Monday, March 30, 2015

Magic, Mermaids, and Politics: REVIEWING Deep Blue

Hello and welcome back to The Real World According To Sam.

This review is for a relatively newer book that my mom and sister picked up for me at the library. 

Deep Blue
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: YA Paranormal
Year of Publication: May 2014

Deep Blue is a book published by Disney Hyperion that follows a mermaid named Serafina. This is the first book in the Waterfire Saga, a four book series. Serafina is the principessa of Miromara, daughter of the regina. Miromara follows a matriarchal system and is one of a few kingdoms under the ocean. Serafina is about to go through a ceremony in which she proves she is the heiress to the throne when things go wrong. She finds herself on a quest to find the Iele, witches who are believed to just be myths, who have summoned her and 5 other mermaids from different areas of the ocean through dreams. 

Let's pause for a moment to discuss this cover. I love it.....a lot. The bluish green shades are gorgeous and I have always been fond of underwater views. The girl on the front is clearly Serafina and is actually depicted just like she is in the book (sometimes the cover image doesn't quite line up with the context of the book). I especially think that the little bit of shimmering light towards the top, as well as the inclusion of bubbles where Sera is swimming are nice touches. The way the material of her dress is shown is also very excellent, capturing the movement and an almost eeriness. At the bottom Miromara is shown on fire, as happens several chapters into the book when things hit the fan (not really a spoiler since the jacket tells you that chaos takes over the realm after an assassination).  This is precisely the kind of book that I'd like to show off on my shelf for everyone to see. 

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this book because I have never heard of it or of the author. I only found it because of my mom and little sister who requested it from the library for me to read. It seems they know exactly what I like and need! I loved this book. How much? Enough to stay up until about 3 in the morning trying to finish the last 100 pages. Enough to be able to say that I basically read it in one day. I read the first two chapters before I went to bed the night before and the next day I plowed through it (in between meals and going to church). I was hooked from the beginning. 

Sera is a really interesting and relatable character. She is royalty, but she is just as insecure as other girls! She doesn't think that she has done a very good job of making her mom proud of her and really just wants to find a way to be alone. Being royal, she is never really left alone and the merpeople are always watching her, be they commoners or other nobles. I'm not really fond of politics, but miraculously, they were here in this book and I did enjoy them. There have been tensions between some of the underwater kingdoms lately and there are certain rules and ways that the royals must follow in order to keep their people happy and protected. The villain is after objects of legend and Sera is on the run for most of the book, along with her best friend Neela. The merls (mermaid word for girls) run into the other girls they were told about as the book progresses. 

This book is mostly a setup for the adventure that is yet to come, but that doesn't mean its slow and boring. Not by a long shot! There is adventure galore in this book and I just didn't want to put it down. There is also a dash of romance at the beginning that hasn't really been too well explored yet, and I'm aching to see what happens as the book progresses. There are a couple of things that I'm still super curious about in regards to a couple of characters, but sadly I have to wait until next year to get any answers. 

I hadn't really realized it before, but I have never actually read a book about mermaids. I've read the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and seen all of Disney's Little Mermaid movies, but never picked up a book about mermaids (surprising for a girl who actually always wanted to be a mermaid). I am very fond of the ocean in my reading and am so shocked I hadn't done this before. That being said, I want more!!! I really wish I could already have the next book......the adventure has only just begun! 

The one thing that I really loved about this book, aside from the characters all being written very well and being individually recognizable, was the style of writing and the voice of the author. The book is written simply when you really look at it, but its absolutely beautiful. There are lots of descriptions of the settings and the general style of the land of merpeople. Shells are useful in different ways and there are different foods and treats. Seagrass, kelp and bubbles all have uses. One of the coolest things is the mermaids abilities to use magic using their voices when they sing. I thought that was so interesting. But the thing that solidifies it all and really makes it enjoyable is the writing itself. It's just gorgeously written and that makes it so vivid in my mind as I'm reading. It was calming and relaxing, with the feel of the ocean interlocked in the words, but also had high tension moments that got me excited and had me bouncing up and down trying to get to the next part. There is a blending of the mermaid and human world, as well as tidbits of Latin and lots of mention and use of Atlantis. Having just completed 2 semesters of Latin for a language requirement, I found the inclusion of Latin very cool. I'm also really interested in Atlantis so that aspect of the story was especially fascinating. There is also a blend of the mer world and the human world which is always a really interesting topic to get into. Everything about this book is just incredible. The settings, the characters, the plot, the concepts, the execution......I can't really ask for more as a reader. Not to mention that gorgeous cover! 

Overall, I had a huge amount of fun and excitement while reading this book. I can't wait for the next one and I really wish I owned this one now. I might have to buy it at some point. I am also considering looking into some of the author's other books, considering that many of them have won awards. It has been a while since I stayed up to finish a book and even longer since I finished a 300 or so (324 pages to be exact) page book in one day. Due to its awesomeness, I have no choice but to give Deep Blue a 5. I highly recommend it and it was the perfect way to get started on my summer reading. I went to SeaWorld last month so this was one that I read just before I left. What a perfect combination that was. 

Thanks for reading this review! Hopefully you'll come back again for the next one here at The Real World According To Sam

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