Undertones Paperback – January 2, 2020
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About the Author
- Publisher : Black Rose Writing; First Printing ed. edition (January 2, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 247 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1684334012
- ISBN-13 : 978-1684334018
- Item Weight : 12.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.62 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,349,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The Undertones is populated with very HUMAN animals. Not that humans aren’t animals…we are. But I mean the obvious—cats, owls, foxes, anteaters, Komodo dragons, elephants, and more wearing clothes, working jobs, going to college, playing in jazz bands and dating. Initially I thought The Undertones was going to be a charming twenty-something tale of intelligent animals in college and their Millennial struggles. But the story takes a dark turn when one of the group, a panda, disappears. Her ex-boyfriend, the anteater Dane, attempts to put together the clues and figure out what happened to her.
The Undertones is plot driven, so I don’t want to give away anything more about the story other than to say that the college students get dragged into a dark conspiracy. What’s so interesting about the book is the interactions between the different species and their struggles to integrate into society. These relationships are rough metaphors for racism and immigration between diverse cultures, but if it was only that it would be too obvious. Popovich doesn’t downplay the unique challenges for each species to fit in with each other and into the dominate culture. The anteater struggles with ant addiction (which is now essentially cannibalism because all animals are considered equal), Komodo dragons have to resist their innate hunter/killer instincts, elephants struggle to fit into small spaces (special needs), and everyone has dietary challenges since they no longer live in nature. In some ways, it is more like alien races with very distinct needs trying to get along in close proximity.
I really enjoyed the characters, the “humanity” of the animals, and the unique social milieu that Popovich has created. The Undertones was an unexpected and very pleasant surprise.
Undertones is the name of the jazz band fronted by guitarist and vocalist Dane, a giant anteater quietly battling his ant addiction. He's a gifted musician (and mathematician, but he keeps that quiet) and the band is hoping for a big break, which appears to be in the works when a talent scout shows interest. Unfortunately, right about that time is when Dane's world starts to fall apart. While out on a date with Serena, a polar bear, they witness an assault and then become victims themselves. The attackers turn on them and when Dane wakes up in the hospital with a broken arm, Serena is missing and nobody seems to know anything about it. Dane doesn't get any co-operation or help when he goes to the police. In fact, he gets busted for possession of ants and winds up ordered to attend Domestication meetings.
While struggling to give up ants cold turkey, Dane decides he will find Serena himself, and starts following up on any leads he can. He gets some help from his friends, Nihleen the Komodo dragon and Gaston the numbat, and interacts with all kinds of characters and species. He stumbles into mob-like criminal activity, a dark underbelly of the society, and meets anarchists and conspiracy theorists. Dane will need the support and loyalty of the whole band and some other friends in order to untangle all the clues, find and rescue Serena, and stick together through danger and riots and nefarious plots.
Overall, a highly entertaining and engaging read! Full of humor and clever references to all kinds of cliches and animal jokes, along with subtle commentary on human interaction and society. There are a few f-bombs and other language flags here and there, so be aware. But aside from that cautionary note, I recommend this unusual book!
**I received an advanced review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.**
A teenager that is a giant anteater who plays in a band and is addicted to ants. It is very rare that I read something so unique and outside of the box. Even though, I doubted at first that I could continue because it wasn't my usual go-to, I was so surprised. The characters make-up only added to the special aspects of this book, but I don't want to say too much about that without spoiling the experience. And that is huge for me - the experience!
So after we get familiar with all the different types of characters, we get to go on an adventure to investigate, with Dane in the lead, an underground criminal organization. I loved the suspense that came with that.
The book was very well written and flowed beautifully. The imagination of this author tells me that anything he writes will be amazing. I can't wait to read more of his work.