Undraland

UndralandUndraland by Mary Twomey
Series: Undraland
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Amazon Digital Services on May 11, 2015
Pages: 334
Also in this series: Nøkken
Also by this author: Nøkken

 

After a childhood of constantly moving, Lucy Kincaid longs for a simple life; a home of her own with a white picket fence would do just nicely. But her hopes and dreams are dashed when she is attacked by a rabid bear and rescued by the mysterious Jens. Without a doubt, he knows far more about her than a stranger should. Forced to flee her home and leave behind her one friend, Lucy and Jens flee to his world, Undraland, a place remarkably similar to her Uncle Rick’s bedtime stories. Discovering a mythical world in peril, Lucy is quickly caught up in a scheme to defeat the last siren, Pesta. Based on Scandinavian folklore, Undraland is a fast-paced, Lord of the Ring type adventure featuring an intrepid hero, a snarky heroine, and plenty of mythical creatures guaranteed to capture the readers imagination.

Based on Scandinavian folklore, Undraland is a fast-paced, Lord of the Ring type adventure featuring an intrepid hero, a snarky heroine, and plenty of mythical creatures guaranteed to capture the readers imagination.

I rarely review books by my friends. There’s that whole, “what if I don’t like it thing” that really makes me think twice (okay, 20 times) before deciding to review. However, the premise for this book sounded so interesting and the Scandinavian folklore angle really had me intrigued. So I decided to give it a try. With that said, Mary and I are friends, but what follows is my honest opinion of Undraland.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it up on a rainy Sunday afternoon and before I knew it, I had almost finished it within a few hours. It is written in the familiar YA style that is fast paced and event driven. The characters act and react to situations and while there is time for some contemplation, overall the story moves and keeps the reader eager to find out what happens next in their adventure.

The beginning to Undraland is a little rough, but that’s mainly because Lucy is incredibly snarky.

The beginning to Undraland is a little rough, but that’s mainly because Lucy is incredibly snarky. While as a whole it works for her character, it makes it a little hard to really empathize with her early on. On the other hand, Jens is absolutely lovably from the moment he enters Lucy’s life. He’s the courageous, hunky hero, with just the right touch of gentleness that makes him the guy most young women dream about. This combo is great for allowing the reader to connect with Jens, but it contrasts sharply to Lucy and hinders an equal connection with her. Fortunately, as the story progresses, Lucy’s character mellows and she becomes much more likable.

Not surprising for a YA novel, Mary does not go into lengthy descriptions of the world of Undraland. However, what is provided is more than adequate for the reader to get a good idea of this new world. The creatures are not hard to visualize and the landscape is beautiful. While I do enjoy an immersive environment, I think this book strikes a nice balance between detail and pacing.

Truly the best part of Undraland is the story. I love the Scandinavian backdrop, which is completely new for me.

Truly the best part of Undraland is the story. I love the Scandinavian backdrop, which is completely new for me. The lore is intriguing and I look forward to finding out more about Undraland’s history. There is an obvious Lord of the Ring feel with the epic journey that brings together different mythical races, but as a fan of LOTR, I certainly don’t mind that. The romance between Jens and Lucy works very well and the pacing of it is in keeping with what is reasonable for their background and the situation they are in. The supporting character’s backstories are equally interesting and bring an added depth to the overarching storyline. While on the surface, this is a simple story the different layers and diverse characters make this a more complex plot than one would expect.

Really my only true complaint about Undraland is the level of immaturity with the characters. I get that these are young adults and I shouldn’t expect them to act 100% mature. However, as an older adult, the immaturity is at times grating and feels a little overdone. This book is written from Lucy’s perspective and multiple times she recognizes her childish behavior. At times the immature interactions amongst the characters broke my connection with the story and the stark contrast in how they should have behaved versus their behavior felt unrealistic.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Undraland. This is a fun story that easily held my interest throughout. The ending is anything but satisfying and I’m happy to have the next book, Nøkken, in hand so that I can start it immediately!

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