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.
Title: Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publication Date: May 6,2014
RATING: 2.5/5 STARS
The Cover Contessa's Review:
I want to thank Disney Hyperion and Net Galley for providing me with an early copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my review.
I have really been into mermaid books lately. So when I first saw the cover of this book I totally fell in love. Not only are the colors absolutely gorgeous, but the picture is so amazing. I love the depiction of the city burning in the background. The desperation of the mermaid swimming at the front of the picture. So just by looking at the cover I had high expectations. Then I read the blurb and I was really interested. The premise sounded so great.
Serafina is a mermaid, a royal mermaid, set to take the throne when it's her time. She wants so much to be a teenager yet she knows why consequences of such things in the eyes of the people she will soon serve. I like Sera a lot. She's smart and funny at times. I can honestly say she did grow well during this book, but I needed to see more of her. I didn't have enough background to totally understand who she is, how she grew up, and so on. I honestly couldn't connect well with her. There just wasn't enough of her to help me understand who she was a person.
Neela I did love. I really enjoyed her personality. She was sassy and fun. But, again, I have no idea how she and Sera became friends and why they were best friends when they rarely saw each other.
As for the other characters, I can say the same as above. I have no connection with any of them and can't even picture them in my mind. Probably my favorite character was Astrid, and we only get to see her for a very brief time. She's sassy and strong minded and I love that in a female YA character. But, again, like the others, there wasn't much development to her.
The thing that bothered me the most about this book was the lack of development in the characters. Yes, they grow, and they become a bit stronger, but I didn't feel anything for them. I was also totally annoyed about the introduction of two love interests for the main character with no follow through at all. We got a glimpse and then the story was taken far away and never came back to it. It's not that I need romance in a book, I can do without it, but don't introduce it just to rip it away and make as if it is not important to the story. Sera spends a lot of time at the beginning got the book pining over her betrothed, but we never see their relationship other than a quick meeting that they have after two years of being apart. Add to that the total cliffhanger at the end and I was utterly annoyed. I kept tapping my Kindle thinking I was wrong about it being the last page. But there were no more chapters. I wanted to toss the Kindle across the room! There were just so many plot holes, so many things left open, I really had a hard time with that. Add to this the fact that the story starts out very Little Mermaid, and then shoots in a totally different direction.
There is a very large amount of world building in the book. You get much of the backstory and history about the mer world. I liked this a lot. It really set the tone for the book and the alliances and politics between the different factions of mermaids. We also get a good background of the lost city of Atlantis, which I enjoyed. The entire book takes place in the mer world, which was a nice change from the mermaid books I have been reading that also take place on land.
The writing is good. It's third person from Sera and Neela's points of views. But there's no pattern or consistency as to who is narrating the chapters. I didn't understand the need to have Neela's POV. It didn't really add anything to the story and I think the whole thing would have been better if it had been narrated by Sera in first person. Just my opinion though. I know I might have connected better with the character had this been the case. Also, the way it's narrated gave me the feeling it was more of a historical read, but the language the mermaids used was not historical at all. It kind of made a rift for me in the story line.
The pacing was good in this story. Definitely fast and flowed well. But there is too much crammed into the story. The book really could have been quite a bit longer. The whole time I was thinking of when Sera would be found again by her enemy. It was getting annoying. And if your expecting any kind of wrap up in the story arc, you will be sorely mistaken because it's just not there. The book just stops and there is no resolution at all from any of the events introduced throughout the book.
All in all, I didn't really love this book. As a matter of fact, I was more disappointed than anything else. I really had high hopes for this one.. If you're a fan of mermaid books, I'm not sure you'll really love this one. If you like tons of world building, but not much character development, go ahead and give it a try.
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of five novels - Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Roseand The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.
Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times.
Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal.
Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.
Jennifer lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and three rescue dogs.