Title: H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath
Series: H.A.L.F. #1
Author: Natalie Wright
Publisher: Boadicea Press
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
From the author—
H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.
Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined.
Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill?
The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.
One of my favorite books is Watchers by Dean Koontz in which an experiment produces two creatures, one a triumph of goodness and the other a creature that is violent and terrifying. Underlying that monstrous demeanour, though, is a sadness and a yearning for something better and it’s that dichotomy that The Deep Beneath reminds me of. While the hybrid created by an experiment is intended for, and capable of, terrible things, H.A.L.F. 9 has a softer side and, because of that, is quite vulnerable.
When Erika, Ian and Jack set out to help 9 after a deadly encounter in the desert, they forge a bond none could have foreseen and this is the heart of the story. There’s a certain lack of trust between 9 and the other three but they work through it for the most part and become a real team. Each one is memorable to me, especially 9 and Erika, and I really like all four of them and admire the humans’ drive to find safety for this being who comes to mean so much to them.
As for the plot, this is a good old-fashioned Area 51 type of story and is pretty straightforward, nasty government conspirators and all. It’s just the type of alien encounter science fiction that appeals to me and The Deep Beneath was really quite satisfying while the author added elements that made this more than “just another Roswell” tale. I especially appreciated her use of varying levels of humidity, something I haven’t seen before.
The Deep Beneath ends on a cliffhanger but I was already thinking how glad I was that this is the first book in a series because I want more of this story, much more. I really hope Ms. Wright will have the next installment ready for us soon.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2015.
About the Author
Natalie is the author of H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, tween daughter, and two young cats.
Natalie spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, hanging out on social media, and meeting readers and fans at festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. She likes to walk in the desert, snorkel in warm waters, travel, and share excellent food and conversation with awesome people. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.
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