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H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath Kindle Edition
|Length: 293 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 9 - 18||Grade Level: 4 - 12|
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Top Customer Reviews
I really loved H.A.L.F. 9, aka Tex, and thought the author did a great job with his dialogue, inner dialogue, actions and reactions for an individual who was trained as a weapon and property of the U.S. government rather than a human who was nurtured and encouraged to have individual thoughts and feelings.
Erika was a very decisive person, intent on getting out of her small hometown of Ajo. Her decision to avoid any emotional ties or relationships in order to accomplish this goal was understandable, but the guy she had feelings for, Jack, didn't really seem like the right fit for her. As an individual, Jack is a great male lead and very likable, but I didn't really feel much of a connection between the two even though they are supposedly in love with one another.
I think this has to do with my preference for Tex and his own emotional response to Erika. I'm kind of rooting for her to teach him what it means to be human, and for Tex to teach Erika what it means to actually be free, considering how trapped she felt in her small town. There seemed to be more of a connection there than with Jack. Ian is more of a sidekick, and kind of linear when it came to character development. Didn't get much of a read on him other than the fact that he is a very loyal friend for Erika.
I think that there needed to be more character development all around. We never got a scene from Jack's or Ian's point of view, and we didn't get much background on them either. I think that might be what made me feel interested, but not completely all in for the characters. I just couldn't connect with anyone but Tex.
The action is great, and the actual scene with the alien spaceship was crazy good. I loved all of the amazing supernatural powers that Tex began manifesting, and I found the ending to be quite surprising. It definitely made me want to read the next one to see what happens both above ground and below. I recommend this to all fans of sci-fi adventures.
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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The Deep Beneath is the first instalment in Natalie Wright’s young adult...
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