Sunday, June 1, 2014

ARC REVIEW: Deep Blue - Jennifer Donnelly

*COURTESY OF NETGALLEY*

Mermaids. What sort of picture does that word draw in your head?
The seashell bra clad mermaid, courtesy of Disney?


Or the one baring sharp incisors and pointing spears at you, courtesy of J. K. Rowling?


I will not quote the Goodreads synopsis or write one of my own, because I tried and it sounded like the one on Goodreads anyway – which I hated because it made me not want to read the book. It sounded all girly (excuse the reference to the stereotype) and romance-y with some conflict thrown in for the sake of. So why did I read the book?

Because I trusted Jennifer Donnelly after reading Revolution (three cheers for historical fiction). If you haven’t read it, fix that blunder pronto.

Serafina does not wear a bra of seashells (or if she does, it's not mentioned).The lifestyle of the merpeople in Miromara closely resembles the Disney version, albeit a better one.  She’s the principessa of Miromara, and a descendant of Merrow, the much revered first ruler of the mermish kingdom. We meet her on the day of the Dokimi, when she’s declared of the blood of Merrow. If she isn’t she becomes dinner of a certain sea – spider. And if she miraculously somehow manages to survive that, she should be able to impress the merpeople with her excellent songspell abilities. And then she should take her betrothal vows. Did I mention she is sixteen?
But why all this? Qui Merrow decrivit.

That isn’t the story, by the way. AT ALL. Nuh-uh.  But if I divulge that information, you won’t get surprised by the twist in the storyline like I was. Withholding privileged information, bloggerverse.

It’s been so long, like since Harry Potter and Eragon and the Hunger Games, that I’ve come across a book with such awe-inspiring world building and conceptualizing. Merpeople have currensea, and conches to study; phrases like “put a fin wrong” and “family coral”, make pets of octopuses (ok maybe thank you, Disney), go “shoaling”, and have amazing friends like Neela (who is as important as Serafina by the way – GOODBYE SIDEKICKS) who keep bingeing on zeezees.

This book also flaunted POC characters that didn’t seem out of place or feel like unnecessary additions to make people happy.  The prologue was unexpected (in a very good way). The writing was the only thing that didn’t make me happy enough. I don’t know if I really liked the third person narration, I guess it was necessary for briefing the reader – but I wanted it to be more subtle, and not informational. And sometimes the narrator’s point of view switched between characters abruptly. Sometimes the language turned a tad too dramatic. 

WARNING: Do not read the Goodreads reviews criticizing the puns. *flips a fin*
I’m saying hell, yes to the Waterfire Saga anyway.

VERDICT: 3.5 stars
Add your graffiti here before you leave; this wall needs all the colour it can get. And check back, I always reply as promptly as the wifi allows me to. ;)