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Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly

In the final installment of the Waterfire saga, the merls are split up as they face the worst of their demons. As the battle lines are drawn, the girls will have to come together in order to ensure the survival of merpeople everywhere.

sea-spellTitleSea Spell
AuthorJennifer Donnelly
SeriesWaterfire Saga, Book 04
Publish Date: June 14, 2016 Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon.

Orfeo possesses one of the six talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history?

Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio’s death riders.

Will Sera ever see her beloved home–and her beloved Mahdi–again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: One aspect that I have loved throughout this series is the relationship between the girls. I feel that people often underestimate the power of friendships, so it is nice to see a series where romantic relationships take the back burner. The final battle was fierce, and I must admit, I never saw most of the events unfolding as they did. The epilogue leaves room for the world to expand and I certainly hope Donnelly does so!

Dislikes: Unfortunately, some of the events in this story are pretty predictable. I saw Astrid’s betrayal from a mile away. Things always seem to fall in the favor of the girls as well, making things too neat. I do feel that the prose needed a little work. Some of the scenes that I feel should be important were just summarized from other characters POVs. For example, Baby’s death should have been emotional, but I just didn’t feel it from Madame Monon’s retelling of events. I also feel I was cheated during the scene with Lucia’s malignos.

badge5v4Overall, though, this was a really good conclusion to a great addition to the mermaid genre. I give it 5 bubbles!

Our reviews in this series…

  • Deep Blue, Book 01
  • Rogue Wave, Book 02
  • Dark Tide, Book 03

Other recommendations…

Emerge by Tobie Easton, Lucy (Daughters of the Sea, #3) by Kathryn Lasky, A Place of Stone and Shadow by Jane Nickerson.

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Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly

Dark TideTitle: Dark Tide
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Saga #3
Publish Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: 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. Political intrigue, dangerous liaisons, and spine-tingling suspense swirl like a maelstrom in this penultimate book in the WaterFire saga.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I still love the settings and the way Donnelly writes about the different seas and oceans and their customs. It truly is a beautiful underwater world that I wish existed (who knows though, if fairies exist then maybe mermaids do too). There is no doubt that Sera has grown from the first book. We not only see it in her actions and decision making but also see it through the eyes of other characters as well. While Sera is featured in this novel quite a bit, it is Ling, Becca and Astrid that we follow as they search for their talismans. There were plenty of twists and turns that make you want to pick up the next book.

badge4v4Dislikes: While the first book was definitely girl power oriented, this novel seems to focus more on relationships. Sera worries over Mahdi who is pretending to be in love with bad girl Luciana. Astrid falls for a human and Becca falls for Sera’s brother. While romance is nice, what I really loved about the first two books was that there weren’t very romance oriented. The ending wasn’t really an ending; it wasn’t even really a cliff hanger.

Overall I give this novel 4 seastars.

Our reviews in this series…

  • Deep Blue Book 01
  • Rogue Wave Book 02
  • Dark Tide Book 03
  • Sea Spell Book 04

If you like this book…

…you might try Siren’s Treasure by Debbie Herbert, A Story of River by Lana Axe, or The Song and the Sorceress by Kim Vandervort.

Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly

Rogue WaveTitle:  Rogue Wave
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
SeriesWaterfire Saga Book 02
Publish Date:  January 6, 2015
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSerafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled—powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.

Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.

Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.

As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn’t know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

What I liked: I have to shout out on the cover first. It is so beautiful! I’m not gonna lie, if I hadn’t read the first one, the covers would draw me in and have me pick up the books!

I love that it is a direct continuation of Deep Blue and (for the most part) is detailing Sera and Neela’s adventures as they each travel back to their own kingdoms and the trials along their ways. There was a bit more character development in this novel as we see the girls go from the naïve princesses they were to making their own decisions, as well as finding their own ways out of the scrapes they find themselves in.

badge4v4What I didn’t like: I didn’t like the fact that there was a lot of “teen speak” in this novel. Throwing it out there every now and then is ok, even if it’s just to remind us that the characters are teens, but a lot of it can distract from the story. The pacing in this one is a little dizzying. It can go from fast to slow in a matter of seconds.

Overall I like this book almost as much as the first and give it 4 seastars.

If you like this book…

…you might try The Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant, Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby, or the Lost Voices series by Sarah Porter.

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.

Deep BlueTitle:  Deep Blue
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
SeriesWaterfire Saga Book 01
Publish Date:  May 6, 2014
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSerafina, 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_100Luna 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.

badge5v4What 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.

badge5v4But it its still a beautiful story. I give this book 5 stars.

If you like this book…

…you might try Tides by Betsy Cornwell, The Painted Maidens trilogy by Terra Harmony, or The Secret of the Emerald Sea by Heather Matthews.