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review 2019-12-28 08:39
The Deep Beneath
The Deep Beneath - Natalie Wright

How unlucky can a bunch of teenagers be?

While they were just minding their own business on some military training ground, they first encounter some rapist, then H.A.L.F 9 and to top that they are finally held at gunpoint by the military. Just another weekend I guess.

This was one of these books were a lot happens, but nothing is really worked out well, and it all feels a little bit flat. For me the most interesting part was the interaction between H.A.L.F. 9 and 10, with their different upbringings and conflicting principles. I hope to see more of that in the next novel.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-08-06 00:00
H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F. #1)
H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F. #1) - Natalie Wright The Deep Beneath was a well-written young adult science fiction novel. It introduces us to the characters we will follow throughout the next two books. Natalie Wright does a good job of keeping it at a young adult level, but not pandering to the hormonal crowd too much. Yes, there is a little bit of a romance mentioned, but as the novel is almost immediately a fight for survival, it's not much of a problem.

Ian, Jack, and Erika are a likable bunch, and feel like 'real' friends. They're not all buddy-buddy on every single aspect of what they do. They ram heads frequently over things. Erika is not treated with any particular deference because she's a girl. (It probably helps that the gorgeous one of the bunch is gay.) H.A.L.F. 9 is an interesting character in his own right. I liked watching him interact with the trio. I think the author made the right decision in not having them click instantly, nor having everyone be super accepting of the situation. Again, it was one of those things that made it feel a bit more realistic than it otherwise might have.

The rest of the characters are almost entirely dislikable. Especially the person in control of the base. It's rare that a character in a book makes me want to punch them so quickly, but that's exactly how I felt within pages. 

I love the take that Natalie Wright has on aliens and how certain elements of our world might affect them. I haven't read it anywhere else. It's such an interesting concept that it remains one of my favorite aspects of the books. A fairly simple thing, but so effective.

The pacing feels a bit slow, but steady. The dialogue is believable. The setting is extremely effective in The Deep Beneath. There's just something about the desert that makes it feel like the perfect setting for something otherworldly to happen.

This is definitely my favorite of the first two books in the H.A.L.F trilogy. Natalie Wright is a talented science fiction author and she does a great job of doing a young adult book that isn't all focused on the hormones. (It probably helps that almost immediately they were all fighting for survival, but still.) The end of the novel definitely sets up for the rest of the trilogy, but at the same time, you could stop at one and still feel like you got a complete story.

The Deep Beneath makes you wonder: How would you react if you encountered someone like H.A.L.F. 9? Would you do the right thing, would you be afraid of him, would you run? What? I guess no one really know how they're going to react to something until they experience it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author for review consideration.
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review 2016-04-03 14:09
Audio Book Review: The Deep Beneath
The Deep Beneath - Natalie Wright

*I requested to review a copy of this audiobook for an honest review from the author or narrator.

Erika just wants to relax and enjoy the wind in her hair. Lounging in the desert restricted military zone, watching stars with friends, danger comes right to Erika, Ian, and Jack. Men plan to take Erika from her friends with dark plans for the night. Suddenly a new stranger appears, killing one of the two men who threatening Erika, Ian, and shoot Jack without touching them. Though, seeing the stranger will change their life when they are caught by the soldiers come for him.

Dr. Randall told H.A.L.F 9 to wait 30 days, if he hasn't returned then H.A.L.F 9 is to save himself. H.A.L.F 9 did just that, escaping the lab he's called home for his 17 years of life. He is free and happy for the first time in his life as he runs through the dry desert, until he become drawn to the three teens he finds in danger.

I've listened to Andrew Tell narrate a few books now. I like that he does tone changes for different characters. It helps keep the characters straight when listening to the story. There are a few characters that seem to pop more than others with a different tone and personality present to them. Andrew's narration is always as clear and clean as expected in his work.

The beginning starts with a strong influence in an attack. There is a lead up to potential rape. Three teen friends, two boys and a girl, go out in the desert to relax and look at the stars. There are two men that show up, and threaten the kids along with strong suggestions what they want with Erika.

Erika is working through her own emotions as a teen when she meets H.A.L.F. 9. She doesn't want to let herself love Jack and wants nothing more than to get out of the town to see the ocean. Her night on the run with her two best friends and a half alien wanting to live will bring her to think on things differently. There is some draw to Erika that H.A.L.F 9 doesn't understand. H.A.L.F 9 listens when Erika asks him to not kill the men. But H.A.L.F. 9's display with the six soldiers makes Commander Sturgis more curious of his limits, yet worried as he showed concern for others which was to be breed out of him to make the perfect weapon. H.A.L.F. 9 learns about himself as the story goes on as well. He has powers he didn't even know about, and can communicate with his grey cousins.

It's been a while since I saw the movie I Am Number 4, but this book reminds me of that story line though with alien DNA. It feels like the same old sort of story with an alien hybrid and humans. There are those that want to experiment, those who don't like, and the few that try to help the locked up alien hybrid.

If it wasn't for the subject of looming rape at the beginning of the story, I would say this is a great story for middle school grade as they get to enjoy 9's firsts in the human world as H.A.L.F. 9's innocence in the human world brings a young feel to the story.

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review 2015-05-11 21:55
The Deep Beneath
The Deep Beneath - Natalie Wright

(I got a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

I can't say I liked this novel. Although the premise grabbed my attention, the story turned out to be too overdone to my liking. It partly had to do with the source of H.A.L.F. 9's non-human side. It reminded me of what I'd call "Cold War era stories": books, movies, comics tackling matters that were relevant a few decades ago (the way the Cold War provided an excellent building-ground for tense stories), but aren't so much anymore. As a result, making them interesting rather than "it's just another version of..." has become more difficult. Unfortunately, in my opinion, The Deep Beneath didn't manage to get off the ground, whether in theme or in execution.

The characters remained too flat for me to warm up to them. I expected Erika to be more of a free mind—a proud, independant young woman riding her motorcycle through the desert—and not so obsessed with her love interest that she didn't want to love because it would impede her freedom, but wait, she still keeps daydreaming about him and sniffing his scent. What could have been a good subplot, filled with questions about whether loving someone will set you back or allow you to soar, whether it will only shackle a person or not, got lost in the flow of teenage hormones. And when she opened her mouth, when she stood her ground, it was too often at the wrong moment, using the wrong words (at the 70% mark, I filed her as Too Stupid To Live).

Both Ian and Jack seemed to exist as background elements only, and never developed into actual characters with actual personalities. Sturgis had too much of a gloating villain edge, both cruel at times yet inexplicably powerless at others (in the way of the Villain Decay trope). Alecto's budding thoughts and dilemma regarding H.A.L.F. 9'got lost somewhere along the road, when it could've been such an interesting thread to develop. As for H9, I guess he was alright, in the way he discovered the outside world and grew to care for the humans he had met, but here comes the third breaking part for me: the writing.

The writing was of the "tell, not show" varity, which quickly made the story feel as dry as the desert it was set in. I can definitely say that had H9's growth been tackled in a different way, instead of that somewhat clinically detached tone, I would've appreciated it much more. Being detached made sense when it came to his stilted dialogue, since he had never been given the chance to communicate much with human beings; however, it wasn't palatable when all his thoughts and actions were described that way.

Conclusion: a story that had potential to provide food for thought, yet didn't in the end. 1.5 stars

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text 2015-03-19 07:58
TBR Thursday #32
Rings in Time - Trude Meister
Fairy Keeper - Amy Bearce
The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter - Malcolm McKay
H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F. #1) - Natalie Wright
Qualify - Vera Nazarian
The Six - Mark Alpert
Guild of Immortal Women - David Alan Morrison,H.L. Melvin
Dragons Are People, Too - Sarah Nicolas

Moonlight Reader started the TBR Thursday, and I think it's a good way to a) show what new books I've got and b) confront myself with my inability to lower my TBR. In fact, since I started recording it, it has risen significantly. I get the feeling I'm doing something wrong here...


Still more books than planned, but less than other weeks. I hope to have a bit more time this week so I'll be able to finish some books.


Rings in time


First dates can be so awkward, especially when instead of a kiss the night ends with a semi-truck running into a convenience store. When Jenna meets Pearl Connolly, her handsome yet oddly familiar new neighbor, she's more than happy to agree to a date, but the night takes a turn for the worse when her store is destroyed. Jenna isn't the only one that thinks the 'tragic accident' was no accident at all. Fortunately help comes in the form of Pearl and his sister, researchers bent on learning the truth, but hiding truths of their own. Sending Jenna back in time to find out what happened seems like the best way preserve the future, but what she learns about herself and her forgotten past in the midst of disaster changes everything. Rings of Time is a charmingly funny science-fiction romance that traverses motherhood, relationships, and time itself.


Fairy Keeper


Forget cute fairies in pretty dresses. In the world of Aluvia, most fairies are more like irritable, moody insects. Almost everyone in the world of Aluvia views the fairy keeper mark as a gift, but not fourteen-year-old Sierra. She hates being a fairy keeper, but the birthmark is right there on the back of her neck. It shows everyone she was born with the natural ability to communicate, attract, and even control the tiny fairies whose nectar is amazingly powerful. Fairy nectar can heal people, but it is also a key ingredient in synthesizing Flight, an illegal elixir that produces dreaminess, apathy and hallucinations. She’s forced to care for a whole hive of the bee-like beasties by her Flight-dealing, dark alchemist father. Then one day, Sierra discovers the fairies of her hatch are mysteriously dead. The fairy queen is missing. Her father’s Flight operation is halted, and he plans to make up for the lost income by trading her little sister to be an elixir runner for another dark alchemist, a dangerous thug. Desperate to protect her sister, Sierra convinces her father she can retrieve the lost queen and get his operation up and running. The problem? Sierra’s queen wasn’t the only queen to disappear. They’re all gone, every single one, and getting them back will be deadly dangerous. Sierra journeys with her best friend and her worst enemy -- assigned by her father to dog her every step -- to find the missing queens. Along the way, they learn that more than just her sister’s life is at stake if they fail. There are secrets in the Skyclad Mountains where the last wild fairies were seen. The magic Sierra finds there has the power to transform their world, but only if she can first embrace her calling as a fairy keeper.


The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter


A twenty-nine-year-old man lives alone in his Glasgow flat. The telephone rings; a casual conversation, but behind this a job offer. The clues are there if you know to look for them. He is an expert. A loner. Freelance. Another job is another job, but what if this organisation wants more? A meeting at a club. An offer. A brief. A target: Lewis Winter. It's hard to kill a man well. People who do it well know this. People who do it badly find out the hard way. The hard way has consequences. An arresting, gripping novel of dark relationships and even darker moralities, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter introduces a remarkable new voice in crime fiction. The second book in the Glasgow Trilogy How A Gunman Says Goodbye will follow soon .


The Deep Beneath


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.




You have two options. You die, or you Qualify. The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendents of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help. But there’s a catch. They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify. Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family. Because there’s a loophole. If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer. There is only one problem. Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard. This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her class, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists. Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea. You Qualify or you die.



The Six


Avatar meets The Terminator in this thrilling cyber-tech adventure. Crippled by muscular dystrophy, Adam spends his days playing virtual reality games, until a dangerously advanced artificial intelligence program that can control other machines tries to kill him. Created by Adam’s father, Sigma has escaped its cyber prison and is threatening world domination. In order to stop Sigma, Adam and five other terminally ill teens sacrifice their bodies and upload their minds into weaponized robots. Together, The Six must learn how to manipulate their new mechanical forms—and prepare for epic combat—before Sigma destroys humanity.


The Guild of Immortal Women


“When one is immortal, one should keep a low profile.” A new comedic romp through a magical tapestry maintained by Earth's Immortal women.


Dragons are people, too


Never judge a dragon by her human cover... Sixteen-year-old Kitty Lung has everyone convinced she’s a normal teen—not a secret government operative, not the one charged with protecting the president’s son, and certainly not a were-dragon. The only one she trusts with the truth is her best friend—and secret crush—the über-hot Bulisani Mathe. Then a junior operative breaks Rule Number One by changing into his dragon form in public—on Kitty’s watch—and suddenly, the world knows. About dragons. About the Draconic Intelligence Command (DIC) Kitty works for. About Kitty herself. Now the government is hunting down and incarcerating dragons to stop a public panic, and a new shape-shifting enemy has kidnapped the president’s son. Kitty and Bulisani are the last free dragons, wanted by both their allies and their enemies. If they can’t rescue the president’s son and liberate their fellow dragons before getting caught themselves, dragons might never live free again.

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