Jenny's Reviews > The Vicious Deep

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova
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May 01, 12


Rating: 3.5/5

Despite a title that has our minds conjuring up images of demonic sea creatures who live to drag unsuspecting humans underwater and subject them to any number of cruelties the blue depths are capable of inflicting, the story itself is lighter in tone thanks to a funny and often completely oblivious male protagonist. It’s clear though that while we’re laughing and rolling our eyes at Tristan an unseen darkness moves ever closer, hovering on the periphery and waiting for the ideal moment to strike, erasing the levity and replacing it with a certain amount of gravity as the stakes of Tristan’s quest continue to rise higher and higher. Ms. Cordova blends her humorous moments and her somber ones beautifully, our hearts turning into an emotional kaleidoscopes awash with a myriad of vibrant colors representing our various highs and lows as we witness Tristan’s life get turned completely on its head.

Tristan is a fun protagonist, utterly clueless at times as to how his actions and his habit of not thinking prior to speaking affect those around him (namely his best friend Layla), but luckily as the story progresses it slowly begins to dawn on him just how much of an idiot he’s really capable of being. We can’t help but snort at some of the random things that pop into his head—like what happens to his junk when he has a tail—and it’s his voice that truly keeps us entertained throughout. His newly-realized love for Layla adds a fine layer of tension to this tale, a cloud of awkwardness that’s never been there for the two of them previously suddenly looming over them heavy with things left unsaid, and we continually bite our lips in nervous anticipation as to whether they’ll be able to move past a long-standing friendship and into something more.

While Tristan is an enjoyably flawed hero and his relationship with Layla ripe with romantic potential, the story itself has a tendency to jump around and shift focus quickly, some of the transitions leaving us flipping back a page or two to see if we’ve missed something. Reading can at times leave us feeling like the little silver ball in a pinball machine, pinging back and forth between the discovery that merfolk exist, the friendship/relationship with Layla, the competition for the Sea King’s trident, and a number of other smaller plot elements that continuously vie for our attention throughout. By the end things so seem to smooth out a bit, Tristan’s journey toward earning what is his by birth acting as a compass pointing us in a definitive direction moving forward. Despite the bumpy ride in this first installment, the characters keep us thoroughly amused, kindly paving over some of the potholes that would have been far more noticeable without their charm easing the way.
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