The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F.)
by Natalie Wright
Publish date: January 7, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.
Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined.
Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill?
The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.
For some reason when I was looking at this book, I thought it was going to be similar to the Lux series. With aliens, superpowers and an awesome cast. Turns outs I was wrong in so many ways and yet right at the same time. It has all the above things, but that's where the similarities end.
I'm not much for prologues in most stories. I always read them, but don't always find them necessary. This is an exception. This prologue is written from the point of view of the surrogate mother as she's about to give birth to something she knows isn't quite human. I was hooked from page one with some great writing and just a fantastic background to the story.
In short, The Deep Beneath is a story about what it means to be human. The relationships we make, our purpose in life and the journey to discover who we are. The Deep Beneath is the story of an alien hybrid discovering what it means to be free.... if he can stay out of the hands of the government and the H.A.L.F. program.
What I liked. The complexity of the story was really what hooked me. It isn't just about H.A.L.F. 9, our teen alien hybrid, or Erika, the heroine who can't help but be curious about him. It's about the alien landing in 1947 and the coming war the captured aliens alluded was coming. It's about everyone involved with the program, from doctors to the head of the program, Commander Sturgis.
That leads me to my next point. The supporting cast of characters. The Deep Beneath is written from multiple POVs, adding to the depth of the story. You just get a better feel for what they're thinking and what motivates them. Even Sturgis. You learn about why she does the things she does and it makes you have conflicted feeling for her. She's not your typical antagonist who is black and white.
What I thought could be improved. Some of the relationships between a few characters were a bit underdeveloped. Erika and Jack were supposed to be in a semi-serious relationship right before the book starts, and she keeps thinking of her feelings for him throughout their ordeal. But I never really got her interest in him. Jack, quite frankly, was boring to me. I could have done without his character all together. At least Ian provided comedic relief. Jack is just kind of there. But in the end, it doesn't really detract from the story as a whole.
Final rating is a four out of five stars for good writing and an intriguing story line.
** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review
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About Natalie Wright
Natalie is the author of H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, tween daughter, and two young cats.
Natalie spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, hanging out on social media, and meeting readers and fans at festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. She likes to walk in the desert, snorkel in warm waters, travel, and share excellent food and conversation with awesome people. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.
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