4 out of 5 stars
The wildest and most heartfelt of The Undertow Trilogy, Heart of the Storm is a fantastic finish to a fast-paced series.
At the end of Raging Sea, Lyric Walker was captured by deranged Alpha prime Minerva and dragged under the sea. Heart of the Storm opens three months later, as Lyric is fished out of the Atlantic by a boat. By the time they get ashore, the Panamanian military is waiting to take the world’s most wanted terrorist into custody. By a strange, pseudo-ally arrives: the American ambassador. Lyric’s home country wants her back – and that can’t be good.
Or maybe it is. White Tower, the all-powerful, cloak-and-dagger operation that held Lyric, the other hybrids and the Alpha captive, say they’ve learned their lesson. They’re on the good side now, sort of. Whether they want peace or profit, they finally see they need Lyric’s help to save the world.
But before they can convince anyone, the other Alpha-human hybrid kids Lyric and return her to the decimated, deserted East Coast. Lyric’s family – parents and Bex – are waiting. During the absence when they didn’t know if Lyric was dead, Bex and the kids carried on a covert social media campaign, inciting people to believe Lyric was a hero, not a villain. When Lyric returns, it should be a celebration. But she bring news that there is something even worse in the sea, and it’s coming for them.
With a blistering pace, Heart of the Storm reveals all about the Alpha nation. Using flashbacks, we see Lyric as Minerva’s captive, forced to hunt and serve and survive. Lyric comes to understand the plight of the Rusalka, and learn what even they, in their terrifying thousands, have to fear.
There’s so much in the Undertow books that’s relevant today: fear of “other,” of those at the top losing their place to those who are “less.” Even the themes of the unknown coming from the sea, of closing borders, of secession and self-protection speak to today. The Undertow Trilogy is a refugee story and a modern parable, written with a spoonful of teenage-ness to make the medicine go down. It’s rare to read a series at once so fantastic and so, almost strangely, realistic.