Monday, May 12, 2014

Deep Blue ~ Jennifer Donnelly (earc) review [@DisneyHyperion @JenWritesBooks]

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)
Disney Press
May 6, 2014
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

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.

Deep Blue is the introduction to Jennifer Donnelly's four book Waterfire Saga .As the first book in the series, Deep Blue has a lot of introduction and world-building to do. The world-building is done very well. From where the mermaids - and mermen - live and sleep to what they eat, we get a quick (and growing) picture of their everyday life. With our main character, Serafina, being Princess and her mother queen, we're also given a look into the societal structure and workings.

How the different mer-societies coexist and what their relationships are like, is essential to the story. It provides background and establishes history, as well as any tension that may be present for the characters.

It was this same world-building that made the beginning a bit confusing for me, though. While the different names, descriptions, etc needed to be given, at times it was hard to follow and sort out. A lot of names seemed to begin with the same letters and names were not typical. As the story progressed this was both enjoyable and fit the world of Deep Blue very well. At first, however, with multiple names, places, people mentioned in quickly and close together, it was harder to keep straight.

Once the main introductions happened and we were in Serafin'a world, I really began to enjoy the tale. From her dreams, to the traumatic event she experiences, to her struggle with herself, both who Serafina was and what she experienced were great. And worked fantastically together.

As more characters were introduced, we got an even better, fuller picture of the world existing under the water. There is, clearly, a lot of thought put into the mer-world and how everything and everyone interacts.

I love the concept that came together towards the novels end. Its unique and holds great promise. I can't wait to see how it all plays out over the coming books in the Saga. We get the most insight into Serafina's character and I'm hoping for not only more of that as I really like her character more and more as we - and she - delve deeper into things; I'm also looking forward to learning more of the other characters we've met. (And seeing if I am, in fact, right about something in regards to one particular character!)

Deep Blue gets stronger as it goes, as readers progress into the story and its unfolding plot. It may change in latter books but Deep Blue seems to skew more towards Middle Grade than YA (or towards younger YA). It's still enjoyable but lacks a certain maturity.

Rating: 7/10

Another series you may also enjoy: Medusa Girls by Tera Lynn Childs (my review of Sweet Venom)

thank you to publisher and NetGalley for my egalley to review

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