Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: UNDERTOW by Michael Buckley

Title/ Author: Undertow (Undertow Trilogy #1) by Michael Buckley
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
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.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders


Thoughts on the Overall Book: It's been a long time since I read any of Michael Buckley's books, but I did enjoy the first couple Sister's Grimm books that I read and really wanted to see how he did with YA. I was not disappointed, in fact, I think this is definitely one of the best books that have come out this year so far.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I do really like the cover, it makes me curious to see what the story is about.

Characters: I'll admit that at first I wasn't really sure if I would connect with Lyric. She wasn't a bad character, it was just that she seemed a little je ne sais quoi. As the story progressed, however, she grew into a wonderful heroine, strong yet still seeming to be on the unassuming side, without an attitude, and had the ability to push past her fears and inner demons to do what needed to be done. My favorite character was Bex, though. She was just an awesome best friend and I think we all hope to have a Bex. Just the fact that she was one of those people who could always smile and and always bounce back even when her life was utter rubbish to put it mildly made me love her all the more. Shadow was also an awesome guy friend and I really liked him too. I really enjoyed the Alpha characters too. Fathom was actually really surprising, because I was expecting your typical YA brooding hero, but he was actually more of the kind of quirky, quiet and awkward type. He did have anger management issues but it was because he was thrown into a new life and he was a prince, but he was kind of adorable too. I will admit that I really did have mixed feelings about Lyric's mother. I did understand where she was coming from, but I think she should have made some better decisions. There were also a plethora of characters who were SOOO fun to hate. Bex's disgusting stepdad for one, and Bachman and Mrs. Novakova too, because I can't stand busybodies like her, especially when they are dangerous ones. In any case, this was an amazing cast. Oh, and of course Mr. "Coffee" Doyle, I did end up liking him, though I just couldn't not picture him as Phil Coulson for some reason.

The Romance: If you picked this book up from the synopsis expecting it to be a typical YA romance filled with pointless mush, it isn't. There's actually a very sweet and slow attraction between Lyric and Fathom and I totally approve. 

Writing Style: Despite the fact I'm not totally a fan of present tense, I didn't notice it too much in this one, probably because I was so enamored of the story itself. First off, it is nothing like it sounds in the synopsis.The cover makes it sound like a kind of fun YA romance, kind of mainstream. I was totally floored by what we actually get in this story because it is SO MUCH more than that. This is one of the few books about racial discrimination that actually did it right. A lot of authors would totally go all preachy and I hate books like that, but this one didn't. I felt is presented the situation very, frighteningly even, accurately. It wasn't even all the cliche evil scientists and experimentation like most sic-fi novels portray, it was more a presentation of a difference of race. This book isn't really a romance so much as a book about friendship and bonds and getting past differences. Breaking down walls. It taught a lesson without actually saying it was, it had no real agenda apparent, but yet, I saw it, and most readers probably will too. And that's what I love most in these sorts of books. That means it's done right. This book was just so much more serious and realistic than I ever could have thought, even with sea creatures thrown into the mix. So yeah, I was totally shocked but in the best way possible.

Accuracy/ Believability: Despite the fantasy elements, very accurate. As I said previously, I think this book did a really good job of showing exactly what goes on in these kinds of situations. 

Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really to report here.

Conclusion: 5 stars. The way this book made me feel could earn nothing less. I was just totally floored by what this book was as opposed to what I expected and that's a good thing. One of the most powerful books I've read in a long time, especially for one that wasn't historical fiction. It is a very mature YA read and I really look forward to seeing where the series goes.

Recommended Audience: More girl read, but could be a guy read as well. Seventeen and up. If you're looking for a more realistic fantasy novel, check this out.


  1. This sounds really interesting. Great review!

  2. This sounds really interesting. Great review!

    1. It was really good, one of my favorite books of the year!