I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I'm not ashamed to admit my instinct for wanting to read this book was because of the gorgeous cover. When I first saw it, I *knew* I had to read it. Not because it was mermaids, or underwater, or there is underwater cities on fire (seriously though, that part IS intriguing), but because of the gorgeous colors and the effortless look of her dress. I swear, I'm forever picking out books without reading synopsis.
When I got the chance to read and review the book, it was hard not to pick it up right away. However, once I did, I put it down a couple of times. Why? Well, it wasn't because it was bad, but due to information overload. I swear, I needed a separate dictionary just to understand what half of the book meant. I understand that it is creating a whole new world, but half the time I didn't know if it was something I could look up for context or if it was made up by the author. And that was very, very distracting, not to mention that I missed half of what was going on.
But once I got into the book, I really enjoyed it. I actually read most of it by (and in) the pool. It just felt right to read a mermaid book in the water (I did the same with Of Triton last summer!) and put me in the right context for the story.
The one thing I will say is this book is slated in the children's section rather than YA and I think that says a bit about the story. At first I kept thinking, "Ugh, this is a bit immature", but when I got in the mindset of whether a tween or younger YA reader, it really helped. I stopped reading it as an adult and tried to read from their perspective. And that completely shifted the experience of reading Deep Blue, because I had my bearings. After those two hiccups I could just enjoy the book, because it really was a captivating story.
There is little romance in this book. Like at all. There is one small backstory memory of our main character and the boy she loved, but it is such a small part of the story, it really isn't enough to even add romance to the subcategories this book falls into. There was a hint of flirting at one point, but honestly, that was never the focus. It was all on finding safety from the bad guys and getting to the place where the girls come together to fight against the destruction of their world.
The language is, like I said dense. There's some easy things to pick up (like merlfriend = girlfriend and currensea = currency), but there is a lot you have to guess at. I think the next book will be much easier to read, just for the fact that Donnelly does such a good job positioning us into this world.
There was a lot of action in this book; things are constantly happening to our main character and her friends. Sometimes it seemed like we were just floating along until the next big thing, but even in the lull moments, I wasn't bored. I wanted to know what was going to come next. I stayed engaged. It was difficult to predict a lot of what was going to happen, and that may have been due to the way the story was structured and that this world is so big and the story has only just begun. I also loved the backstory; the way that this world was created (and how mermaids came to be), the way their kingdom was created -- it was all unique and wholly fascinating. There is this really awesome thing they do with mirrors, which honestly, was probably my favorite part of the book, because of how interesting and unique it was. I really loved that the mermaid world wasn't primitive -- it was set much like our world, just underwater.
Overall, this was a charming book. A lot of things were unanswered and unfinished for the next book, but they were left open at different points in the story, rather than all at the end. We never find out what happens to her family, her friends family, or some other characters along the way. I have my suspicions and I was sad that I don't get to find out if I am right or not until the next book. However, I liked that we had a nice spacing of these cliffhangers, it didn't make the end seem so abrupt. Speaking of the end, the last sentence was just killer.
If you have a tween or younger ya reader and you're looking for something magical they can get swept away in, I definitely recommend Deep Blue. It has some gorgeous visuals, interesting lore, and a great storyline.
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Very enchanting! A wonderful start to what I think will be a great series. It is definitely (at this point) written for tweens/younger YA, but when I kept that thought in mind, I enjoyed it much more. I already can't wait to see what happens next.
Full review to come!