Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Travel to a beautiful underwater kingdom where you learn that the troubles people face—especially young girls—are very similar whether you live on land or in the sea.
Publisher’s Description: Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation – and burden – that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother’s hopes.
The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin’s arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina’s darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Luna Lovebooks says…
What I liked: Deep Blue has a beautiful underwater setting filled with palaces and ruins and color galore. There were times when I could almost forget that this is a mermaid tale and that they were underwater.
There was surprisingly very little romance for a young adult novel. Sera is betrothed to Madhi but, for the most part, this romance sticks mainly to the first part of the book and the rest focuses on the bonds she forms with the other mer-girls.
I love the fact that there are diverse characters in this novel as well. Several different races are mentioned and one is even blind. One thing we don’t see very often is a kingdom run by women either. Sera’s world is matriarchal. I look forward to watching her grow into her role that she so desperately wants to get out of at the beginning of this book.
Seeing as Sera’s story takes place in an underwater world, there is a glossary at the end of the book where us human’s can find the meanings to everyday mer-words.
What I didn’t like: To be honest there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book, so I had to step back and look at it from someone else’s point of view.
I suppose you could say there is little character development in this first novel as it sets up the world and the story more than the characters. There is a lot of information given to us in the first part of the book. We learn about the Terragoggs, the Janicari, the history of the Miromara. We also get information on the people: Sera’s brother, dad, cousin, friends, uncle, lady’s maid, instructor, girls at court, betrothed, best friend’s brother. We learn about the tensions going on between the mer-nations. We learn about the government. We learn about the Dokimí and the history of the merpeople. We learn about the magic and the magic spells and how the Dokimí ceremony works. All of this in just a few chapters.
But it its still a beautiful story. I give this book 5 stars.
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