16-year-old Ocean Daley needs to get away from school, his seaside town and wasting his summer working for his mother’s irritating boyfriend. When his mysterious Uncle Frank offers him a place at a summer school for a select group of gifted teens, he jumps at it.
But the school isn’t like any other, with classes in hacking, bike racing, psychological tricks and combat. Orca, the secretive organisation behind the school, needs fresh recruits…but for what? Ocean’s father co-founded Orca, and joining the organization feels like a way to honour his memory, as well as strengthen bonds with his strange uncle.
Orca demands each teenager push themselves beyond the possible and in return each student gets an impressive salary, international travel and exhilarating field missions — a double life. There is one catch. Joining Orca is a life-binding commitment to support their ‘noble’ cause. For Ocean, it’s the challenge in life he’s been looking for.
Others might call it a trap.
*Thank you to the publisher, Thistle Publishing, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Orca Rising is a YA novel that follows the 16-year-old Ocean Daley who’s been recruited by his estranged uncle to be one of the participants in a mysterious summer school for selected individuals. But it isn’t any other summer school. Not only did the students have to undergo extensive physical and combat training, they also have to study hacking and psychological tricks in just a few weeks. And if that’s not intriguing enough, each of them will be paid, as well. Ocean is beyond excited. However, pressure takes over when they were informed that they need to pass all the test else be eliminated. On top of that, there are thing’s that bothers him about Orca, his uncle, and his father’s mysterious death. Uncle Frank doesn’t want to tell him the truth until he officially becomes a part of Orca. But Orca is not what they claim to be and Ocean is about to find out what they are hiding in a most dangerous way.
I wasn’t really expecting anything when I started this and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There’s a decent plot that is well executed and then there’s also that great and diverse set of characters. Ocean is an impressive lead character, flaws and all, and I would love to know more about him. He is also well-developed. Even the side characters are quite interesting, though because the novel was quite short, we weren’t given enough time to get to know them. Which is a bit disappointing because those characters could easily be maximized and add something good to the story. The pacing is fast and there are enough action and suspense to keep you glued despite the less than 200 pages. The twist is solid and definitely came off as unexpected. The ending is good and gives hope for a possible second book. It could easily be a series. I just wish it’s a bit longer, though. More information about this secret organization and its history and even more with the characters. Nevertheless, it was definitely a fun and entertaining read. And if you’re into this kind of book, you should give this one a go.