Heart of the Storm, by Michael Buckley

Heart of the Storm is the final volume in Michael Buckley's Undertow trilogy. All of the books in this series have been a mixed bag—at times wildly imaginative and exciting, at others just a overstuffed mess—and this last installment is no different.

As Heart of the Sea opens, Lyric is being held captive by Minerva, the insane Alpha queen. She's determined to escape and warn the world about the upcoming threat posed by the Great Abyss. But when Lyric finally makes it back to the surface, she finds a world that is vehemently opposed to listening to her.

If you enjoyed the action and friendship elements in the first two books, you're likely to enjoy a lot of this one, too. Fight scenes and platonic bonding makes up the lion's share of this book, and those aspects are still engaging. Unfortunately [Spoilers—and some swearing—ahead], this book has the same crippling flaw as Buckley's Sisters Grimm series: he is great at establishing romantic chemistry, but terrible at romantic conclusions. In the Sisters Grimm series, Sabrina and Puck's happily-ever-after comes at the expense of transforming Sabrina into a selfish asshole who ditches her human fiance at the altar. In the penultimate chapters of Heart of the Storm, Lyric is torn between three different romantic futures. Any one of these possibilities could have been explored in a satisfying way, but Buckley weakly falls back on a time-jump, dumping all that potential character development and cobbling together a happy (ish) ending out of nowhere. I don't know why he is so unwilling to let his romantic storylines play out, but romance is an important part of YA books, and Buckley's slapdash, consistent-characterization-be-damned approach is kneecapping his storytelling.
Posted by: Julianka


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