Sunday, August 2, 2015

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath
Author:   Natalie Wright
Publisher:   Valknut Press
Release Date: January 7th, 2015
Source: Recieved from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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.

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath started out pretty promising. I was drawn in by the first few pages and had high hopes for the rest of the story. But somewhere within the first or second chapter it fizzled just a little bit, and I never did get back to that same excitement. While the writing wasn't bad, it never wowed me. I think the author has potential, but there was room for improvement.

One of the primary problems I think with that lack of "wow" factor was just the general plot. H.A.L.F. 9 is an alien who escaped from an underground lab, and runs into Erika. Then there is an attempt to get away without freaking out the rest of the world about the existence of extraterrestrials. Which in itself could be eventful, if it hadn't been a sort of overused theme. When you encounter something that feels common like that, you unfortunately land in the "been here, done this" category. 

There need to be something to set it apart. Maybe a character, maybe a twist. I'm not sure I found that in this book. 

Erika herself is pretty likable, as is our alien boy. But likable doesn't necessarily mean great. Erika is tough which is nice, but this instantaneous connection with H.A.L.F. 9 felt a little forced to me. H.A.L.F. 9 is well, an alien, so there is going to be a lack of connection there to begin with. 

Alien lands in foreign world, makes a ton of mistakes. Check. 

Actually a lot of things felt a little like a checklist. The plot felt predictable, despite some small moments when I thought it could be otherwise. Is it rude to say generic? Maybe? But really, I wanted something new here, like I hoped for in the beginning. I mean come on, girl offered tons of money to give birth to a baby which turns out to totally not be a normal baby! Where did that story go?

To sum it up, this was sort of your run of the mill, "conspiracy theories are totally the truth" alien story. I just feel like I've seen it handled in a much more creative manner to really applaud what I found in this book. I'm a Stargate fan, so I adore takes on aliens like The Asgards, where there is a little taste of existing conspiracies (Roswell Greys) while still having their own unique spin on it. I didn't get that same moment with H.A.L.F. We had the basic recipe: aliens caught, experiments, genetic research, whoops it's too powerful and escaped, enter love interest. By the hallway point, I really lost the motivation to pick up the book. It wasn't that it was terrible. I just didn't feel like I was really missing anything?

You know when you watch some T.V. shows, and you get distracted for a minute, come back, and you're okay with that. There's no desire to rewind to see what you missed. I never had that reaction to jump into this story and make sure I caught everything. If I have nothing else to read, yeah, it would take up the time. But would I run home to tell everyone to read it too? Sadly, I wouldn't. 

Natalie Wright has potential as a writer, but I'm not sure this story was the golden ticket to set her apart. 

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