Today’s read comes from another awesome member of YAAR. Other members of the author group had mentioned the characters in this story and specifically the love interest (who’s a literary boyfriend to quite a few of them) so I had to pick it up. The book is a Undertow by K.R. Conway.
I love this cover. The simplicity is perfect, yet it still does a good job of giving us the feel of the book–kind of mysterious with a little spunk. This is the story of a girl (Eila) who inherits a mansion on the coast. She moves before her senior year of high school and finds a lot of interesting friends who help her as she begins to unearth dangerous family secrets. Raef is new to the school too and seems to be watching out for her, but Eila is equal parts afraid of and drawn to him.
Eila is an…alright character. I never connected strongly with her. At first she seemed like an old soul to me, too smart to get caught up in the drama of high school and content to be alone. While not a leader, she seemed pretty confident in herself. As the story goes on, she talks about forcing herself to be confident, to step up. Maybe she needed a push to become a leader, but I don’t think she was ever the timid flower she seemed to see herself as and tried to convince us she was. It seemed she was someone who never cared what people thought until this group came along that she wanted to help, to impress, to be a part of. I loved watching her step up and commit to whatever needed to be done, and how she never apologized for how she felt. There were plenty of moments she redeemed herself and, in the end, I liked her, but never loved her.
Raef really was the best character in this book. He was a perfect blend of vulnerability and strength. He never came off as creepy, but he was definitely watching over Eila from the start. He also trusted Eila and never pushed her into any kind of danger, but would willingly follow when she made necessary risks. He was a great YA male lead, the kind girls should swoon over.
The premise of this story is really interesting, with Eila being a person gifted with ability to kill fallen angels who live off of the souls of humans. We also have shape-shifters and a character who can read and influence emotions. It was a lot to take in. I’m torn between wishing we could have learned more about the soul feeders and the feud that has developed between the two races and interest in the other paranormal beings. Since this is book one in the series, I suppose I’ll be getting more of both!!!
The writing here is great with nice flow, varying sentence lengths and structures, strong dialogue, and interesting subplots. If you like the paranormal and sensitive yet powerful guys, this is a winner. The prologue kind of throws you right into everything, so just hang in there, it will all make sense eventually. For another Raef fix, I’ll soon be reading book two. 😉
Happy reading, my friends!