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Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Deep Blue

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Release date: 1st May 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: YA
Publisher: Hodder
Series: Waterfire Saga Book 1

Deep Blue is a mermaid adventure where a long forgotten evil begins to stir and a band of young woman must fulfil their destiny.

Seraphina is the heir to the throne of Miromara. At the beginning of the novel she is preparing for the ceremony which will declare her true of blood. And she will also be bethrothed to Madhi, heir to the kingdom of Matalis. As the ceremony approaches, Seraphina doubts her ability to live up to her mother’s expectations. But there are even greater trials ahead.

There were some things that I really enjoyed about this book. The dilemma of the duty one is born to fulfil and challenge of being a just leader were both interestingly explored. The love story between Seraphina and Madhi and the mystery of his strange change in character definitely captured my heart. And there were some elements of this book that reminded me of a Shakespeare play – Twelfth Night perhaps – the disguises, the secret longing, some of the character names, the courtly world of Miromara. These were all the things that I really enjoyed. Sometimes I found myself completely absorbed by the story.

But it was like I was reading two different books. Sometimes the dialogue of the mermaids was so contemporary and it seemed at odds with this magical watery setting. It just didn’t quite fit. The plot had several difficulties. Seraphina was never really leading the action. Events unfurled and she was subjected to action but never really took control which made the story less exciting.

There were also a few typos and that is a real shame in this book because it really looks like a work of art. The blue font is very attractive and so are the chapter headings and maps. I think this book wasn’t sure what it wanted to be. The plot seemed more of a middle grade read. The romance had the potential to make it fit the YA market and the complexity of the world building suggests it fits there too.

Overall, if I’m honest, I was a little disappointed in Deep Blue. I wanted to be swept away on a current into the realm of the mer and I think what I actually got was stuck like a beached whale on the shore. This was just not for me, you may find it reads swimmingly. Also if you love mermaid stories, then you definitely have to give it a go!

Source: Bought from WHSmith.

1 comment:

Dazzling Mage said...

I've read Donnelly's books before, some I really enjoyed and some I didn't. I haven't read this one, but I knew there was a 50/50 chance that I might not like it, and your review confirmed that for me.

I really can't stand it when protagonists are sidelined in the action-- what's the point!

Anyway, thank you for the honest review!