Infected Undertow is the seventh book in the Infected series and is the last of the books that is being reissued by DSP Publications as part of a new imprint. As with the previous books the story is broken into two parts and is a combination of urban fantasy mixed with mystery and suspense. The seventh book in the Infected series by Andrea Speed, Infected Undertow does not start with a bang or even in a fast paced manner. Instead, the book picks up with Roan in a coma and his lion waking up before him. This means that for the beginning of Infected Undertow, the story is not told from Roan’s perspective but from Holden’s and Dylan’s.
The best way to appreciate any of the Infected books is to read the previous books and continue the journey from there. The stories continue to build upon each other and while there are a number of mysteries in each book that do get solved by the end of the story, there are overall aspects of the world and the characters that have developed over the course of the entire series. Infected Undertow starts as a continuation of the previous book and many of the characters and their relationships are carry overs from the previous books.
While Roan lies in a coma struggling with his human and lion halves, his husband Dylan is by his side thinking and waiting. With Roan out of commission it is up to Holden to solve the murder of one of his old friends and Fiona is investigating a case involving infected fighting in underground death matches. On top of these investigations, Holden is trying to distance himself from his old life and come to terms with his relationship with Scott, a relationship that he did not really want to begin with but that he just can not seem to end. When Roan finally does come out of his coma, he discovers that his shifting has some serious consequences. Now his lion is stronger and he can no longer hide from this or from the fact that he is not your average infected. New cases might give Roan something else to focus on but his strain of the virus is not something he can ever forget.
Andrea Speed’s Infected Undertow is an amazing addition to the series. The readers get a chance to learn more about the virus and Roan while still having more questions. There is a sense of give and take with this particular author and series. While some answers are given, there are always more questions and mysteries. The virus itself continues to evolve with Roan and the author nerve pulls her punches. She has made Roan a sarcastic, snarky, grumpy and yet loyal individual.
The other aspect of the latest novel that adds a deeper layer to the story is the different dynamics of the many relationships. From Roan and Dylan as a married couple, to Roan and Holden as what amounts to coworkers, the relationships that have grown throughout the series, really seem to grow and strengthen in this latest book. There seems to be a better understanding of how each individual reacts and adapts to situations. While the overall basis of the stories is how the virus impacts not only the world around them but each of them on a personal level, there is also a strong emphasis on the detective work and the investigations that Roan handles.
As with the previous books in the series in Infected Undertow, Andrea Speed uses the dark moments and the humorous ones to propel the story with depth and an amazing sense of realism. Although this is an urban fantasy book, there is a lot of reality to the writing that keeps the story fresh and captivating. Speed has truly mastered the art of telling a fantasy story in a way that leaves the reader feeling like the story is entirely possible.
By Kimberley Spinney
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