It's no secret that I love Paula Weston's books. Her writing has a wonderful flair, and her stories are the perfect balance of humour and action, romaIt's no secret that I love Paula Weston's books. Her writing has a wonderful flair, and her stories are the perfect balance of humour and action, romance and friendship, adventure and introspection. So you can imagine my excitement when I walked into a bookstore and saw The Undercurrent, only being vaguely aware that a new book was coming sometime in July or August.
I devoured The Undercurrent. I would have read it in one sitting except that my health isn't what it used to be. Instead, I read it in three.
Jules and Ryan are the kinds of protagonists I love but often miss in YA. Flawed, unsure of themselves, independent but surrounded by loving and supportive adults. I liked them both, and particularly liked Weston's choice in narrating this tale in third person so we knew what was happening in their heads at all times. I liked the relationships they had, not only with parents and parental figures, but also with their siblings and friends. It felt authentic because Weston didn't isolate the leads and make them fight the Big Bad alone, she gave them a lot of support and love.
I liked the chemistry between them as well -- there was so much of it, and it was brought to life realistically. The protagonists are older, having finished high school, so I guess The Undercurrent is technically New Adult (does anyone use that term anymore?). This allows for an exploration of attraction, lust, and sex that may not have occurred if Jules and Ryan had been younger.
This is an action-packed adventure that still finds time for some amazing character development. I think the pacing was perfect! I liked all the action sequences but I think my favourite things were the moments in between, the moments where we got to see what makes the characters tick.
I love reading books set in Australia because I see so much of myself in them. The Undercurrent is set in the near future, so a lot of it is still recognisable. I find that I never quite realise how much I miss Australian-isms in my books until I read something like this -- it's so seeped in Australian diction and culture that I immediately feel at home.
I enjoyed The Undercurrent! It was great to read something by Paula again and to immerse myself in such an engaging story. This is a stand-alone novel which might be perfect for those looking for a new Australian author to fangirl over! I highly recommend it!! And of course, everyone needs to check out Paula's other books, The Rephaim series, when they have a chance. Because they are still my favourite books ever!This review was originally posted on Speculating on SpecFic...more
The last instalment of Ellie Marney's Every series has left me conflicted and sad. Although it's hard to say good-bye to Mycroft and Watts, it's probaThe last instalment of Ellie Marney's Every series has left me conflicted and sad. Although it's hard to say good-bye to Mycroft and Watts, it's probably for the best because I didn't really like the way this book turned out.
Every Move started off very strongly, with Rachel and James both dealing with what happened in London the best they can. For Rachel it means vowing to never get mixed up in anything dangerous ever again and avoiding speaking about it at all. For Mycroft this means getting to the bottom of the mystery of his parent's death as quickly as possible, so the issue can be put to rest. Rachel and James conflict for a large part of this book, a natural consequence of their inability to help one another through these difficult times. They rally through it, though, and I was glad they were able to stick together for the final show-down.
We meet a new character in this book: Mike's best friend Harris, who Rachel has disliked for all her life. Harris ends up living with Rachel's family after moving to the city from Five Mile, and causes all sorts of havoc for her. Although Rachel begins by hating him, he finds out about the nightmares she's still having and helps her through her fears, in addition to training her basic self defence because it looks like her life might be in danger again.
The thrills in Every Move are on par with the earlier novels, and the heart-stopping action did not let up. Readers will be hard-pressed to put it down! Mr. Wild (the Moriarty character), is just as sinister, clever, and dangerous as you'd expect. I think one of the strongest aspects of this series is its believability: it could have been easy to scoff at the idea of two teenagers getting embroiled in all this dangerous business, but Marney creates situations that seem realistic. Rachel and Mycroft also have a lot of support from adults - parental figures and law enforcement - which adds realism.
In isolation, Harris is a great character. He's always had a rough family life and Mike's family has been a second family for him. He's rugged and rough, talks no nonsense and is practical. He's also extremely loyal to Mike and Rachel's family. All of these things made me like Harris, but one thing overshadowed all of this and made me dread every moment he was 'on-screen'. Harris clearly has feelings for Rachel. Almost from the first time we meet him there is this vibe between them that won't go away, and although I'm all for unrequited love and understand the need for Rachel to help him fit into city life, I hated the weird situation between them.
(view spoiler)[In particular, I hated that Rachel had feelings for Harris as well. She was clearly attracted to him and gave him liberties that I don't see anyone allowing unless there were feelings involved in both directions. The school dance, for example, has Rachel standing on Harris' feet and allowing him to basically kiss her neck and shoulders. I lost all respect for them both near the end, when Harris decided he was going to kiss Rachel and she let him. I felt it was wrong on both sides: Harris knew Rachel was in a committed relationship and decided it was okay to kiss her because he was only going to do it once, and Rachel just lets him. She knew it was coming, she stood still and waited for it, and although she didn't kiss him back, she didn't stop him either. And she never mentioned any of this to Mycroft. I've always loved the realism of this series, and this situation also feels real - perhaps too much so. I respect the author's decisions, and I feel that this was a way to show us that the relationships people have as teenagers are not necessarily life-long, but I am uncomfortable with cheating in the best of circumstances and basically couldn't deal with it here. However, this is a very personal opinion and I don't necessarily expect that it will impact everyone's enjoyment of the book. (hide spoiler)]
Every Move rounds out his kick-butt series well, and my disappointment with it is more about personal preference than about the book itself. I recommend this series to readers who enjoy crime novels, and especially those who would love to see a modernised Sherlock Holmes dynamic set in Melbourne. I've enjoyed my adventure with Rachel and Mycroft and can't wait to see what Marney brings us next.