Tuesday, May 13, 2014

REVIEW: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

I was really quite intrigued to read Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly.  The author's previous work included Revolution and A Northern Light, which either was nominated or won the Carnegie medal.  Deep Blue is a big departure from these historical based stories and instead we have the first book in a four book series about mermaids.  Mermaids. There is something pretty intriguing about oceans and the unknown but I can't say that mermaids have ever really captured my attention... until now. 

First off, I think the cover for Deep Blue is gorgeous. I love the colours and the general tone. And if you haven't already seen the book trailer for this book, I recommend that you seek it out and watch it as I think the visuals are just stunning.

For me, the first half of Deep Blue is stronger than the second.  We start the story with our main character, Seraphina, introducing herself and also this world that she lives in.  She's at the start of an important ceremony in which she must prove herself worthy to be her mother's heir and also become betrothed to Prince Mahdi. I really loved the first few chapters of the book as we learn more about Sera and see her interacting with the other mermaids and things. I think her personality and her character really shines through right from the start. 

I really felt all of Sera's anxieties at the start of this novel. She's worried she's not good enough for her mother, or Prince Mahdi, or good enough to rule in her mother's place. And to make things even more stressful, she's been having these nightmare visions of an ancient evil that is coming and through them she's been getting clues that reveal her own importance and involvement in stopping this.

I really felt like there was a lot of great characters and relationships at the start of Deep Blue. It felt exciting and addictive and I was very quickly pulled into Sera's head and her world. Her fight with Mahdi really broke my heart as did everything that happened at the ceremony.  My heart was in my throat, I was on the edge of my seat. It was all so tense and wonderful.  Which is why it was disappointing that that same level of paciness and tension did not continue to the second half of the book in which Sera travels to gather the other mermaids  needed to battle the evil thing that is threatening the waters and everything living in it. 

While I can see that being the first book in the series there has to be lots of groundwork put into place, I thought that the second half felt a little limp and lacking in comparison to what I thought was a great and strong opening. I wanted more from the second half and I can only hope that some of the childish mermaid terminology is dropped in the future books in the series and that we see more character development from the other mermaids.  Though I definitely want to know more about Sera and Mahdi.  I almost cried at the end of Deep Blue when this wasn't resolved!

All of my criticisms aside, I really enjoyed Deep Blue and I'm looking forward to reading more in the series. I can definitely see a lot of potential in these characters, in this world and in this story line. I'm looking forward to it.


  1. I'm reading Donnelly's Tea Rose series right now. Once I'm done with that I'll add this series to my tbr list. Sounds like it has potential.

    1. It does! I really, really loved the beginning and while it doesn't sound like I liked the second half, there were definite highlights there as well...

  2. For some reason, I really don't get on with books about mermaids and i just can't work out why. As this didn't blow you away I think I'll give it a miss until you've read and reviewed book two and then we'll see!

    1. Sounds like a good plan, Sophie! I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series...


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