Well, I've never read a mermaid book that I truly enjoyed, and it's one of my never-ending quests as a reader. SOMEDAY I will find a good mermaid book *Aragorn voice* but it was not this day. This day is the day of cheesy dialogue, forces and clunky mer-culture, and convenient coincidences. Sooo... onward!
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 6th, 2014
Synopsis:What Didn't Work For Me:
Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.
The dialogue. For an ancient, mystical, regal race, I'd imagine a slightly more formal tone for these mer-people. But I'd say that 90% of the time it devolved into overly teeny-teen cliches that really set my teeth on edge. "Oh my GOSH" and "this is so... [insert whatever here]".
The world build. One on hand, it was really interesting, and I think if it had done well I'd really enjoy the different cultures and terms from all the mer-races! I've got to give points for diversity as well, since Sera's best friend is from Indian waters, and another they meet is from Chinese waters. Though that's also a negative, since it seems at some points that it was a bit like "oh I've got one of each" instead of natural diversity.
Sera's attitude. Girlfriend, it's time to buck up. And also, can we please have a mermaid princess that ACTUALLY wants to be a princess? The whole "I don't want to be queen I just want to be free and ignore you my horrible parents" shtick is killing me. Calm down, Ariel.
Speaking of absent parents.The trope of YA reigns. They were so conveniently pushed aside that I just had to roll my eyes.
The convenience of it all. Things fell into place way too easily. There was no struggle or fight for the information the girls needed--it was pretty much handed to them. And then once they're together they magical have special powers? WWHHHYYY?!
What Worked For Me:
I will admit that the plot is intriguing, and it was probably the reason I didn't rage against the book. Because despite my gripes above, I really did like the plot! I think it has a great base with the whole "the six must come together to save the oceans" thing. I do like those sorts of plots, but it was overshadowed by the rest of it all.
No romance! Well, kind of. But not really. Sera is betrothed to someone, but that someone is present for about one chapter before it all hits the fan, and she has to focus on the prophecy thing. So I do see some potential for awesome girl power moments!
While this wasn't the mermaid book I was looking for, I think it's probably one of the better ones that I've read. I mean, I was actually able to get through it without rolling my eyes too hard or DNFing like I have in the past. Thanks goes again to Amanda for giving me a chance to read it!
I gave this book 2.5 stars on my Goodreads.
About the Reviewer:
Kayla is the resident blogger of The Thousand Lives, and she spends most of her time trying to find more time to read copious amounts of contemporary and fantasy novels. She's a Marvel and Disney addict, who generally uses the movies as background noise while she write her blog posts because she just can't get enough of them. When she can pull herself out of her favorite fictional worlds, she pretends to be an adult who teaches high school literature. Most of the time, the adult part is a fail, since using Marvel references is the best way to explain key literary devices. But who said life couldn't be exciting and a little bit nerdy?
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