Undertow by Michael Buckley
or: This book had so much potential but didn’t make it.
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.
I had a lot of faith in this book. This book also let me down.
The potential this book had was amazing; Do I want to read about a bunch of new, highly creative sea monsters that take over part of the state of NY? Heck yes I do!! Do I want to read about a forbidden romance? Yeah sure, bring it on! Do I want to find out about a bigger threat than the Alpha coming? YES.
Did this book do any of that? No not really
And that’s the sad part about this book. Buckley’s setting up of the Alpha world is interesting and probably the best part of the book. Are there many holes in his new world? Yes. But you can overlook them as you try to work out how the Alpha work. His main characters- Lyric and Fathom- are overwhelmingly dull and made me want to push both of them into a fiery pit. And seriously what the HECK is wrong with these names?! Some YA books are starting to get beyond ridiculous with all these stupid names. Give me a character name that MEANS something. But I digress.
I didn’t give too f’s about what happened to them. If Buckley gave me a story focused around Lyric’s best friend witnessing all this, then heck yeah I’d like this more. She was probably the most interesting part about the story.
I’d seen this on goodreads and was really intrigued by the premise- there were no overwhelmingly bad reviews, or if there was I didn’t see them. People were talking about how cool the Alpha were. I agree- the Alpha were excellent but man… the subpar, whiny and utterly BORING main character just sent this book to an early coffin.
Books with wasted potential irk me and frustrate me more than anything else in the world. This book could have been a ground breaker for a new sort of alien species. This book could have earned a spot in the YA fantasy/contemporary hall of fame. This book could have served as an excellent metaphor for the current issues on racial discrimination in the US and other parts of the world. It could have been poignant and done so much that it didnt
I could keep going on what this book “should” have been for ever. But I guess its just water under the pier now.
lol did anyone see what I did there? dudum tsch!
Crappy book, pained review, but still managed to chuck in a bad pun…. I need a life.
I had to repeatedly cleanse my brain after this book to get the after taste of Mary Sues out of my brain. Its been a while since I read this book, and thinking about it is still painful.
The verdict? Send this book to Davy Jones Locker to rot.