Title: Undertow [Undertow 1]
Author: K.R. Conway
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Eila Walker knows luck is not a friend, so she is downright shocked to inherit a million-dollar Cape Cod home. And yeah, her new town isn’t perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.
When drool-worthy Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow, Eila thinks life is pretty darn perfect – until she is hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow. Revealing coal-black eyes and iron-like strength as he rescues her, Raef can no longer hide what he is . . . or what she can do. Eila, last of her kind, can supposedly channel the power of human souls, while Raef is more adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn’t such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-butt warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila’s DNA.
Determined to stay one step ahead of a dangerous clan that is hunting her, Raef, along with three unlikely allies, will do all they can to protect her. But as hidden pieces of their brutal histories unravel, Eila begins to understand just what went down in the harbor square and that she may be forced to follow in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save those she loves . . . including Raef.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
This book surprised me. I wasn’t too sure what I was getting into when I first opened it’s pages. To be honest, the first couple of pages left me confused. The story jumped in at a key point in a historical time, and unsure of the magical terminology that was being thrown my way, and who the characters were, I stumbled. I had to re-read a bit of it, but eventually, the story moved on, and that’s when things became interesting.
The majority of the book was placed in an urban setting, in present day (unlike the beginning), and follows around the character of Eila (which I’m very glad they took the time to pronounce her name for me, because I wasn’t sure how to go about it myself!). Eila is a teen that’s been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move into a rather swanky new mansion in a new town, in a new state. She’s excited about the change, but also curious as to who her mysterious benefactor is. What follows is a mysterious tale as Eila meets new friends, makes new enemies, and discovers supernatural plots and people revolving around her past history. There’s a fair bit of romance, mystery, and good old fashioned high school drama, thrilling fights, and lots of tragedy.
I found the technical aspect of the writing well done—there was only one or two spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. Otherwise, the narrative was clean, easy-to-follow, and engaging. I got sucked into the story (after the first little expedition into the past), and didn’t feel jolted out of the story again up until the very end.
The only true negatives I could find were: a) The romance between Raef and Eila moved along rather quickly near the beginning—but afterwards, didn’t bother me as the story progressed. and b) I don’t think the story really gained anything by two of Eila’s best friends having supernatural powers. Their powers were barely used, and I really rather Marsh had been a separate character in and of himself. I didn’t really see the point to that aspect of the story. Otherwise, I really liked the rest.
Would I read it again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Definitely. I fully intend to pick up the next book in the series, and if you enjoy YA paranormal romances, you’ll probably enjoy this one.