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H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (Volume 1) by…
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H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (Volume 1)

by Natalie Wright

Series: H.A.L.F. (1)

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Jack, Erika, and Ian have been good friends since childhood and headed out to the desert outside of their small Arizona town to blow off some steam. They got far more than they bargained for! Before long, they are swept up in an alien-human hybrid science experiment that has some very determined people wanting to keep it quiet.

The action is well paced with a little comedy and some important conversations between characters. Erika was my favorite character; she has drive, is very easy to relate to, and gets stuff done that is plot-relevant. She’s also still a believable teen and makes realistic mistakes.

Tex, also known as H.A.L.F. 9, is also fun. He’s doing his best to figure out his world, abilities, and who are his allies versus enemies. Since he’s a living experiment brought up in a super secret desert facility, his limited experience makes him a little naive (understandably). I also like he has one big weakness – H2O. Yep, even the smallest amount of moisture can limit his abilities.

Jack and Ian provide some comedic relief here and there. Now I do have one quibble with this story and it involves these two guys. One of them is Erika’s boyfriend and the other has been Friend-Zoned and definitely wants to be something more. So we have this potential love triangle in the making and I’m not big on love triangles where there’s competition for one person’s affection. Then there’s Tex who has some feelings stirring for Erika and he’s not sure what they are nor what to do with them. So it could end up being a love quadrangle…. and that’s just silly. If Erika was the only female character in the story, then this would be a huge turn off for me. Luckily, we have some other ladies.

Commander Sturgis is a villain I love to hate. She’s driven, intelligent, condescending, ruthless, and a little petty. This H.A.L.F. project is her baby and her backers are eager to see what kind of living weapon she has wrought with this alien DNA. There’s also Electo, another alien DNA experiment. She has that potential to be a villain that later redeems herself. A very interesting character!

The plot ramps up and up to the point where Erika and her friends may well lose their lives. Things do indeed look grim for them but they keep their wits and pull together. I was definitely on the edge of my seat for the last two hours of the story. The end does leave us on a cliffhanger but Book 2 and Book 3 are already out so I can continue the story right away. 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Andrew Tell did a really good job with this book. His voice for Erika was believably feminine and his voices for Jack and Ian sounded like teen boys. He also had a distinct voice for Tex with proper, careful grammar and all. I loved his angry Sturgis and his creepy Electo. 5/5 stars. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Dec 31, 2017 |
H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath
By: Natalie Wright
Narrated by: Andrew Tell
I have had this book for a long time and I am so mad at myself for waiting to read it! It is so amazing!
It is about a human/alien hybrid breeding program by the government, and one of their specimens, HALF 9, escapes. 9 meets teens and trouble, they each help each other. The story gets crazier and very suspense filled as they try to get 9 to his 'cousins' that are trying to pick him up. 9 finds out he has a 'sister', HALF 10, along the way too but her personality is nothing as kind as his.
The narrator is just wonderful! He does the gruff voices and the squeaky alien voices perfectly! (Every voice in between too!) Perfect narrator for this book! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Dec 1, 2017 |
*I requested to review a copy of this audiobook for an honest review from the author or narrator.

Erika just wants to relax and enjoy the wind in her hair. Lounging in the desert restricted military zone, watching stars with friends, danger comes right to Erika, Ian, and Jack. Men plan to take Erika from her friends with dark plans for the night. Suddenly a new stranger appears, killing one of the two men who threatening Erika, Ian, and shoot Jack without touching them. Though, seeing the stranger will change their life when they are caught by the soldiers come for him.

Dr. Randall told H.A.L.F 9 to wait 30 days, if he hasn't returned then H.A.L.F 9 is to save himself. H.A.L.F 9 did just that, escaping the lab he's called home for his 17 years of life. He is free and happy for the first time in his life as he runs through the dry desert, until he become drawn to the three teens he finds in danger.

I've listened to Andrew Tell narrate a few books now. I like that he does tone changes for different characters. It helps keep the characters straight when listening to the story. There are a few characters that seem to pop more than others with a different tone and personality present to them. Andrew's narration is always as clear and clean as expected in his work.

The beginning starts with a strong influence in an attack. There is a lead up to potential rape. Three teen friends, two boys and a girl, go out in the desert to relax and look at the stars. There are two men that show up, and threaten the kids along with strong suggestions what they want with Erika.

Erika is working through her own emotions as a teen when she meets H.A.L.F. 9. She doesn't want to let herself love Jack and wants nothing more than to get out of the town to see the ocean. Her night on the run with her two best friends and a half alien wanting to live will bring her to think on things differently. There is some draw to Erika that H.A.L.F 9 doesn't understand. H.A.L.F 9 listens when Erika asks him to not kill the men. But H.A.L.F. 9's display with the six soldiers makes Commander Sturgis more curious of his limits, yet worried as he showed concern for others which was to be breed out of him to make the perfect weapon. H.A.L.F. 9 learns about himself as the story goes on as well. He has powers he didn't even know about, and can communicate with his grey cousins.

It's been a while since I saw the movie I Am Number 4, but this book reminds me of that story line though with alien DNA. It feels like the same old sort of story with an alien hybrid and humans. There are those that want to experiment, those who don't like, and the few that try to help the locked up alien hybrid.

If it wasn't for the subject of looming rape at the beginning of the story, I would say this is a great story for middle school grade as they get to enjoy 9's firsts in the human world as H.A.L.F. 9's innocence in the human world brings a young feel to the story. ( )
  MelHay | Apr 3, 2016 |
This is the first installment of Natalie's three part series and is a fast paced story that although it's marketed for a Young Adult audience, I believe anyone would enjoy, I'm in my mid 40's and I loved it.

The story has many twists and turns ensuring that you won't put the book down. There's always something to discover or the answer to a question on the next page. There is so much tension and intrique in the book that you feel the characters fear when they are in danger, and the sudden relief when they feel safe again. You'll be on that roller-coaster throughout. The plot itself is plausible, I mean many believe the aliens landed in Roswell, so why wouldn't the government have alien DNA and a secret facility somewhere?

The characters where very well developed and believable, you could really understand Jack's feelings toward Erika, and conversely H.A.L.F 9's feelings toward Jack. Commander Sturgis is portrayed as a nasty, evil person but there are subtle references to a much softer personality hidden in the depths of her character.

The book ends on a massive cliffhanger; What happens to the kids are they safe? And what about Sturgis and her facility? I guess we'll have to wait for book 2 to find out.

Overall a great book at any age ( )
  theReadingHead | Jul 17, 2015 |
A young, homeless woman is offered a thousand dollars just to come and listen to a job proposal, a quarter of a million to complete the job successfully, and then a pension for the rest of her life. That's what got her into the position she was into at the prologue - nearly ready to give birth to what she had come to call "the little monster".

H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath grabbed my attention right from the beginning because this obviously wasn't any kind of normal job offer. Something very strange was going on.

Erika, Ian and Jack are three teens on a jaunt in the desert. This threesome is attacked by some hoodlums who would traffic Ericka across the border into the sex trade. They are rescued by a pale, strange looking creature that sort of looks human. The creature closes up Jack's bullet wound and they escape the military who want H.A.L.F. 9 back. Ericka insists on H.A.L.F. 9 having a name and since he won't chose one for himself, she chooses the name Tex for him.

H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath was a very fast-paced novel with a lot of action and twists and turns in the plot. The whole idea of a human-alien hybrid was quite fascinating.

I liked the romantic tension between Jack and Ericka and appreciated that it was kept clean. There is some mild swearing.

The characters seemed real to me. They had depth to them. I particularly liked Tex. He was very child-like, which I would expect, having been raised in such a sheltered environment.

I was surprised at the ending in the story and can’t wait to find out why it happened that way. I’ll be watching for the next volume of H.A.L.F. to become available.
I very much enjoyed this young adult science fiction novel and would recommend it to other readers of these genres. I gave this book 5 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

This review was published on my blog Shelf Full of Books http://kathrynsshelffullofbooks.blogspot.com/2015/03/book-review-half-deep-benea... ( )
  KathrynSvendsen | Mar 29, 2015 |
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