DEEP BLUE by Jennifer Donnelly

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Waterfire Saga, Book One

Serafina has been preparing for ages for her betrothal ceremony. The ceremony consists of three parts: the first will test her as a true descendant of Merrow’s bloodline; the second is the songspell she must sing to perfection; the third will bind her to her husband-to-be as well as the kingdom of Miromara. Unfortunately, what should be one of the happiest days of her life soon turns tragic as the kingdom is overcome by invaders. Sera’s mother is shot and Sera is forced to run with only her friend Neela by her side. The young mermaid is left with the uncertainty of her mother’s fate – and whether she has now become Regina of Miromara in her place.

With assassins on their tails, the two girls soon come to a shocking realization: the invasion of Miromara is linked to a dream that has been plaguing them both. In the dream, the girls witnessed the Iele (sea witches they thought were only children’s stories) singing of six mermaids tasked with saving the oceans from a creature known as Abbadon. And Sera and Neela aren’t the only ones aware of the Iele’s prophecy. The mer trying to capture them has heard the legend as well and he has no desire at all in seeing Abbadon defeated.

On the one hand Deep Blue is an excellent example of world building. The reader is literally immersed in the undersea setting from the very start. The history and mythology of the world are fascinating and the imagery is vibrant.

On the other hand this teen title reads much younger than I’d expected. Serafina and her peers all come across more flighty and immature than I’d thought they would based on their character set up. They’re all supposed to be about sixteen (or older in some cases) so some of that’s to be expected, especially allowing for the expected coming-of-age bit of character development, but it left me with the overall sense that the best audience for the book is on the early end of the teen spectrum.

6/14 Becky Lejeune
DEEP BLUE by Jennifer Donnelly. Disney-Hyperion (May 6, 2014). ISBN 978-1423133162. 352p.

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