Monday, February 8, 2016
When they stepped out of the ocean, it was like a nightmare come to life. They are vaguely human but with characteristics of ocean creatures. Some have blades that slide out of their arms, some have deadly poisonous spikes, and some can kill you with a single touch. Some of them look like beautiful fairy tale creatures come to life, and some look like monsters.
Right now they are camping out on the beach, kept mostly separate from humanity, but things are about to change. Some of them are going to start going to high school. This integration won't be easy.
Lyric Walker is in a unique position among the residents of Coney Island. Her parents keep telling her to keep her head down, don't draw attention to herself. But it doesn't take long before she is forced out of her comfort zone to spend time each day with Fathom, the Alpha prince. He may have a nice face, but he is violent, aggressive, and there are sharpened spikes growing out of his arms that he uses as weapons.
Lyric may not want to build a friendship with Fathom, but she has no choice if she wants to protect the family secret. As the violence and tension in the school and community increases, Lyric begins to realize she doesn't dislike the Alpha prince as much as she did in the beginning, and she finds herself caught in the middle of the hatred and terror gripping her community.
I am of two minds about Michael Buckley's series opener. Most of the book is gripping and timely as it deals with racial issues and refugees complete with a radical demagogue. However, the romance angle of the story did not work for me at all. In fact I almost stopped reading a couple of times when the romance became central to the plot. Maybe it's just me. I've never found the "bad boy" archetype appealing. I do think the book is worth reading in the end because it gives readers a safe place to consider issues of race and prejudice. Grades 8 and up.