[ARC Review] Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Friday, May 16, 2014

Title: Deep Blue
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Series #1
Genre: MG Fantasy, Mermaids
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: May 6th 2014
Publisher: Disney Press
Source: ARC received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

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.

I want to start this post by saying that Jennifer Donnelly has been my literary idol since I read A Northern Light when I was like 13. She is the reason that I got into reading YA, and her books continue to surprise me and encourage me to open my mind to the past and what stories can be told. Jennifer is a master of historical fiction, she can weave these stories with such grace and elegance that when I saw that she was venturing out into a new genre, fantasy, I knew that she would bring the same level of writing, and I was super excited to read it.

Deep Blue is not really in the genre that I usually read in, so I found the world to be a bit shocking to me at first. Yesterday I had the pleasure of actually meeting with Jennifer at my local bookstore for a signing and she explained where this story came from and who the characters really were and where their inspiration came from. I really wish that I had heard her speak about the book and its characters before I read the book because I found that her explanation helped me tremendously with the characters and differentiating between them. I think that was the hardest part for me was the amount of character and figuring out who they were and what their purpose was in the end.

What I think I loved the most about this book was the world itself. It was so complex that I found myself stopping at times just trying to picture everything that was being described. It seemed so extraordinary yet there were elements that were rooted in out world that I thought just cemented how amazing it actually was. I really wish hat there had been illustrations within the book because from what I saw from Jennifer's presentation yesterday, Disney had some amazing images connected to this book and I think adding them would have just elevated the beauty of this book.

What I wish was added to this book was more character growth and more of a connection between me and these characters. At times I felt disconnected to the characters because of everything that was going on around them. The story took up most of the story, as it should have because it was setting up for more books, but I just wish that I had connected more with each character, especially Seraphina, because I feel like she was such a great character and I wish I got to know her a bit more.

Overall this book was a great read. I do think that this book was a setup book in order to start a now and exciting series. I think the world building itself is reason enough to read this book, the descriptions were complex yet written with such beauty that you cannot help yourself but stop and picture everything within the book. Jennifer Donnelly is an amazing writer and this book showcases that from beginning to end. I really hope that the world building continues in the next book coming next year!

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