Monday, 5 May 2014

Book Review (ARC): Deep Blue; Jennifer Donnelly

So here it is, my first read for Netgalley! I was extremely excited to be approved for this particular book, as I'd heard so many good things around the blogosphere from people who had also got hold of advance copies. I was not disappointed. The book is due to be released tomorrow (May 6th, 2014) and I urge everyone to pick up a copy if you can! I'm not entering this one into any challenges so I'll start my review!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Deep Blue
AUTHOR: Jennifer Donnelly
SERIES: Waterfire Saga (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hatchette Children's Books
PAGES: 352
GENRE: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Blurb:
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 fresh-waters 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.

What I Liked:
  • I haven't really read many fiction books that are set in the world of Mermaids, but if ever there were a book to make me want to read more of them then this would be it! Donnelly's writing style was nice, flowed really well and her world-building was impressive to say the least, full of many unique ideas I haven't seen before. Such impressive skill kept me hungry for more. Seriously, I devoured this book like there was no tomorrow, I was hooked! The plot was full of twists and turns and I didn't ever find myself bored or lacking action as I read it. 
  • Donnelly's characterisation was probably the most impressive part of the book. I'll talk about Serafina, who was a really strong and likeable main character in my opinion. I really loved the direction that Donnelly took her in, rather than being a selfish and whiny princess that wanted to escape the marriage and responsibilities that were soon to be placed upon her, she was much more worried that she would fail and disappoint her Mother. In other words, she was more selfless than other characters I've seen in similar positions. It was so refreshing to read! And she only grew as a character, I found myself liking her more and more as the book went on.
  • While on the subject of characters, those surrounding Sera were equally as impressive. Despite an interesting romance sub-plot, it didn't overpower the story in any way. This story, for me, focused a lot more on the power of friendship and it's ability to overcome obstacles, and I felt it did this really well. As we meet the other five mermaid heroines, I felt that Donnelly gave me enough information for me to warm to them, but left plenty of room for development as the series continues. What I'm trying to say here is that Donnelly has a great ability to have many threads in her story and balance them really well.
What I Disliked:
  • The only thing I can really say that unsettled me originally about the book is the huge amount of Mermaid lore that was thrust upon me at the beginning of the book. Mere pages into the book I had been barraged with more unfamiliar words, politics, history and conventions than I could deal with and I found it a little overwhelming. But it didn't take me long to make sense of it and once I was over the initial plunge into the world of the Mer, I really got into it!
Overall Conclusion:
So if it isn't clear already then I'll lay it out for you. I thought this book was fantastic! I have never got into reading Mermaid fiction before now but this was a wonderful book to start with, and an excellent first book to the series. I did have some initial doubts when I was fed a little too much information, but the information was necessary in order to understand the context of the story and Donnelly makes sure that the information is repeated in case you missed it the first time. What more can I say? The world-building was great, the characters really likeable and I have no doubt that the rest of the series can only get better!