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My love of reading began in 5th grade, when I was required to check a book out from the school library. I chose The White Panther, by Theodore Waldeck. The story, about an orphaned albino panther, pulled me into a wonderful new world. From that point on I was hooked, and reading has been one of the great pleasures of my life.
The sense of wonder I felt from reading The White Panther still intrigues me today. When I decided to write my own novel, my goal was to capture that same feeling of immersion and adventure.
I live in Wisconsin with my wife, daughter and my wife's cat. I've been known to write songs, root for the Packers, and eat copious quantities of peanut butter.
on Jan. 22, 2013 :
It starts normally enough. Six teen-agers and their guide, Harvin, are on a grand adventure, camping in the wilds of Canada. Harvin is gruff and unfriendly but very knowledgeable about the Rockies and its dangers. The kids are from all walks of life and couldn’t be more different. This trip is going to be interesting.
While collecting water Danny and Breyona see something amazing. Racing along is this two-headed creature with four pointy legs and right behind him is this huge hairy beast best described as a Bigfoot. When Danny tells the group what they witnessed, the other kids laugh it off as a joke.
When they discover giant footprints on the bank of the stream, their guide passes them off as bear tracks. But Shiv isn’t so sure of that. He has books on the flora and fauna of the Rockies and can’t find anything that matches the prints.
Danny and Breyona have another close encounter with the hairy bigfoot when it fishes Danny out of the stream, saving his life. They run away and hide in the woods, stopping to spy on the creature. It’s not chasing them. Instead it’s pacing back and forth on the bank, holding it’s hand to its head and muttering to itself. No wait, it’s talking into a cell phone and it’s speaking English.
It’s not long before everyone has a close encounter. The four-legged creatures, called Shriekers, which I visualize as the bugs from Starship Troopers, are hungry and they hunt as a pack. The kids are on the menu and running for their lives. Separated from their guide they are quickly surrounded and things look really bad. Seemingly from out of nowhere a bigfoot appears and quickly subdues several of the shriekers. He doesn’t kill them. Instead he calms them somehow.
Several more of the hairy creatures take care of the rest of the pack and turn their attention to the humans. Then, the one Danny recognizes from before speaks, “Be at ease. I cannot harm you.”
Definitely not a bigfoot!
Here are a couple quotes I really liked:
“I’m sorry I didn’t believe you about … bigfoot,” Wa said. “But you need to work on your delivery.”
- A barrage of swearing came flying in. Breyona. “I’m gonna kill you, and after I kill you, I’m gonna kill you again. I’m gonna keep on killing you until your dead. Do you hear me, you furball?”
Everyone will love this story. It’s action packed, you’ve got alien creatures and a huge secret. I wish I could tell you more. I really want to, but that would be spoiling it.
One scene in particular sticks in my mind. It ‘s when they base jump from a cliff and the cliff is inside the mountain. Can you just picture it?
The author does a beautiful job of describing this secret world, you’ll feel like you’re there. I’d love to visit.
Anyone looking for a grand adventure will love Undermountain. It’s so well written, flows seamlessly and rushes along to a great ending. There’s never a dull moment and I eagerly turned each page, excited to see what was coming next. That’s what makes this story so great. There’s always something new and surprising and it makes me wish I could be there.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Dec. 14, 2012 :
Okay, at first I was like, Bigfoot? Really? Can that be any way interesting in a story? Well, in fact, it kinda was. I liked the plot, I liked the characters, I liked the descriptions, and I liked the writing. I think the premise is unique and different. There's some humor in there (I love how Wa gets his nickname), there's a bit of romance (but just a tinge...perfectly acceptable for younger, male readers...seriously, not enough to gross them out), and there's a lot of growing up for these kids. I wanted to kick the bad apples in the butt, they were so irritating; and yes, that's a good thing. And best yet...the writing is solid.
The only real gripe I have is that one character is extremely intelligent. Good, good, I can take a smart kid. But this character's intelligence was portrayed through his speech...a lot of times relying on not using contractions. Geniuses use contractions when they speak. I would prefer a brainiac's dialogue supported by the substance of *what* is being said rather than *how* it's being said. It makes the character sound like he's trying to be smart, instead of portraying him as smart. And yes, this character did use contractions sometimes, but really, that's not how kids speak...even the brilliant ones. This character just didn't sound natural to me.
Other than that one very small thing, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on June 16, 2012 :
The action started from the get go and it never stopped.
It has been so long since I enjoyed a YA novel this much and didn't end up wanting to hit every character over the head-well, maybe Shiv, at times!
My favorite character was Grizz for obvious reasons. TogYip were cute too.
The transformation that each teenager goes through by the end of their journey (as Harvin was kind to observe for us) made the story even better.
The romance or sprinklings of it was just the right amount.
There were a few spelling mistakes which I noticed though.
The descriptions of the city of Bigfeet were sufficient without being boring.
I loved every bit of it!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 14, 2012 :
Interesting ya story - an original plot idea compared to other ya books i've read.
Well written, with good action sequences and detailed description - the short, punchy chapters work well to draw you into the story and clearly show the reader whose point of view you're in.
My favourite part was they early chapters where the group is together in the wilderness - you can't beat banter and hormones!
FYI it might make you think twice about that holiday to Canada but don't worry - stick to the cities on the surface they're lots of fun :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)