I absolutely LOVE stumbling on new authors who bring with them new worlds and unique supernatural "creatures". This is Ms. Conway's debut novel and I believe she really knocked it out of the park! Sorry, lame metaphor but I'm watching the World Series. Either way... it's a fantastic new world with a deep rooted history!!
Story / World Building / Tempo
The story starts off with a flashback to over 150 years prior. Painting a dank, dark setting on the docks in New England, Ms. Conway introduces us to the protagonist's grandmother during a clandestine meeting. That's how we learn of the two main types of supernaturals in this series: Lunaterra and Mortis.
Flash forward to present day when Eila (the granddaughter and voice of the book) is in the process of getting settled into her new home on the cape in Massachusetts. As the house has sat empty for many years, of course the locals are curious about the new neighbors. Add on to that the perils of navigating through the hells of high school and Eila actually manages to make a few friends. But it's the fact that she's drawn the attention of the "hottest guy in the school" that makes her the head cheerleader's enemy number one. Clichè, yep, but what are you going to do? It serves a purpose in the plot.
The story moves along at a great pace and "reveals" come at the perfect moments. And even though this is truly a YA-level romance, the magnetic tension between Eila and Raef is potent. I swooned quite a bit during this one :D. It made me wish for an adult version of this story - maybe these two when they're older?
Eila was great as a teenager who's had a whole family history and a new LIFE thrust upon her. She's very mature to begin with but still waffles and see things in the world like any teenager would. And, of course, her decisions reflect being a teenager. I really loved her spunk!!
Raef completely endeared himself to me because he was written so thoroughly and, dare I say, "fleshed out" well. Figure this one out: Raef is part protector, predator, annoying little brother, sulky teenager, master carpenter, and oh yeah - sexy as HELL!! No, the kitchen sink was NOT thrown in - these character traits work well together. I think he and his "big brother" are the best characters in this entire book.
Speaking of big brother... I want Kian to have his own book. It's just an idea.
Kian, Ana, and MJ are excellent supporting characters and often steal the scene. Seriously, each one could hold their own book, a novella at the very least.
Despite a definite ending to the "crisis" in Undertow, there are plenty of loose ends (no spoilers here) to tie up in the next book in the series, Storm Front, expected summer 2014.
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