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340 pages, Hardcover
First published May 6, 2014
A Special Girl who happens to be a Princess who needs to Save The World from an Unspeakable Evil...
...carried a dagger at her hip...when you don't have hips. Hips are where legs join the torso. Since mermaids have a single tail, it would be "hip", right?
Spy 1: hmm, seems like puffed sleeves are out and flowy gowns are in. Ooo! Long hair is super in. And everyone is totally naming their kids Emily this season!How do you...
Spy 2: *writing furiously*
...blinking back tears...when you A) never made it to the surface and B) live underwater. At most, she should feel her eyes sting, right?? RIGHT???
Which as an aside -How do you... make color comparisons of a dress to
A) how does she know what a leash is?
B) how do you even put a leash on a fish?
C) the author clearly didn't do any research - piranha are not happy unless they are in a big school... and they are no where near aggressive as people think. Tbh, they're lazy and pretty boring fish...
the color of Ox bloodwhen you've lived your entire life underwater in the middle of the ocean. How do you even know what an ox is? HOW????
After she bleached her hair blond...bleach your hair underwear? HOW DID THEY NOT CHOKE AND DIE?
“You don’t look like an outlaw,” Serafina said.This is not a bad book, but the pros in this book are outweighed by the fact that it is an overwhelmingly childish infodump.
“Or a shark,” Neela said.
“I’m a lawyer, actually, the worst kind of shark.”
She sat up in her bed—an enormous ivory scallop shell—and stretched. One half of the shell, thickly lined with plump pink anemones, was where she slept. The other half, a canopy, was suspended on the points of four tall turritella shells. The canopy’s edges were intricately carved and inlaid with sea glass and amber. Lush curtains of japweed hung down from it. Tiny orange gobies and blue-striped dragonets darted in and out of them.But all is not as glorious as it seems. Today is the day of her Dokimi, where she will have to perform in front of her entire kingdom. It's a huge deal, and Sera is understandably freaked out about it.
“Right, Mom. Only a Dokimí,” said Serafina, her fins flaring. “Only the ceremony in which Alítheia declares me of the blood—or kills me. Only the one where I have to songcast as well as a canta magus does. Only the one where I take my betrothal vows and swear to give the realm a daughter someday. It’s nothing to get worked up about. Nothing at all.”To top it off, her childhood friend and betrothed has since become an asshole in the past two years. He used to be a wonderful young man with whom she looked forward to marrying. They shared an understanding, and perhaps even love.
She could still hear the last words he’d spoken to her, right before he’d returned to Matali.But on the day of her Dokimi, Mahdi seems to be a different person. He's now a playboy, a rebel, someone she dreads marrying. But Sera has more to worry about than romance because there's something bigger going on within her kingdom.
“My choice,” he’d whispered, taking her hand. “Mine. Not theirs.”
Sera could only imagine what her mother would have said if she’d barged into her chamber complaining that Mahdi had hurt her feelings.War. Yep. War is coming. Their kingdom has always had enemies, from the Praedatori to the Terragoggs (humans), but now it is more than a mere threat. It all started with her mother's assassination.
She had to do it. She had to put her pain and loss aside and exchange vows with a merman she couldn’t even bear to look at, in order to save her people from a war.
She would remember that moment for a long time, that golden, shining, moment.The moment before everything changed.The night of the Dokimi was supposed to be the beginning of her future, instead, it signals the end. Her kindgom is in shatters. Her people have been hurt. Serafina isn't ready to become queen, but it seems like she doesn't have much of a choice. Together with her mermaid friends, Ling and Neela, Serafina will have to use her magic to solve the mystery of the Ielé witches.
Before the arrow, sleek and black, came hurtling through the water and lodged in her mother’s chest.
“As you know, the Ondalinians broke the permutavi three months ago,” Isabella said. “Your uncle thinks Admiral Kolfinn did it because he wished to derail your betrothal to the Matalin crown prince and offer his daughter, Astrid, to the Matalis instead. An alliance with Matali is every bit as valuable to them as it is to us.”Wow. Can I get a pillow so I can take a nap, please? Maybe a sea cucumber? They're squishy. This book has a Glossary, and thank god for it. The first 25% of the book, the first chapter, specifically, is a huge infodump. This world is a fantasy taking place in our world, only underwater. Serafina lives, specifically, around Venice, Italy.
Angry, Vallerio had left Cerulea and spent several years in Tsarno, a fortress town in western Miromara. Portia married someone else—Sejanus Adaro, Lucia’s father. Some said she only married him because he looked like Vallerio with his handsome face, silver scales, and black hair. Sejanus died only a year after Lucia’s birth. Vallerio never married, choosing to devote himself to the welfare of the realm instead.It's a beautiful, enchanted world, though. It is so very Disney-like, and it's no wonder...since they're the publisher of this book. Even Serafina's room is a dream come true for any little girl.
The golden rays warmed fronds of seaweed anchored to the floor. They shimmered in the glass of a tall gilt mirror and glinted off the polished coral walls. A small green octopus that had been curled up at the foot of the bed—Serafina’s pet, Sylvestre—darted away, disturbed by the light.The Characters: Surprisingly feminist, for a book that's so fluffy in nature. I really like the main character's personality. She's strong, she's willful, but she's also vulnerable. She fights with her mom over being too Queen-like instead of mom-like, but Serafina knows that she is a princess, and she has to behave like one. Serafina never whines.That’s what her mother would do, and that’s what she would do, too.
“I can’t do it!” she shouted angrily, slapping the water with her tail. She turned to Thalassa, her composure entirely gone. “Tell my mother the Dokimí’s off. Tell her I’m not good enough! Not good enough for her! Not good enough to cast this rotten songspell! And not good enough for the crown prince!”But she realizes her errors quickly, and throughout the book, Serafina maintains her maturity. My problem with her character, and that of her friends, is that despite the fact that they are strong feminist characters...there's something lacking in their character development. I like them, but they never feel real to me.
“You fear you will fail at the very thing you were born for. And your fear torments you…instead of shunning your fear, you must let it speak and listen carefully to what it’s trying to tell you. It will give you good counsel.”