After the great floods, the world’s coastal cities survived by building huge domes that kept them safe from the rising waters, but they couldn’t protect them from political upheaval. The Wave Party’s leader Saxon Cole is trying to wrest control of the government. A deadly explosion in the underwater city of Aquataine causes a mass evacuation to the surface, and the secretive group known as the Undercurrent suspects sabotage.

When one of the Undercurrent’s senior officers is viciously attacked for what he knows, his nephew, sixteen-year-old Phelan Maxwell, is compelled to act. But even the resourceful Phelan couldn’t have expected the adventure he was about to embark on. Ariana Torrent, the confident and smart girl he meets during the evacuation, offers her support. It’s a good thing too, because Phelan underestimates just how dangerous Cole’s men can be.

-Undercurrent, by Michael Crowl (Goodreads)

Undercurrent creates a future for the world we live in if things do not change. With so many pieces of the future unknown, it is refreshing to find a novel that shows us a future where we aren’t all turned into cyborgs and daleks. There is plenty of updated technology, but the uses aren’t to enhance people like with many futuristic sci-fi novels.

Phelan Maxwell and his friends navigate the waters of peril so elegantly in this story, that it is hard to remember they are high school students. Though they learn a lot of real world workings, and overcome many impossible obstacles, Phelan and his friends manage to save most of the underwater domed world that once was Baltimore. The question is, have they truly saved the dome? Or have they only delayed the inevitable?

Saxon Cole is not a man to be messed with lightly. If you are going to take him on, you better have a good team with a good plan. Cole knows how to conduct his business from behind the curtain when he needs to, which makes covering his tracks much simpler for him. But we know that what is simple for the villain, is not such an easy challenge for our hero. Codes and puzzles are strewn throughout this novel, keeping you on your toes as you turn every page. You never know what riddles you will encounter as you follow the team.

As Cole plans his attacks and scandals to take down the current system and overthrow the government, there are many things to take into consideration. Not only is he focused on his government campaign, which is full of lies to get the position he wants, but he attacks the city itself through his wide variety of lackies. Drug circles, fist thumping goons, and his own SWAT team of vandals, destroy the city in pieces giving him things to tidy up and look good.

Like every good novel, the main character could just ignore the issues and continue with his own life and pretend it doesn’t effect him, but the sense of duty kicks in making that choice a pointless one. Phelan meets his power trio team finds each of their individual strengths to formulate a plan to save the dome they grew up in. While motivated by the mystery shrouding his family’s past tragedy, the desire to do the right thing shines through the excellently developed characters.

This being said, am I the only one that is constantly drawn to the “sidekick”? Yes Harry Potter’s name is in the title, but I have always held Ron Weasley in high regards for his attitude and humor in even the worst situations. We follow Tris Pryor, but I prefer the bumbling Peter, partially because we don’t know what he’s going to say or do on any given page. Tyrian Lannister isn’t the main character in most stories, but he will forever be my favorite. His satirical visage just makes me smile. Destyn Albright, will forever join these ranks in my opinion, and is perhaps in the first runner up spot. Ok, he’s definitely my silver medal character. He’s hilarious and refreshing.

The book is a great read, and could easily be shleved along side series like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, and The Blackthorne Key. The second book (The Rise of the Wave) is also already available, and I know for a fact a third installment into this series is in progress already.

For fun, today is Founder’s Day in Aquataine!

Join Cole’s hunt by making your own “I Am Phelan Maxwell” post!

Undercurrent by Michael Crowl / 342 pages / YA / Science Fiction / Dystopian / Coming of Age

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