Series: Undertow (bk. 1)
Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Fantasy
Subjects: merfolk, mermaids, romance
Setting: Coney Island, New York
POV/Tense: 1st person, present tense: Lyric Walker
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 376 pgs.
List Price: $18.99
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Summary/ product description: “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.”
My Review: Undertow is an exciting and unique dystopian story that involves merfolk called the Alpha. The only Alphas that look like the classic mermaid are the Sirena, and there are many other races as well. Lyric’s mother is Sirena, which make Lyric half-Sirena, half-human. She’s been keeping this secret for the past three years, since the Alphas were made known to the world. Lyric doesn’t have any abilities like her mother, but she gets awful migraines all the time.
Alpha children are being given a chance to attend school. People of Coney Island, specifically a group called the Niners, are angry about this. The governor of New York, a crazy lady is fighting against it too. It reminds me of the show Starcrossed that had one season on the CW, in which a few teen aliens are allowed to attend school. Very similar situation. The Alphas don’t blend in so well. The only ones that look really human are the Sirena and Tritons. There’s the Nix who have sharp teeth and freaky claws and the Ceto who have transparent skin. The Sirena can form tails in the water and their scales change color with their emotions. The Triton can retract blade-like bones from their arms.
Fathom is of Triton and a prince of his people. He fights a lot. And gets hurt a lot even though he wins. I kind of hated the Alpha tradition for the barbaric-ness. I’m not sure I’m in love with Fathom as a love interest. I only found out he was blonde near the end, so I didn’t have a clear picture appearance-wise. Those blades sound freaky, like he’s Wolverine meets Aquaman.
Aside from all that, I enjoyed the story. I love books with mermaidy stuff. Since I finished Anna Bank’s The Syrena Legacy series and also the Lies Beneath Series, I’ve been at a lose from good mermaid stuff. So even if they aren’t technically mermaids, I’m sure this will fill that gap. I know there are other series out there (but Deep Blue was more fantasy looking that paranormal romance). So if you enjoyed any mermaid books, I’m sure you’ll like this one. It’s cool how it blends dystopian stuff like District 9 with mermaid stuff.
Cover Art Review: Really well illustrated. I don’t know how the made the tent city, but cool.