Book 1 of H.A.L.F.
Title: The Deep Beneath
Author: Natalie Wright
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Year of Publication: 2015
Published by Boadicea Press
Rating: 4/5 stars
“I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.”
The Deep Beneath is the first instalment in Natalie Wright’s young adult science fiction series entitled H.A.L.F., which was inspired by the Roswell UFO Incident, but the author took it to a whole new level.
In short, three teenagers (Erika, Ian and Jack) who were living a dull life in border town Ajo (Arizona), encounter an outlandish being named H.A.L.F. 9, who saves them after they are attacked by two armed strangers. 9 is a human-alien hybrid who escaped from A.H.D.N.A., an underground lab owned by the military and kept top secret by the US Government. Due to the gratitude the teens feel for the hybrid, they decide to return the favour and help him run even farther away from the people who created him and wanted to use him as a weapon in the upcoming alien war that will strike the Earth. From this moment on, a suspenseful action-packed supernatural journey unfolds in front of their eyes and the teens’ lives will never be the same again.
“I am H.A.L.F. 9, property of the United States government and a lethal weapon.” (Page 68)
Because this is the first book of the series, it’s clear that there are still unrevealed facets of the characters or undiscovered fragments from their past, but they were pretty well-built. There’s Erika, who wants to move out from her hometown in order to live a more exciting life, but she rejects Jack’s love because this might be an obstacle in her way to freedom. Ian is her best friend, the one who cares for her in a non-romantic way, and Jack is her love interest and the one who’s by her side and protects her when she’s hurt. H.A.L.F. 9 is the human-alien hybrid who tries to adapt and to understand the human world and he somehow develops feelings for Erika. Commander Lilly Sturgis is the geneticist who is in charge of the secret governmental program and she is the one who created the hybrids, along with Dr Randall.
There are multiple perspectives in this book (Lucia, Erika, H.AL.F. 9, Commander Sturgis and H.A.L.F. 10), from which we can understand the characters’ view of the world around them and the way they see other characters. The main themes are power, (lack of) humanity, freedom, friendship, poverty, love and hope.
To wrap it up, I enjoyed reading this novel more than I expected because the descriptions and the technological terms weren’t overwhelming, while the plot twists were worth discovering. Personally, I sat on pins and needles until the last page was turned.