The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.
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.
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 320 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Expected Publication Date: May 6th 2014 by Disney Press
I've been a big fan of Jennifer Donnelly ever since I read her YA Historical novel A Northern Light back in 2010 so I jumped at the opportunity to give Deep Blue the first book in her YA fantasy series a try when I got the review request.
I received the book last week and I finished it the day I got it. It was that good, I found myself being swept away in her story telling and the underwater world of the merfolk. Mermaid novels can be a bit hit or miss with me (mostly miss) I' was so glad that I found myself enjoying this one because I've loved mermaids since The Little Mermaid.
Right away when I started reading I knew I was in for the long haul. I really liked Serafina's character. I felt bad for her because she was suffering from the jitters as she had to jump through some royal hoops to be named heir to her mother's thrown as well as feeling like she wasn't important to her mother, the queen of Merrow. I thought she was a hoot and I liked seeing her go from a very unsure princess to an unsure princess who is willing to step up and be the leader her people desperately need after an attack on her city and I enjoyed the fact that she didn't suffer from SPS (Spoiled Princess Syndrome).
Neela, besides Serafina is the other character that we get to know the most. She's the cousin of Serafina's betrothed as well as being Serafina's best friend. Where Serafina is serious, Neela is the one who brings laughter and lightness to the circumstances the girls find them in. I liked her a lot and thought she was a hoot, she hides behind her humour though to help her deal with the prophecy but I like that she is so supportive of her friends.
Serafina, and Neela may have been the characters that Deep Blue really focused on but I thought the whole cast was rather good. I especially loved the other mermaids that were introduced in the latter half of the novel like the "witches" for lack of a better term that act as the mystical spiritual keepers for the merfolk who really set the whole story in motion with the prophecy which is what the main plot line is about.
What surprised me about the book though was that romance was not a big part of the story. I've become so used to romance being the driving force in so many YA novels no matter the subgenre that I felt as though Deep Blue was a breath of fresh air in the sense that it focused more on the prophecy, and the girls coming into their own as young merfolk and the adventure it takes them on which I loved. The idea of the merfolk living hidden from humanity was great and I enjoyed learning about the songspells that keep our worlds separate and I'm very curious about the enemies that are trying to destroy Serafina's world.I also liked that Jennifer Donnelly wove the myth of Atlantis into the origin story for the merfolk. As a lover of all things Atlantis, I thought that was a nice tough and I'm curious to see how that is going to play out in the series as a whole.
I only have one complaint about the novel and that is that the dialogue was a little confusing at times. There were often references to things in the mermaid world that I wish had had some explanations and sometimes I felt the writing was a little to simplistic in terms of the dialogue in the beginning but as the book went on things started to meld better.
Overall, I thought Deep Blue was a good start to a brand new series. It was a fun and captivating read that I couldn't put down and I cannot wait until the second book comes out since I'm anxious to see what the fates have in store for the girls. I would recommend Deep Blue to all fans who love mermaids, YA fantasy and don't mind a book that I think would be geared more towards a younger YA audience 13-16 years of age. Jennifer Donnelly puts a new and inventive spin on mermaids in fiction that I think is a wonderful.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
Really Enjoyed It!
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Giveaway (US Only)
Two (2) winners each receive: custom Deep Blue nail polish set and copy of the book