Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled-powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.
Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.
Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.
As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'll admit, while I was eagerly anticipating Rogue Wave, I didn't expect too much out of it. I was still leery about mermaid books and all, but boy, was I wrong. I'm going on the record here and saying I actually like a series about mermaids and I'm about to tell you why. The protagonists rarely interact with humans; they do not want to be human. The mer world is rich and well-developed, and in book two of the Waterfire Saga series, readers are still learning loads about it. Jennifer Donnelly introduces Neela's POV, which lets readers see the Matali empire. It's not overly described, but I still got a good feel for it. My one criticism is that Neela and Sera's inner thoughts sounded a bit too similar; it helped that all chapters were in third person but I still would've liked some individuality.
I loved watching Sera grow as a character (despite some reckless decisions that I feel benefited no one). I enjoyed getting to know Neela more, and I hope the future books in the series will explore the other girls, too. In Rogue Wave there were some chapters where Ling was present, but I want to get to know Ava and Becca, too, and particularly Astrid (especially after the events of Rogue Wave revealed...certain things - no spoilers!). There are a heck ton of secondary characters, and I had trouble keeping most of them straight but that's ok. The ones that are important appear in more than one scene and they served their purposes. The same unfamiliar vocabulary appears and I'm still not used to all of it. Thank goodness for the glossary at the back. Reviewing them before and after reading the book helped a lot.
I was worried about the whole "journey" and searching for the talismans because books where most of the time is spent traveling (apart from road trip books) are not my thing. Thankfully, Rogue Wave didn't end up being one of those. Many of the actual traveling details were skipped for more important parts of the plot. Donnelly certainly knows how to not write a boring book. I was kept on my toes throughout the whole story and I loved each plot twist. Those two at the end had me going, "Oh.My.Word." and "Well that's not good," and wanting to throw the book across the room because I don't have the third one yet (obviously; though I wish I did).
Oh, yeah, and you know how Deep Blue had minimal romance? Things pick up more in Rogue Wave between a couple of characters (I'm not spoiling who). The romance was nice, though. I'm still having trouble believing that they have chemistry and the guy likes the girl, but they're both strong characters on their own so I hope to see their relationship further develop in the future books.
The Verdict: Rogue Wave officially cemented my love for the Waterfire Saga series. I can't say I'll like any other mermaid series, but this one has definitely earned its place on my shelf.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Absolutely!