Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
“There’s something out in that water. Be ready to take the people you love and leave when it comes onshore.”For three months, Lyric Walker has been trapped in the hunting grounds, the Alpha city at the bottom of the ocean. But Lyric Walker, Brooklyn girl, is not going down without a fight. She makes an unlikely alliance with her jailor, a Rusalka named Husk. Husk reveals the truth about what actually resides in the Great Abyss. The Great Abyss is not some Alpha god but belongs to an unknown clan of monsters, ones who think in a hive mentality and believe anyone who cannot hear their voice is broken and must be destroyed. And Lyric has just woken them.
After a death-defying escape, Lyric makes her journey back to the mainland to prepare humanity for another monster invasion. Once reunited with her parents, Bex, and hot-nerd-with-potential Riley, Lyric has to break the terrible truth.
Lyric was just a girl when the Alpha arrived in her hometown. She was a soldier in the second attack that saved her world. What will she have to become now, and who will she have to leave behind?
Heart of the Storm is the third and final installment in author Michael Buckley's Undertow series. When last we saw our protagonist, Lyric Walker, she was being dragged down into the deepest part of the ocean by her nemesis Minerva, and her Rusalka allies. The story actually goes back and forth through several chapters before pushing ahead. There are chapters where we learn how Lyric was treated while being held by Minerva. Then, there are the chapters that focuses on Lyric's time after being rescued, and finding herself once again at center stage in the biggest play she's ever starred in.
I must offer that Lyric's time spent with Husk, and Minerva, was very interesting. There were parts that enlightens readers as to why the Alpha built their city where they did. Why they have those powerful bracelets that Lyric and her team have learned how to use? And, how she is forced to learn how to learn new things like fishing for food for Minerva, while trying to remain alive when she is hated by almost everyone around her because she's not fully Sirene, Ceto, Triton, or Selkie. Lyric learns a valuable lesson in what the Great Abyss really is all about from her new friend Husk, a Rusalka, and how he ends up helping her. There is even one final battle between Minerva and Lyric which leads to curious possibilities.
Meanwhile, back in the States, life has moved on for Lyric's team of hybrid kids like Riley & Chloe, her parents, and her best friend Bex who has become something of a rock star, and is at the top of the FBI's most wanted list for inciting protests and encouraging dissent. Bex really stands out in this installment, and I can honestly say that I am glad. I loved seeing her become someone fierce, and determined, and a leader in her own way. Lyric must find a way to collectively bring together those who hate each other, Humans and Alphas, into an alliance of biblical proportions if anyone is going to survive what is to come.
She has to make deals with the shady White Tower group that took her and her friends hostage, treated her mother as a specimen, and jailed her father in a camp. Let's not forget about the newest species aka nemesis known as the Tardigrade that makes Lyric's life even more worrisome by talking to her and Husk. Lyric must find a way to defeat the Tardigrade before the world is swamped with beings who hate humanity and wants to created new children who like Husk and Lyric, are connected to them.
This is the point where I get nervous. Telling readers why my rating isn't higher. It's not a slap at the author. In fact, I have nothing but respect for the world that he has created. It is the way I collectively take in things as an older reader. What is holding me back from a higher rating is simple. Lyric, Riley, Bex, her mother, father, and Bex's team goes through all this trouble to put together a formidable force which includes Fathom, and his Alpha brethren, and a ton of humans, only to have things quickly come to an end. Instead of lots of action, there is a whimper, and then the story moves forward 3 years in the future. I wasn't sure in what direction the author was going with Riley, Bex, and Lyric, but I am happy with the way it plays out. There is nothing at all wrong with Lyric's choice in the end, especially after everything she's been through.