Author: Kiri R. Newton
Publisher: Bookpal Austrailia
For far too long these sailor-drowning, ship-sinking sea sirens have been portrayed as happy, peaceful creatures who want nothing more than to fall in love with a prince and live happily ever after. Undertow is an unconventional twist on one of the oldest mythological creatures known to man.
When I read the blurb for Undertow, I was expecting a read that I would instantaneously fall in love with. It is not often that I read books about mermaids. This is probably the second. Unfortunately, Undertow did not captivate me the way I expected it to have. Perhaps I put too much hope in it because of the intriguing blurb.
Expecting a unique read, I was disappointed with the overplayed and predictable plot. For instance, there were many allusions to Twilight, a saga that I abhor. One of the characters is described as being hotter than Edward Cullen. I dislike when authors do this because it seems as though they are trying to enthrall readers by mentioning a memorable character. I am sure many readers will gush at these instances, but it made me frustrated.
Another thing that made Undertow such a difficult read for me was the gullible and unbelievable Zoe. While on her flight to the US, the plane crashes. However, the only reason she is alive is because Josiah, a merman, has bitten her neck. Apparently, a mermaid can revive someone from the dead once in their lifetime, but the catch is that the revived will become a mermaid. This fantastical element can easily be associated with vampires, and I think the idea of this was very creative. However, Zoe is not freaked out about this. Instead she embraces being a mermaid minutes after she finds out about it and she is swooned by Josiah's nakedness. I literally rolled my eyes during this scene, which was supposed to propel the plot.
I know by now you are thinking that I have nothing positive to say about the book. Well, you guessed wrong. Though the novel had a rough and difficult start, the plot did heighten at certain parts. Readers soon learn that after this encounter, Zoe gets on with her normal life. That is until Josiah, the naked merman, comes back into the picture. He needs Zoe to help save the mermaid realm. How cool is that? This is where Zoe's characterization improves. Rather than being the sappy teen who opened the book, she is a heroine. Sadly, the epilogue of Undertow brought me right back down to the mood I felt when I read the first few chapters of the book. It ends very suspenseful - too suspenseful. Sequel, maybe?
As for the style of the writing, it was nothing to rave about. There are some scenes that are described masterfully, and I am sure Newton has more in store for us.
Undertow was an okay read for me. With such a creative fantasy world, I really anticipated a consistent and intriguing plot. I just wish that I got into the book a little earlier than I did. I am sure other readers will.
(still working on a graphical rating scale to match my blog)
It's weird right but as an author I could tell you about my characters inside out and yet when people ask me to talk about myself I go all quiet. Anyways, here I go.
I am a child of ‘91 born in Jandowae, a tiny little town out past Dalby. When I was five my parents decided to pack everything up and move to Tonga in the South Pacific after Dad visited there and mum fell in love with the place after reading a book about it. So I grew up in a third world country, fluent in a second language by the time I was eight and lived amongst the locals who I was friends with.
When I was thirteen my father passed away and due to the fact that the government refused to pay my mum a pension over there like they did my father, we were forced to move back to Australia.
As for my writing career, I started writing progressively longer short stories in Grade 5 where one teacher noted on my report card that ‘I had unique ideas and an unusual talent’. By Grade 7 I had completed my first novel a post-apocalyptic fiction where cats are the highest life form and live basically as we do and follows the lives of a litter of cats, the characters based on a litter of cats belonging to my neighbour. I continued writing different things from horsey stories to Phantom of the Opera fan-fiction right through my teenage years, nothing serious, mostly just a lot of scribbling.
In Grade 12 I realized that if I was going to be serious about being a writer I needed to finish stories, not just have a lot of random scribbles to my name. So forgoing all my assignments I finished my second book called Dynamite which is an Australiana tale about a racehorse. Two years later I went on holidays to Fiji, came home and three months later Undertow was completed. In the middle there I wrote a Tolkien-esque fantasy epic called The Dark Assassin with my now ex-boyfriend. The year after that I completed Hazardous, which will be my next published title.