It's kind of surprising that I've kept up with Donnelly's series based around Mermaids, mostly because I don't find that particular mythical creature all that interesting and water is not exactly my favourite book setting thanks to my phobia of it. However, something about the series has kept drawing me back, despite the fairly mediocre scores I gave the first two books. This third book was definitely the book I'd been waiting for to sell it to me as a series worth investing in! I'm also entering into the Monthly Motif challenge with this one!
TITLE: Dark Tide
AUTHOR: Jennifer Donnelly
SERIES: Waterfire Saga (#3)
PUBLISHER: Hodder Children's Books
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Adventure
RATING: 4/5 Stars
Once a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own.
Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme's giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can't return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina's betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia's parents become suspicious, his life--and all of Sera's hopes--will be extinguished.
What I Liked:
- I finally got round to reading the third book of this series and I'm really glad about it because it's my favourite of the series so far! While the first couple of books were definitely aimed at a younger audience, this third book took on a slightly darker and more mature tone. This is a very promising direction for me. Much less of the cheesy mermaid language/puns and more of an interesting plot and serious tone to get into! I feel so much more invested than I did before, and I can't wait to see what happens in the future of this series!
- Donnelly did a lot more work with her characters this book and I loved it. I'll forgive her for the fact that Neela barely even got a line because Book Two gave her so much attention. When there are six main characters it can be hard to give them all the attention they need. The fact that Donnelly gave chapters to Astrid (my new favourite character), Becca, Sera (who is definitely the leading mermaid in this series but I'm okay with that because she's getting to be pretty badass), Ling, and most surprisingly Lucia! The last one was a really good addition because it moved Lucia from being her parent's spoilt little pawn into a darker villain than I ever imagined her to be. I love it when author's give their villain's depth and Donnelly did a great job here!
- The world-building in this book, when reflected upon properly, is actually pretty darn cool. Firstly, there is so much diversity in Donnelly's mermaid world, and I love that different mermaids have their own cultures dependant on where in the sea they were born, which is so reflective of life. Also, I love the creatures they encounter, and especially that they are partly rooted in Mythology that we know! They add a whole new level of exciting to the book and manage to feel very fresh and new at the same time!
What I Disliked:
- Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the idea of new romances in this book. After all, why should Sera get all the fun? I just feel that they were a little rushed, particularly in Becca's case! I wanted to see a whole lot more in the way of development than I did. In Astrid's case, it was handled better and I see a lot of potential for them providing that Donnelly allows them to grow as individuals first. I just wish more care had been out into the love sub-plots of this book!
I hadn't realised how much I needed this book in the series until I read it. While I enjoyed books one and two, they didn't grab me in the same way and I feel that if book three hadn't have been so good, I might have given up. However, this provided me with the excitement, danger and character development that I needed to fall for this series all over again. I'll definitely be getting hold of Sea Spell ASAP, which is apparently the last book so I'm expecting the finale to truly blow me away!