May 10, 2014
Review: Deep Blue
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Release date: May 6, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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 Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: In general, I quite liked this book. It was slow to start, with too much description and exposition, and overall the invented slang grated at my nerves. There wasn't enough resolution in Deep Blue, and if it's a series, I need some resolution at the end of each book. But I was enchanted by the underwater setting, particularly the idea of the many realms and the vitrina (which are human ghosts that live in the merpeople's mirrors). There were so many characters that I often felt lost, but I really enjoyed Serafina, Neela, and the other heroines. They're diverse - both in appearance and personality. They're all strong, yet flawed. And, guys, there's a legit cat lady, and the way she's manifested in this setting is HILARIOUS. The book was very light on romance, which was a pleasant surprise. I like a focus on friendship, particularly since Serafina's world seems to be ruled by strong women. Language is fairly clean, and violence isn't too terrible. There are references to several things that could be the merpeople's versions of alcohol and drugs.
The Verdict: Overall, this was a good read. It had its problems, but I think they'll likely be resolved as the series goes on.