Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Supernatural, Romance, Middle-Grade
Published By: Disney Press
Series: Rogue Wave (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
The Waterfire Saga: Deep Blue is a book that I would recommend to girls of around ten to twelve years old. Although marketed as a young adult book, after researching the author’s website, her intention was to write for her ten year old daughter. With those criteria, I think she’s succeeded.
This book has a lot of elements within it that are important when writing books for children, for example, friendship and self belief. Set under the sea in a very developed (though not entirely explained) mermaid world, it’s perfect for girls that want a tame introduction to fantasy before they try their hand at ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (A recommended reading age of at least 14.)
However, I found that the first 25% of the book (accurate due to Kindle) had a completely different feel to the rest of the story. Seraphina, the main character, is worried about fulfilling her duties as a princess and whether the guy she’s betrothed to still likes her. All trivial stuff, right? Then, wham bam, both her parents die in an assassin’s attack and suddenly it’s all ‘the-fate-of-the-world-is-on-your-shoulders’ type stuff. What?!
Although the book moved at a fast pace, with a new thing happening (and a new character being introduced) basically happened on every page, nothing was explained to its full extent, leaving me feeling at a loss for what was happening.
So, I got that the two main characters were on a quest, suddenly changing from weak willed to strong females in a matter of seconds with no real gradient of change, and they had to find four other girls to go and fight down this monster. The execution of this quest wasn’t exactly Rick Riordan standard. Although the girls were strong in their own way, they relied a lot on getting rescued and other people taking the bullets (or poisoned arrows) for them. They moved from place to place, in a constant state of ‘flee-the-bad-guys’ without any attempt at facing their problems.
When it came to finding the other girls, it happened very abruptly and clumsily. Ling, the first girl to join Seraphina and Neela, was just sat nonchalantly in a café! The other two girls, Ava and Becca, who at first I could distinguish between, were found together getting attacked by evil ghosts and the last girl, Astrid, was your classic non-believer and slightly evil one. Everything was just too quick and…
That’s the only word to describe this book. The girls discovered hidden powers at just the right moment, with camoflauge spells only working at the last seconds and guards wouldn’t do a full sweep of their hideout.
The ending also had a sense of convenience. How was it the six girls, barely able to use magic, were able to fight down the biggest threat and win as soon as they joined forces? Of course, the threat couldn’t be completely diminished, as this is only the first book in a series. The threat will return but in the meantime, what do all the girls have to do? You guessed it.
Overall, I’d give this book 2.5 stars. Not impressed. I didn’t feel for any of the characters, primary or secondary, as we basically only learnt their names and the colour of their tails. Not much to get emotionally attached to. However, perhaps it was the fact that I’m seventeen, and not ten that stopped me from enjoying this book to the maximum.