‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.’
Three years ago, a mysterious species of ocean-dwellers emerged from the depths of the sea to take their place on land. Since those three years, the creatures that call themselves the Alpha have set up camp on the beaches of Coney Island leaving the humans in the dark as to their intentions. In an attempt to integrate the Alphas into society and to hopefully suppress the ongoing intolerance they face, the government has negotiated that some of their children attend public schools. Lyric Walker has a secret which has caused her to keep a low profile in an attempt to avoid close scrutiny. The disclosure of this secret could mean her death yet when she’s assigned to personally work with the prince of the Alphas she becomes fearful that her secret won’t be secret for very long.
Undertow is strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, District 9, where a race of aliens arrive on Earth in an attempt to find refuge. It’s nothing like you would expect since it focuses less on the invasion itself and more on the prejudices and hatred that this different species faces. The injustices that they suffer. Undertow takes a similar route with these creatures that are immediately forced to undergo an intolerance that no species should ever have to endure. It was also reminiscent of the racial desegregation during the American Civil Rights Movement when black students became allowed to attend “white schools”, just with another species of course. Regardless of who the “foreigner” is though it showcased just how rampant xenophobia can become in our narrow-minded society.
‘Its skin is swamp brown and highlighted in eggplant purple; its mouth is a huge gaping hole. Teeth lean in all directions like tombstones in an abandoned cemetery. Its empty eyes are calm and black, offering little evidence of life or intelligence, and a long, wormlike appendage dangles from the top of its head to its bottom lip, ending in a bright, glowing bulb. It grunts and clicks and barks at us.’
The most interesting aspect of this tale were the descriptions and detailing of the sea creatures which only added to their alluring mystery. There are various different clans among the Alphas which are basically different forms of the same species and they’re all interesting (and sometimes terrifying) in their own way. The Alphas were fierce and ferocious creatures and the mystery surrounding their appearance on land remains a mystery for the greater part of the novel. That mystery possessed an interesting twist that I thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to see how it pans out in the next installment.
Undertow is more than some science fiction invasion story. It’s a story about family and honor, of respect and deference. And about overcoming prejudices and not standing for intolerance. Undertow was a most appealing tale and a tenacious start to this trilogy.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
Morgan Stockhour is a resident of Interment, an island that has been separated from Earth and now floats above it in the sky. Internment possesses the
Morgan Stockhour is a resident of Interment, an island that has been separated from Earth and now floats above it in the sky. Internment possesses the ideal conditions of a Utopian society until the shocking murder of a young girl leaves everyone feeling unsafe.
‘You have all heard the warnings about the edge. We have been told its winds are a song that will hypnotize us, and by the time we awaken from the trance, it will be too late.’
The warnings to not peer over the edge, to look down on Earth’s people, have been drilled into all residents since before anyone can remember. Those that chance this danger are known as Jumpers and Morgan’s brother Lex is counted among the few to have survived, except he is now blind. Here lies my first issue. We end up meeting another of these ‘Jumpers’, a young girl, yet she ends up with a mind that isn’t “quite right” (something sounding a lot like epilepsy). No reasoning behind the differences in their injuries is given. But you’d think an island floating in the sky would have severe winds especially near the edge and you wouldn’t be able to be anywhere close to it.
The world-building is spent mostly on the culture of these people, rather than explaining the actual reasoning behind why an island just randomly detached from Earth and floated to a still livable position in the sky and not straight out into space. But basically the way the society works is there’s the evil group of leaders, a King and Queen, that seek to control all aspects of the residents lives including arranged marriages from birth. And then it goes off on a typical tangent with the evil plot being discovered and the subsequent plan to escape/overthrow those evil doers. It was hard to get a feel for the time period this is set in. The society seemed technologically advanced yet had the feel of a medieval type era with its arranged marriages and King/Queen rulers. But you would think it’d have to be set in a distant past since one would expect the people on Earth to fly up and make contact with the ‘island people’, no?
The slow, meandering pace of the introduction was an interesting first look into this strange society and could have worked were it not for the continued slow, meandering pace even after the murder mystery aspect was introduced. Even during moments when you would expect a certain level of excitement or tension were made inexplicably dull. Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting dystopian tale turned very predictable and far from original....more
I love Sherlock. I love anything to do with Sherlock. But this? I wanted to rip my hair out. The frustration was insane between the characterization,I love Sherlock. I love anything to do with Sherlock. But this? I wanted to rip my hair out. The frustration was insane between the characterization, the absurd plot, the even more ridiculous ‘mystery’, but the insta-love thing Lock & Mori had going on was beyond foolish. All lumped together, it was positively rage inducing for me. But I’ll try to break it down and explain myself instead of just summing up my review with this gif:
The Mystery: A recent string of mysterious murders catches the attention of ‘Lock’ and subsequently Mori when he enlists her help in investigating. All murders occurred in the same spot and the murder weapon appears to be, strangely enough, a sword.
The Characters: Mori is the oldest of four children who lives with her alcoholic father and her three younger brothers. Her mother recently passed leaving her father a changed man, taking out his grief on his children. Sherlock Holmes? We’re told next to nothing about. He has a brother, and a sick mother and… yep. Basically this was all Mori’s story, told from her point of view and Sherlock unfortunately ended up being nothing more than a supporting character. It would have been completely fine if Mori was a character I wanted an entire story about, and I didn’t.
The Romance: The two inevitably fall into a hasty romance where they seemingly spend approximately half the story kissing and Sherlock is continuously making awkward declarations of love.
“I thought I was more evolved than that. But my obsesseion with revenge […] with wanting to keep you near me from now on, I fear I’m outing myself as the Neanderthal I never thought I’d be.”
In addition, Mori is a constant angst-ball complaining about having to suffer through life’s tribulations all by herself and telling herself that she can’t tell Sherlock about herself because *gasp* he can’t know about her so she’s trying to solve this mystery by herself. Of course, all along Sherlock is practically a leech in human form and he sleeps on her bedroom floor at night to make sure she’s safe. Yeah. So alone. Poor thing.
But the one thing that bothered me so completely that it dwarfed all previously mentioned issues: the logic of the decision making. Sure, it could be argued that “this is fiction! logic isn’t a requirement!” Well, this is what I have to say to that:
Most of what I’d like to say is just a giant spoiler so I’ll try to be as vague as possible. You know those types of mysteries that has the characters doing the most ridiculous things (like trying to solve murders on their own) instead of being smart and just going to the police? This is one of those stories. You know those stories where the character has friends there for them and instead of allowing them to be of some help they choose to go off on their own and handle it themselves (predictably getting themselves in a world of shit in the process)? This is one of those stories. All these silly, stupid decisions could have all been avoided with a little common sense. Common sense isn’t quite so common apparently, at least when it comes to Mori.
The ending sets up even more future angst and unnecessary drama to come. Considering we know of how Sherlock and Moriarty’s relationship typically ends up transpiring, I guess the groundwork had to be laid somehow. However the series progresses though, I won’t be around to witness. Sherlock and Moriarty both are two of the smartest individuals in fiction and in my opinion that shouldn’t change if you switch up their gender and turn their relationship into a love affair. I guess I now need to change my “I love anything to do with Sherlock” to “I love practically anything to do with Sherlock” because I definitely did not love this one.
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more