Publication date: January 7th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
This sci-fi novel was quite interesting, and had some wonderfully executed elements that made the story and the conflict fairly gripping. Conspiracy theories and alien abductions are not necessarily original concepts, but the way those ideas were implemented led to a fairly fresh and enticing plot.
I really loved H.A.L.F. 9, aka Tex, and thought the author did a great job with his dialogue, inner dialogue, actions and reactions for an individual who was trained as a weapon and property of the U.S. government rather than a human who was nurtured and encouraged to have individual thoughts and feelings.
Erika was a very decisive person, intent on getting out of her small hometown of Ajo. Her decision to avoid any emotional ties or relationships in order to accomplish this goal was understandable, but the guy she had feelings for, Jack, didn't really seem like the right fit for her. As an individual, Jack is a great male lead and very likable, but I didn't really feel much of a connection between the two even though they are supposedly in love with one another.
I think this has to do with my preference for Tex and his own emotional response to Erika. I'm kind of rooting for her to teach him what it means to be human, and for Tex to teach Erika what it means to actually be free, considering how trapped she felt in her small town. There seemed to be more of a connection there than with Jack. Ian is more of a sidekick, and kind of linear when it came to character development. Didn't get much of a read on him other than the fact that he is a very loyal friend for Erika.
I think that there needed to be more character development all around. We never got a scene from Jack's or Ian's point of view, and we didn't get much background on them either. I think that might be what made me feel interested, but not completely all in for the characters. I just couldn't connect with anyone but Tex.
The action is great, and the actual scene with the alien spaceship was crazy good. I loved all of the amazing supernatural powers that Tex began manifesting, and I found the ending to be quite surprising. It definitely made me want to read the next one to see what happens both above ground and below. I recommend this to all fans of sci-fi adventures.
I gave it four cherry blossoms.
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