likable for me. Thus, making this book really really hard for me to complete. When I was done with the book, I sat and thought the book wasn’t so bad. But as the time passed, my feelings about the book were still unsteady… I then realized the book wasn’t completely for me.
For all that it’s worth, I did enjoy some of the characterizations in the book. I liked the culture of the mermaid people. I enjoyed the different types of fish peoples. I enjoyed the progression in Lyric and Fathom’s relationship… to a point. I enjoyed the explosive ending. I enjoyed the breaking point of the jellyfish girl. I mean that other girl got what was coming to her. Everyone has a breaking point. The basic building blocks of this story I enjoyed it all.
But then the characters… I just couldn’t connect. I sympathized with their feelings and motives but I guess the way the characters were portrayed just didn’t work for me. I felt very neutral. Unable to dispel my reasoning to accept those of the characters’. I was not passionate. It’s like seeing a pictures of a beautiful home and then finding the furniture inside were all used from old frat and sorority houses, leaving you unimpressed.
So I’m right in the middle on this one.
Why the Recommendation: Male merman. The merfolk in Vicious Deep are similar those in Undertow. There are a variety of sea folks and they all have special features and abilities. In both books, the merfolks aren’t all gorgeous peoples.
Why the Recommendation: Merkingdoms on the brink of upheaval and falling. Burn! Burn! ….wait… I guess merkingdoms can’t burn… nor can they be drowned… hmmm… Both of these stories feature a merkingdom at the cusp of failing, in need of a hero to save them.