Saturday, July 5, 2014

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1), Jennifer Donnelly

waterfire saga deep blue
Title: Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) Author: Jennifer Donnelly (author website) Release Date: May 2014 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy My Rating:1 star2 star3 starhalf star

From Goodreads: Waterfire Saga is an epic new series set in the depths of the ocean where six mermaids seek to save their world.Written by Carnegie Medal winning author of A Gathering Light, Jennifer Donnelly.When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be about reuniting with handsome Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead she finds herself haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil, and dealing with the deaths of her parents as assassins storm the betrothal ceremony, plunging the city into chaos.Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend Neela embark on a quest to avenge her parents' death and prevent a war between the mer nations. In the process they discover a plot that threatens their - and our - world's very existence.

Mermaids: Vampires of the sea. Half human, half fish--possibly a drunken sailor's misdiagnosis of a beluga whale--they come in many variations, from the creepy, kill-happy sirens of myth, to the all-singing, all-dancing, Disney-princess variety we grew up with. With more puns than you could throw a harpoon at, the mermaids of Jennifer Donnelly's grandly named Waterfire Saga fall nearer the Disney end of the scale, and are every inch as entertaining as their animated sisters. The firstborn daughter of an uninterrupted line of firstborn daughters, stretching back to the fall of Atlantis, Principessa Seraphina was born to rule. But Sera is crippled by self-doubt, and she'd rather be off riding her hippocampus, or swimming out the palace windows and eating sweets with her glow-in-the-dark (bioluminescent) best friend, Neela. But on the day of her betrothal to childhood sweetheart, what 'she'd rather' bears little import--as her kingdom is attacked, and hundreds killed. Pursued by an enemy army, and haunted by prophetic dreams, Sera and Neela set off in search of a group of mythological witches, and a way to save their world from absolute destruction. Character development plays second fiddle to sheer, seat-of-your-pants action in Deep Blue. Though stakes never seem too high, as someone is always waiting to put themselves on the line to save Sera, the book is bursting with adventure, and its world struck me as surprisingly well-developed and vivid, given the book's slightly fluffy beginning chapters. With a high-stakes fantasy quest, and sugar-sweet teen mermaid drama, I found myself describing the book to a friend as 'The Little Mermaid meets Lord of the Rings.' Sera is a competent heroine. She has has her fair share of self-doubt, but is sweet, selfless, brave, and pretty--yet she's what a paddle pool is to the deep blue sea. Deep Blue offers its fair share of compelling characters, though many are killed, or left for dead as quickly as they're introduced--and the next adventure commences before we're offered any chance to grieve, which stops the book from every feeling too dark, or too heavy--despite the end of the world being on the line. While I giggled at puns, and gritted my teeth frequently at Sera's self-doubt, not to mention a predictable plot twist, Deep Blue is nothing if not compelling. I devoured the story and, for all its flaws, enjoyed it immensely. But I'm brought to the one and only problem I truly had with this book: it is not, by any stretch intended to be read as a single book. Deep Blue has no climax; no end. It is very much a beginning chapter in this 'Waterfire Saga.' And, in a way, I want to be annoyed--but I'm not. What I am, is desperate for the next book.
An enormous thank you to Hachette for providing a review copy of Deep Blue!

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