Electrifying and intense, The Undercurrent by Paula Weston is a prophetic glimpse into a near-future that seems more and more possible everyday. It’s a futuristic thriller written by an up-and-coming Aussie author, an essential inclusion to every dystopian fan’s TBR list.
The Undercurrent is set in a 1984-style world where corporations rule, and eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi draws us into a world full of lies, deceit, and action-packed drama.
Julianne has an electrical undercurrent surging fiercely beneath her skin. She doesn’t know how it got there or how to control it, which makes her dangerous. So dangerous that a private military unit has her tailed by Ryan Walsh, hot ex-footy star, who innocuously inserts himself into her life.
But when an explosion leaves them trapped in an elevator together, Julianne and Ryan are drawn into a race against corporations, the military, and the clock.
Amid this chaos, Julianne is trying to find out how the current got under her skin in the first place. Was it a lab experiment or something even more sinister? After the explosion in the elevator, Julianne and Ryan must team up with his military unit and Julianne’s mother Angie, an investigative journalist, but then there’s the question of whether they can trust Ryan’s unit in the first place…
This is not your average dystopian adventure book. Weston has managed to weave in romance and family drama that fits in comfortably with the explosive action that fills the pages of The Undercurrent. It never feels forced, and the characters themselves – beside their young ages – are three-dimensional and interesting. With each page they reveal more of themselves and you are left looking back at your first impressions and wondering how they could have been so wrong.
The Undercurrent is suitable for young adult readers, but the nuanced characters and gripping plot will appeal to anyone with a love for fast-paced books filled with action and drama. It’s like watching a blockbuster action film; you can’t stop, you can’t slow down, you just have to keep reading as Julianne races to understand her powers, her growing feelings for Ryan, and the secrets of her past that start to come to light.
Set in South Australia, The Undercurrent also manages to expose what corporate greed is doing to local farmers, and it serves as a cautionary tale. While fantastical and action-packed, Weston sends out a warning to us all – this dystopia might become reality if we don’t fight for the rights of the small-scale farmers and workers that make up an essential part of the Australian identity.
About the author
Paula Weston is a Brisbane-based author. She has more than twenty years’ experience as a professional writer—first as a print journalist and then as a government communication and media specialist. She co-owns a writing/design consultancy.