Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

16065498Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell
320 pages
 Science Fiction
Thriller, Other Dimensions, Horror, 
How I obtained the book
Edelweiss e copy


Actual Rating: 3.5

In this suspenseful teen thriller with a touch of the otherworldly, perfect for fans of Neal Shusterman, a boy goes over a waterfall and wakes up to find himself in a twisted version of the life he knew.

A shadowy figure. An intense roar. The sensation of falling—fast.

That’s all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.

Why are his parents acting like he’s some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all…what happened to Callum’s brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn’t the only one who wants to see him dead.

Filled with mind-bending suspense and unsettling thrills, Undercurrent is a grippingly paced teen debut that will pull you under and never let go.

I really regret not reading this sooner. I received this arc one to two months ago but I got it at a weird time and it got hidden under the numerous other arcs I had been accepted for at the same time. The first time I did finally get to it, I didn’t make much progress because the writing style is very funky, to say the least. So once again, I put it down to read other arcs.

I got back to it a few days ago and I’m overall, very happy that I didn’t let it get forgotten.

The writing style was still very weird and required some a lot rereading before I could completely understanding what was going on. The first 3 – 4 chapters were extremely confusing. The writing style does get easier to read as you progress but I’m afraid that many other readers will loose interest before getting into the meat of the book, which is completely worth it.

My favorite aspect of this book is the awesome mystery. It’s not a mystery book so to speak but it definitely has one. You ask a lot of question and every chapter leaves you with more questions so you just have to read one more chapter. And then another one. And then another one. You can’t stop reading until, before you know it, you’re turning the last page.

One of the huge downsides to this fast paced prose is the eventual loss of proper explanations.

The author definitely wrote this story in a way that made the reader ask a lot of questions. The narrator was as clueless (ok, a bit more clueless) as the reader was. By the end however, the reader is left with a lot of unanswered questions. I know what happened but why did it happen and how did it happen? We are left with a cheap “it just did” answer and that’s the end of the book.

As I mentioned above, the main character was extremely stupid at times. He didn’t see what was right in front of him. I understand why the author did that but I almost find plot-nesescary stupid even worse then just having a stupid character. In my opinion, it’s a sign of shoddy writing. C’mon guys, I’m sure you could’ve found a better way to progress your plot than making your character a moron.

Callum wakes up with a feeling of amnesia because, well, his whole world is cray-cray. Instead of realizing that something is seriously wrong, Callum goes on for practically the entire book thinking everything is fine and he somehow forgot that he was a) an asshole, b) a football star, and c) the brother of a cripple.

Dude, that’s not something you can just “forget”. I can forget to ask someone a question. I can forget to do my homework. I don’t go “Oh my god, I accidentally forgot that I have a crippled brother. Darn.” That just doesn’t happen.

The good thing is, besides that complaint, he was a pretty good hero. He didn’t slut shame or act like a huge jackass to everyone. I did like him a lot, even though I did often want to slap him upside the head for acting like a huge moron.

This book really only had two characters of importance. While I don’t think I can count that as a flaw because it fits the story, I would have liked Other Dimension Girlfriend to have had more of a personality other then that bitch.

One point of disappointment is all the wasted potential with some of these ideas. It could have been amazing if some points were delved into more. There were a lot of little things that were mentioned once and then never heard of again. These little things could have made the book so much better.

The ending is the main reason that UNDERCURRENT couldn’t get a full 4 star rating. It was extremely rushed and underdeveloped. It felt like it should have been 10 – 15 pages longer with less of an abrupt ending.

UNDERCURRENT could have been amazing if not for a few points. I do recommend this book however. It’s a pretty good science fiction story with an engaging plot that makes you want to keep reading. Overall, I’d say that UNDERCURRENT has earned the Lisbeth seal of approval.

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