Review: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell


A shadowy figure. An intense roar. The sensation of falling—fast.

That’s all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.

Why are his parents acting like he’s some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all...what happened to Callum’s brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn’t the only one who wants to see him dead.

With all of the alternate and parallel universe books being put out this year I was hoping that Undercurrent would be able to hold it's own. Unfortunately, this book was ultimately forgettable and really didn't do that much to impress me. There just didn't seem to be much point to it except from the general 'what-if' speculation. 
To be honest there is only so much of the 'what if' I can read if there is no overlying plot, and in this book the only plot that I could find as Cal trying to figure out why everything around him is so different...  he was a very dense character, spending a vast majority of the book telling himself that he must have forgot that he was popular and that his brother was seriously injured from an accident years ago. I mean, I'm all for characters that don't figure out what's going on straight away, but Callum just took it beyond a joke!

There were definitely some intriguing and thrilling parts in this book, so I kept reading for them. At the end when everything comes clear about how Callum ended up going over the waterfall in the first place I was glad to have some answers, and that was definitely my favorite part of the book. This book could have redeemed itself if it had kept that pace and built on it from there, but the end comes pretty soon after that and the ending is so abrupt... it seemed to me like Blackwell got bored of writing and though 'best wrap it up here then'.

I can't forget to point out about Blackwell's writing though. There's something unique and believable about the way that Blackwell tells the story. this book is sci-fi but the explanations given were believable. Blackwell definitely wrote an honest and believable character in Callum - the kid who is confused and wants his own life back battling with the part of him that wants to be popular. 

Overall, Undercurrent was a disappointing book which honestly fades in comparison to other alternate universe sci-fi books such as Parallel by lauren Miller and Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris. Whilst I wouldn't really recommend it, I do see some potential and I did enjoy Blackwell's writing.

Book released 23rd July 2013 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)

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