5 Definite Stars for K. R. Conway’s Undertow


Author: K. R. Conway

Series: Undertow #1

Date of Publication: October 11, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Rating: ★★★


Okay so, I went into this book as I do with most books I don’t know much about: with an open mind and expecting a decent read. Boy, oh boy, was I taken aback (in a good way…a really good way) I’ll start you guys off with the Goodreads summary:

Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.

Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and soon young guardian, Raef, is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring
families come to light, Eila begins to realize that she may be their best shot at survival, even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.

Conway’s writing is seriously amazing. I hadn’t heard of her or any of her novels before I saw this title listed on Netgalley but I’M SO GLAD I DID! Her expertise in writing really came out in the one – the way she writes just instantly caught my attention and didn’t let go until I read the last sentence. (and let’s be honest, still hasn’t. I need #2 NOW!!!)

Her character development is so great in this one. Every single one of the main characters are so unique that if you read me one of their lines, I would instantly know who it was. Eila is so sweet and so strong. Reaf is just flat out sexy but, super mysterious at the same time. MJ, OH MJ. He reminds me of Eddie from VA/Bloodlines – he’s just that utterly devoted friend and nothing more which, i was very happy about. Kian is cocky, ok yeah he is, but not in an obnoxious way, his sweet side definitely comes out… Ana is guarded to the max and generally keeps to herself, but once she breaks out of her shell, she’s yet another highly devoted friend to Eila. I didn’t feel as if any of relationships were forced between the characters which was a breath of fresh air.

And of course, this crazy world they live in was built so well by Conway to *props to you.* I loved how the “other side” to the human world was revealed in this book. The way Raef was telling Eila the story of their ancestors and the supernatural world, I almost felt like I was reading a book within a book (if that makes sense) or as if I was sitting there in the kitchen and he was talking to me. My only problem with this book is that I do wish this big reveal came a little earlier than where it did, but maybe that’s just me being impatient ol’ me.

This story had so many more layers than I thought it originally would. Once Raef came clean to Eila that one day I sat there like “phew, ok glad that’s out there. now let’s see what they’ll do with this,” But man, was I surprised. There were so many more underlying elements to the book that really made it so much more intriguing. Books with only one plot-line bore me to no end, but this one definitely did not fit into that category.. Like Marsh – I thought that was so clever! Or the picture book that turns out to be something so much more and how it connects with Eila’s mark. Or the crystal ball.. These details, as small as they can seem at times, add so much depth to the story and just allow for such a great read. I’m really happy with this one. Also, as a fan of historicalish books, I felt like I was taken back in time while reading some of those 1800s tales!

Another element I enjoyed was Eila as the voice of this book. (but how amazing would multiple POVs be?! A peek into Raef’s mind? YES PLEASE) Unlike some books I’ve read recently, she’s not the annoying, fragile female character that needs her boyfriend to protect her form everything, comfort her every second of every day or someone who jumps at the smallest things. I admire her because she made her own decisions in this book, despite some severe disagreements from her boyfriend/friends. She’s so strong willed and I think that when books are written in first person, the character must be admirable otherwise it ruins the whole thing.. I really loved her! (and Mae is so sweet!)

And this review would not be complete without me completely fingerling over Raef and Kian… Oh. em. gee. Can you say picture-perfect models? Just reading about them made me want a movie, let alone the freaking awesome story! But aside from their gorgeousness, they are both so sweet (in their own ways) and their lovey dove actions melted my heart <3. Some of my new fave YA boys, for sure..

I felt like I was waiting ages for some Reaf &Eila love to happen, especially since everyone knew, including them! But as soon as they has their first kiss, I knew it was worth the wait because it made their relationship that much more deep and real. I loved their love.

Anyway, before I write a novel of my own, I just seriously hope I’ve convinced whoever is reading to go out and get this book! Fans of the Morganville Vampires series, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines will love this! Highly recommended! Thank you to Patchwork Press for sending me this book through Netgalley for review – this in no way impacted my review or rating.

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