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.
CRAZY. That’s the perfect word to describe this book. I don’t know what I was expecting from Undertow – something creepy, maybe, just by looking at the cover – but it definitely was not a story that would toss me right into the middle of an angry storm. It’s a wild book with wild characters. It’s dark, gritty, and intense. I LOVED IT.
The first few chapters of Undertow had me on edge and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It’s a bit confusing at first, but it slowly starts making sense as you move along with the main character. Basically the world – at least the one on Coney Island – has been invaded by the Alpha. The Alpha are creatures from the ocean who decided to make themselves known to the human race. Some are beautiful, others are ugly, but the one thing that they surely have in common is that they are all deadly. So the world was thrown into chaos, especially now that the government is trying to force an alliance with them, starting with a school on Coney Island where students will have to study with a few Alpha young adults. To sum it all up – everything is madness.
The summary of this book makes it sound like it all revolves around the romance between the main character, Lyric, and the crown prince of the Alphas, Fathom, but it’s not. It focuses more on how humanity reacts in these kinds of situations when they are forced to face something foreign, something unnatural that affects their lives. Actually, Undertow made me question which side I would have picked in a war of this magnitude. To be honest, when humanity is facing creatures far superior in strength and abilities (think being able to control the ocean) it kind of makes me want to just curl up in a corner. We seriously have no chance at all. We don’t have that much needed self-control. This book just proves that as it shows how much damage a huge crowd does when they all lose their inhibitions. A crazy crowd is dangerous and dumb. I understand the need to defend our homes, but we aren’t smart. We are not ready.
Anyway, while I did not think Undertow was all about the romance, it does have an important impact on Lyric’s life. I have to admit that it’s a bit weird at first, her liking the crown prince, but it soon grows on you. Fathom is an interesting character and his personality might draw people in. He’s strong and proud, even handsome, despite most of his people not being good-looking. But trying to be with him is extremely complicated so I’m not sure if there’s any future for this relationship.
But you know what’s more complicated? Trying to explain my jumbled thoughts about this book. It even frustrates me that I can’t tell much about Lyric because it will spoil the book for you. All I can say about her is that she’s one character worth meeting because she’s the type that surprises at every turn of the page. And that’s it. I will say no more.
Oh, but the one thing I’m pretty sure about telling you now is that if you’re looking for a different read with a unique atmosphere, then look no further and start reading Undertow. It’s crazy, confusing, weird, dark and heavy, but so damn good.