A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
For me, I was most absorbed with the beginning of Deep Blue because of the introduction to this complex world and our main character, Serafina. I enjoyed the descriptions of her daily life and the interactions she had with her mother and friends. Sadly, I felt that the majority of characters lacked any real depth. As the story progressed more and more characters were haphazardly thrown together. The speed (and convenience) in which they met did not lend itself to rich character development and lacked to provide the chemistry I desired.
I did appreciate the multitude of mermaid types, each coming from a different region of the ocean. I wish more details could have been given about each of their homelands (fingers crossed we’ll see more in the future books).
At times, I felt that the dialog seemed pretty simplistic and more typical of middle grade than young adult. Donnelly did throw in some cute puns and played on stereotypes like a crazy cat lady (in this book a crazy catfish lady). Parts of this story did fall on the silly side at times so more serious readers (like myself) might not respond as well. The romance was for the most part absent though there are some illusions to romance that I think will be further explored later in the series.
It was evident that Donnelly had a wealth of imagery and details about the world to work from and this added a lush backdrop to the story. Even though there was a wealth of description I struggled to feel or visualize this story taking place in the ocean. I could never accurately visualize the clothing described being underwater (how does anyone wear a dress underwater effectively?) or the creatures inhabiting this world.
Regardless of all the negatives I pointed out I did enjoy reading Deep Blue. I had expectations of a much darker tale than the one given but once I was able to alter my frame of mind I was able to enjoy the story and take the book for what it was, a light, fun read that didn’t take itself too seriously.
Check out Jennifer Donnelly’s playlist for Deep Blue