After the aquatic Rusalka’s initial invasion in Undertow (2015), Alpha-human hybrid Lyric is a wanted terrorist looking for her family.
Sometimes-enemy, sometimes-ally Doyle has revealed that the secret facility experimenting on captive Alphas and their families is in Texas. Lyric evades both a national manhunt (she’s been publically declared the terrorist behind the attack on Coney Island) and roadblocks (designed to stifle the flow of refugee Coasters, those from the East Coast running for safety) with the help of human best friend Bex and Alpha warrior Arcade. Arcade trains Lyric for war, while Bex worries that Lyric’s enjoying violence far too much. Complicating everything is the fact that Arcade is the fiancee of Lyric’s love interest. The girls almost succeed in getting to the facility before the ruthless government contractors running it find them. (Since the operation is too dirty for the military, and corporations are so good at avoiding responsibility for egregious atrocities, torture has been privatized.) The sequence that follows is marked by a variety of betrayals and leads to a plan in which half-Alpha children like Lyric are sent to fight the Rusalka. Some plot elements may fail to hold water under close scrutiny, but frequent action scenes do much to distract readers. The characters’ self-awareness and the importance given to friendships keep the romantic plots out of cliché territory.
Watery fun right up to the cliffhanger for readers willing to go with the flow. (Fantasy. 13 & up)