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Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

340 pages, Hardcover

First published May 6, 2014

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About the author

Jennifer Donnelly

38 books7,570 followers
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of thirteen novels - Poisoned, Stepsister, Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of Fatal Throne, which explores the lives of King Henry VIII's six wives, for which she wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry's fourth wife.

She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. The Rose trilogy continued with The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. In 2015, TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015; the third, Dark Tide, came out in October 2015; and the fourth, Sea Spell, is scheduled for release in June 2016.

In November 2015, Jennifer released the historical novel These Shallow Graves, which received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Jennifer worked with Disney again in 2017, when she published Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, an original story to accompany the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast film. Lost in a Book expands on the classic tale, exploring the growing friendship between Belle and the Beast as well as Belle's ordeal within the pages of Nevermore, a magical book from which she narrowly escapes.

Jennifer returned to historical fiction with Fatal Throne, a book about Henry VIII and his six wives published by Random House/Schwartz & Wade in 2018. For this project, Jennifer joined six other authors (Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Deborah Hopkinson, Linda Sue Park, and

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Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020
A Special Girl who happens to be a Princess who needs to Save The World from an Unspeakable Evil...

What. A. Shocker.

The twist is that this is all underwater .

That's right. There's a mermaid secret society who uses magic to hide and protect their kingdoms.

We follow Princess Serafina.

In typical YA fashion, she loses her parents a few chapters in, loses her throne shortly after and loses her entire country almost immediately after that.

Hmm... what a predicament.

It's almost like the heir to an entire kingdom shouldn't inherit when she's only a teen....

Anyway, the princess must find a way to save the entire ocean before it's too late.

There is a legend of underwater witches (which no one, in a society of magical mermaids, believes in... because obviously, witches are completely unrealistic) who may hold the key to Saving The World (TM)...

Ok, the premise of this book was okay, the writing was bland and the consistency was pretty bad.

The Premise - aka, this sounds familiar...

I'm totally in for a mermaid novel.... unfortunately this one felt pretty formulaic.

Girl is a gorgeous princess. Girl loses everything. Girl is afraid to lead kingdom. Girl goes on a magical journey to learn that true leadership comes from within...

It's just nothing special. It's your average YA, but underwater.

The Writing - aka, mehhhhhhhhh.

I honestly don't have much to say, mostly cause there's not much too it.

The writing was really only surface-deep, most of the emotions were told and there wasn't even that much ocean imagery.

You'd think the author would emphasize the way the waves felt to the creatures underwater, or what it was like to swim or all the cool coral reefs and fish... but nope.

Other than a few cursory sentences... ehhhh, it pretty much felt like they were on land.

The Consistency - aka, the author does know her world is underwater, right?

I swear, the author doesn't even remember her own made-up society. As in she legitimately forgets her characters are underwater many times.

Keep in mind, this is an ancient race, isolated for 4,000 years who absolutely refuse any and all contact with teragogs (humans)... so, I spent the whole book wondering:

How do you... instantly recognize modern day things?

Bicycle chains and hockey sticks! Silks and gowns from different eras are instantly named. And yet they call humans "Terragoggs". Why. Just why.

How do you...
...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?

How do you... conveniently develop a society that not only has the same names, but also the same culture and even the same accent as the nearest terragog land mass.

Indian mermaids wear saris near India, Japanese ones haunt the waters near Japan, Romanian ones have ancient spells (etc)....

Even their names didn't make sense. For a society who was reportedly sent under the ocean 4,000 years ago, how do you explain names like Becca, Ava and Astrid?

Are there secret mermaid spies who sneak up to docks and boats to pick up all the coolest Terragogg lingo and/or societal norms?
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!
Spy 2: *writing furiously*
How do you...
...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???

But then again, Serafina vomits downwards (not outwards... which I expected given the way liquids disperse).

And she drinks tea with another character later in the book...So who knows how liquids work under the ocean. Not me. That's for sure.

How do you... only use common human phrases/idioms but with a fishy twist?

(See previous comment about mermaid spies).

Old woman on her own? Lives with catfish . Lots of catfish.

A lawyer? Jokingly called the worst kind of shark there is.

Blind mermaid? Keeps a "seeing eye piranha" on a leash.
Which as an aside -

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...
How do you... make color comparisons of a dress to
the color of Ox blood
when you've lived your entire life underwater in the middle of the ocean. How do you even know what an ox is? HOW????

I've lived my entire life on the surface and at most, I assume that ox blood is red.

Update: it's a mauve-y-maroon color. Yet Princess Mermaid can instantly recognize it...

How do you...
After she bleached her hair blond...
bleach your hair underwear? HOW DID THEY NOT CHOKE AND DIE?

So there's all that.... combined with the fact that the big superpower is just really good singing. And friendship.

Honestly, I've been burned so many times by YA, and yet I keep going back.


Anybody out there know any good mermaid books???

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May 11, 2014
Actual rating: 2.5
“You don’t look like an outlaw,” Serafina said.
“Or a shark,” Neela said.
“I’m a lawyer, actually, the worst kind of shark.”
This is not a bad book, but the pros in this book are outweighed by the fact that it is an overwhelmingly childish infodump.

There is no cursing in this underwater fantasy, a rave (drug-filled party to us landlubbers) is a all-night wave. An ass is a wrasse. There are no bad-asses, but there are bad-wrasses and jackwrasses.

Money is called currensea. Jerks are gobies and guppies. Transparency spells are spelled transparensea. A girlfriend is a merlfriend. A crazy mermaid lady keeps catfish as pets. A family tree is a family coral. Caramel is caramalgae, and other candies are "chillawondas, bing-bangs, janteeshaptas, and zee-zees." Manta Rays speak in RaySay. Anchovies speak Pesca. Dolphin speak Dolpheen.

I love bad puns. I love word play. But there's only so much I can take before this book starts to descend into absurdity, which is a damned shame because it's a good book otherwise.

This book is categorized as "Young Adult" and "New Adult" and I have no idea why. It reads like a Middle Grade story, and it wouldn't be out of place next to a 7-year old's A Little Mermaid picture book. The Disney version, not the Grimm's. Hint: Don't read your child the Hans Christian Andersen version unless you want to pay for therapy out of their college fund.

So, in continuing with today's theme of terrible puns, I have this to say about the book: It's not a bad book about mermaids, but it doesn't have sole. The characters are shallow, the plot doesn't hold water, and overall, I'd have to give it a sea. There's a surprising level of depth, as well as a good feminist message, but if you want a book that your older teen will love, don't hold your breath.

Sorry for all the bad puns. I didn't do them on porpoise. I'm just angling to get a rise out of you.

The good:
- VERY light on romance
- A creative and enchanting underwater fantasy (fantasea?) world
- Strong female characters and friendships
- Diverse characters (we have Indian, Chinese, Italian, Middle-Eastern mermaids, prominently featured)
- A matriarchal kingdom

The bad:
- HUGE infodump: the first 25% of the book is a major infodump with almost no plot, that had my head spinning
- Little character development, the characters are strong and feminist, but they lack a level of depth that made them believable
- The childishness: the puns, the wordplay, the very, very cute fantasy world that's even prettier than the Disney version. It just undermines the seriousness of the book

The summary: Principessa Serafina of the Miromara lives an enchanted life under the sea.
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.
“My choice,” he’d whispered, taking her hand. “Mine. Not theirs.”
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.
Sera could only imagine what her mother would have said if she’d barged into her chamber complaining that Mahdi had hurt her feelings.
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.
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 would remember that moment for a long time, that golden, shining, moment.The moment before everything changed.
Before the arrow, sleek and black, came hurtling through the water and lodged in her mother’s chest.
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.

The Setting:
“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.

The info-dumping made my head spin. In the first chapter, we learn about the Terragoggs, the Janicari, the history of the Miromara. The people, her brother, her dad, her cousin, her friends, her uncle, her lady's maid, her instructor, the girls at court, her betrothed, her best friend's brother, her instructor. We learn about the tensions going on between the mer-nations. We learn about the government. We learn about the Dokimi and the history of the merpeople. We learn about the magic and the magic spells and how the Dokimi ceremony works. ALL THAT WITHIN 25% OF THE BOOK. I felt like I was reading a really, really pretty textbook. It's just too much. It's just too much details, at some points. Like I really need to learn about why her uncle used to love her rival Lucia's mother but wasn't allowed to marry her.
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 always disappoint her, Serafina thought, but tonight I won’t. Tonight, I’ll make her proud.Serafina has her moments of weakness, when she just wants to give up...
“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.

I love the fact that there are diverse mermaids in this book. There are other underwater kingdoms in this book, including the Japanese, the Antarctic, the Chinese, the Afro-Indian, the Nordic. We have her best friend, a sari-wearing Indian princess, and her new companion, a Chinese linguist mermaid. It's pretty awesome.

The Romance: Almost nonexistent, but for a very small section in the beginning. This was a surprise! Serafina is betrothed to an (Indian!) prince! She feels jealousy, she feels hurt, but she never allows her feelings for him to overwhelm her when he turns out to be someone different. Best of all, the romance is almost gone for the rest of the book. There is more female friendship than romance in this book.

The Plot: Another weak point. It has an unnatural flow. This feels like an info-dump and nothing else. The plot goes in all sorts of direction that just didn't really make sense to me. It's book 1 in a series, and I really hope the second book will be better, because there really wasn't much substance to this initial book.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,077 reviews31.3k followers
November 11, 2018
I was so excited about this series - about MERMAIDS. I had very high hopes for this story. I felt the writing was juvenile. It was written for the young adult market, but at a middle grade level. I enjoyed the puns in the book dealing with water life - clever, but I didn't feel this was a smart book.

I didn't really relate to the characters. I know teens are whiney, but this whole story felt whiney. A pretty cool world was starting to be set up. There is the most powerful kingdom in the oceans, with the most powerful and within chapters, some unknown army literally destroys it. This didn't make sense. I mean decimation. We barely got to know the world before it's gone.

Why do fantasy writers nowadays think you have to destroy everything to make a good book. Can there be some history, some things left. Why must it always be scorched earth? I guess it's scarier that way, but it is done to death and oh so boring. The anti keeps being upped and at this point, I don't care anymore. I want something that preserves and nourishes instead of destroying.

My next big issue is the ending. In series, it does feel like there is more story, but the big goal for book one was not achieved. It ended in the middle and that was annoying. Why didn't we get an end to this book instead it felt like the story ended in the middle of it.

I gave this book an extra star for being about a wonderful subject- Mermaids. I don't like giving low reviews, but this is not a favorite of mine - sadly. I haven't decided if I will read on or not. Possibly. Maybe, I'm too stressed to enjoy this or maybe I need a break from stories where the civilization ends. I'm tried of that story. We need something else. A way to preserve. I think the overall politics of the day is having a huge effect on my psyche. I really need hope and to believe that it will not all end in a ball of rubble, but our way of life and country and can saved and preserved. Who knows? So maybe that is my bias on this story.

I will say that I wasn't crazy about any of the characters. None of them spoke to me or got under my skin. It was creative and it was a beautiful world before it was destroyed.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,450 reviews1,109 followers
January 24, 2018
Okay-actual rating is a 3.5.

This was a decent underwater fantasy-adventure that has potential. And yet for all the good it is, there is also some head-spinning vocabulary.

Seraphina is the heir the kingdom and her whole life seems set before her before and attack destroys her apparent path. But just before the attack she has a 'dream' of a prophecy she must help with. For she is one of 6 that must save the sea.

This books word choice and creation had me utterly overwhelmed at first. We are given a lot of made up words, terms, names and places. Seriously, every paragraph seemed to have at least 3 new words. This continues throughout the books but is a little less overwhelming thank goodness. But the beginning was so bad I almost DNFed this. Some were just a play on words (like Merlfriend instead of Girlfriend) . And then others are real words in all sorts of languages! We are given Italian, Qin, Arabic, Brazilian slang, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek...

It gets worse... we also have several made up languages including Mermish, Dracdemara, Rurus, and more!! You know Scuttle from "Disney's The Little Mermaid" and how he calls a fork an dinglehopper? Well there is A LOT of that type of wording happening and it leaves us guessing what they are talking about. Sometimes i just gave up and went with it like I would a Dr Seuss book where it just isn't meant to make sense.

Leaving all that aside, the adventure is quite good. Although I must say the attack on Seraphina's home had me sad. I always put mermaids in a happy place so reading about them dying left a pout on my face. Some of the imagery is pretty like when we hear about Seraphina's room or when they change her look to disguise her.

Seraphina is a nice mermaid but very insecure to her role. Neela, her best friend and companion, is a stronger character that I really liked. We get other characters including Blu, Ling and many others.

There is betrayal, death and action...a small dash of romance...loyalty and friends...all mixed together is a "Save the World" adventure.

I will read the next one. I am curious how it ends but I do warn new readers, be sure to have patience and focus when you start reading this!

**Second time going through this started as an audiobook. I hated the narration. Sounded too childish and annoying so I had to switch back to ebook format.** Secriously, had this been my intro to this book-I would have DNFed it. It was awful-please READ it, do not get audiobook!

*I received a copy of this book from Disney in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.*
Profile Image for Beck.
298 reviews170 followers
April 2, 2014
DNF at 10%.

The opening was pretty good, but then we meet the protagonist and it's basically The Little Mermaid fan fiction. Serafina's bed is fucking clam shell. She lives in an underwater mermaid city with streets and restaurants and shit, and everything is made of quartz and mother of pearl. She has a pet octopus named Sylvestre.

But what really did it in for me was her nurse being described has having "the legs and torso of a blue crab." TORSO???

I literally can't.
511 reviews211 followers
July 29, 2016

Had I liked Deep Blue, I would have tried to sell it to you for its three elements:

a. Girl Power
b. Diversity
c. Puns

As it so happens, the girl power aspect felt flat and juvenile, the diversity thingy was experienced only once or twice for turbans and saris and it didn't really work, and the puns were disingenuous and stilted. Pooooooh!!!

Jennifer Donnelly's writing leaves a shitload to be desired. The first few chapters of the story are unbearable. With flinchingly detailed and full of blistering imagery that doesn't really work, it put me on my guard immediately. Paragraphs upon others go on to describe walls and beds and dresses that ended up halting my imagination each time I tried to conjure up a scene to match the story. Interspersed amidst this are pieces of information that seem to be of import but are never impressed upon the reader, moreover presented so spontaneously, it appears awkward. The puns in the writing are funny; however, they appropriate a lot of attention from the story itself. Moreover, there isn't the sense to make it seem part of the world. Rather, I think it was added more to instill humor that it doesn't quite manage to convey as opposed to fitting in with the merworld.

The world itself is expansive and works well with the current situation and century of ours; humans don't intermingle with mers, but the effects of our lifestyle resonate deep into the merworld. While I would describe it as a thought-out and detailed world, it is incredibly absurd at times as well. Underwater cafes, hats etc- I don't figure how they work underwater. What do they drink? How do their hats stay on- are there threads or whatever? On the other hand, bits regarding magic, why wand isn't preferred but voice is to wield magic and other, showcase in which arena more time and thoughts were put.

AND the characters. DO I get to whine now? I was so serious earlier. Can I whine pleasepleaseplease? SO half-assed, so un-characterized, so bland. The creatures of Bikini Bottom have more personality. They make better mermaids.

The dynamics between them were instant and unfeeling; new characters acquainted themselves so well enough that one of our protagonists could almost seeeeee into their souls and dreams and fights. What crap. Conversations, on the part of our(you guessed it)MC's, were unbelievably, hilariously, pathetically half-baked attempts at modern teenage-speak, in especial when they're speaking with each other. I indeed admit that one degenerates in their manner of speaking, when one gets to converse with a long estranged best friend and there's a lot of squealing and giggling and screaming and like and neglection of adverbs, adjectives involved. But NO. This book didn't capture that, nor did it manage to create realistic characters- both princesses, despite what their diction might imply.

And pooh! Their characterization! No uniqueness or layers to them. No quirks of personality, hell, no personality! Just touching the surface of problems that a character in their position might face- being princesses and all. The obvious problems, that is. Like a collective noun. The abstracts of their personality and worries, frustrations that uniquely identify a character weren't there. Like an ISP! Their ISP was missing. They could be anyone.

Everything was too instantaneous and prompt, the literary equivalent of the Knight Bus- the one from movies. It squeezes and rushes off and halts suddenly; nothing ever registers not only because it is all so swift, but also because you're jerked around so. fucking. much. In Deep Blue's case, the stead of a blind driver and a bodiless, hanging-headed instructor is filled by the unpolished writing and puns. Our main characters are embroiled in a fight not theirs too suddenly, they accept new personages into their confidence too suddenly, they see into others' eyeeeees too suddenly. Nah-nyah-nah-nyah!

(I have deep seated issues with conveyance of abstract stuff via eyes. THOSE PLACES ARE MEANT TO STORE DEMONS! GODDAMMIT! If you must, exchange demons when your eyes meet, not meanings and hints and secrets and dreams and hopes and shit.)

Again(you know it, I know it so let's say it together) Pooh! The entirety of the novel feels too juvenile. And not in the way I like my juvenile books. Way worse. Which is surprising, given I LOVE childish stories, the sillier the better. Yet the adventures aren't exciting or thrilling, new people and places discovered don't ignite even a smudge of curiosity, puns don't make me laugh. Which is surprising, given I LOVE to make lame puns. Also given these puns weren't entirely lame; clever, in fact. Who woulda thunk of Currensea would be the system of money in the merworld?

I'm not judging Donnelly's other books by Deep Blue and neither should you, if this is/was going to be your first venture into her writing. There are definitely plans for her books and one day(as in, the speculative one day; not when I finish this class, or all my remaining books kind of one day, nor 14th of May 2016 kind of one day) in my non-existential planner.

Thank you Hachette Children's Books!

Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,047 followers
November 12, 2015
DNF, chapter 4.

I was sucked in by the beautiful cover.

Unfortunately, the mermaids here are nothing more than some catty modern teenagers with some words substituted and some generic 'fairytale' elements thrown in.
"Merboys" have "merlfriends" (yes, really) and might "swim with a fast crowd."
They wear gowns, have "updos" and dye their hair (yes, all underwater.) And above all, apparently, love gossiping. The mer-court seems like a cliquish high school.

The main character is a mer-princess about to be betrothed and rule the realm, but she doesn't come off as someone raised to wield power at all - instead she's busy whining at her mother "Why can't you be a mom instead of a queen" (paraphrase).

At Chapter 4, I'd had enough of it. (And I thought I could perceive a romance on the near-horizon, too.)

One disappointed mermaid fan, here.
Profile Image for Sarah.
820 reviews151 followers
Want to read
October 3, 2013
What the what what? Jennifer Donnelly is writing a series about MERMAIDS?
Profile Image for Rayne.
862 reviews288 followers
March 20, 2014
2.5 stars

I adore Donnelly. Revolution and A Northern Light are two of my favorite books ever, so I had absurdly high expectations for this novel. When it comes down to it, Deep Blue has a really good and original story, and while I never thought I'd say this about a Donnelly novel, the problem here was not with the content but the execution. The truth is that Deep Blue reads like a silly, immature, cheesy and childish novel for pre-teen girls. While the descriptions are gorgeous and wildly imaginative, the world-building comes as a bit of an info-dump, and the characterization are as stereotyped and simplistic as I would expect from a middle-grade debut novel. The dialogues are childish and slightly over-dramatic, and the overall plot was discordant in its pace: at first it was slow and uneventful, and then it moved way too fast, rarely leaving time to assimilate what was happening. The antagonist is slightly cartoonish, what little romance there is in there is a bit dull and not much of importance to the actual plot happens in the novel. I am disappointed by this book. My extremely high expectations certainly didn't help, but this is just not the book I thought it would be, especially one written by the person who penned such amazing and profound novels like Revolution and A Northern Light. I still respect Donnelly immensely, but it is highly unlikely that I'll continue this series.
Profile Image for Michelle.
111 reviews7 followers
March 24, 2014
I LOVED this book. I read it in a Day. Could not put it down. The writer creates an undersea world of Kingdoms and Castles with Mer-people and and exotic undersea pets. The Females in this story are strong. Stronger than they first understand. The themes of Females living up to expectations of others and learning to know who to trust and what to beleive are great for this age and this genre. I believe this is the start of a great series that I cannot wait to read.

I also believe that this will become a must read for all tween and young teen girls. I can't wait to read the rest of the series and would love to see a movie series to come out of it.

Disney Publishing is a name I can trust for finding great books with clean stories for my kids.
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 40 books8,990 followers
November 17, 2017
A very complicated underwater world with different cities and cultures. I love the conch shell lessons and the singing of spells. If you're a mermaid fan, then check this one out.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
July 31, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Book One of the Waterfire series
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

What I Liked:

I have never read any books by Jennifer Donnelly, so this book was an experiment of a sort. Disney-Hyperion surprised me with a copy of this book, and I almost decided not to read it, since it was an unsolicited copy. I have a ton of May review books (especially May 6th releases), and the ones I requested get priority. However, I couldn’t resist the siren’s call of fantasy, even if it isn’t the usual type of fantasy I love (epic fantasy).

I am pleased to say that overall, I enjoyed this book. It was relatively short, and there was a lot of action and revelations and things occurring. Okay, so I found the plot a little bit generic. The uniqueness of the characters and world-building (for the most part) sort of made up for the cliché plot.

The thing I really liked about this book is that it focused more on friendship than romance. At first, it seems like the romance will be more important than anything else. Serafina is preparing herself to be shown as the next heir of Miromara, and to exchange marital vows with the crown prince of the kingdom’s choosing – Prince Mahdi. The prince and Serafina were always arranged to be married, but they fell in love after a visit or two years ago. Years later, Mahdi has changed, and is now a player and a jerk.

So, you would think that the romance was at the forefront. Serafina is still very much in love with Mahdi, he’s in love with her, and they’re getting married, no matter what. But terrible things have happened, are happening, and will happen to the mer kingdoms. Someone is taking merpeople, and a monster has been unleashed. Sera, her friend Neela, and four other girls must are called via dream to come together to fight and take back the sea.

Friendship is key in this book. The bond between Sera and Neela is unshakable, and I love that this is an important aspect of the book. I know that we will see more of the six girls together in the next four books – they only come together in one place at the end of this book.

I love how well-characterized the girls are. Each girl is different, and fits their respective “gifts”. We get to know Sera the most – she is selfless and responsible, cautious and brave. Neela is fiery and hilarious – I LOVED reading the parts of the book that involved her actions and dialogue.

I’m hoping to see more from the romance in the next few books. It wasn't huge in this book, but it is still important. I have a feeling that someone in actually someone else in disguise… ahhh, I want to say more but that would be spoiling things! I shan't give anything away! Now, onto the plot, and what I didn't like.

What I Did Not Like:

As I mentioned before, I found the overall plot of the book and series to be cliche. People are murdered or taken for the greed of another, a giant monster exists and is out for blood. Several teenagers must save the world. It’s very overdone and cliche, but especially in certain types of fantasy. The paranormal type of fantasy (like this book) always seems to follow this plot, to the T. Especially with the monster part. And the fact that each teenager has a unique skill or power.

You might say that every book or plot is a bit of a variation of another, but I find that this type of plot is highly power in paranormal and fantasy novels, and one after the other after another isn't always smart.

Would I Recommend It:

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of fantasy novels. It’s not the typical type of fantasy that I read and love, but then, I love most types of fantasy. Mermaid books aren't really my thing – I kind of liked Anna Banks’ series (here’s hoping Of Neptune is really good, to redeem the series), and I wasn't a huge fan of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. But this one was pretty great! So fantasy lovers, paranormal lovers, this is one for you! If you have a copy, or were already planning on reading it, definitely do not hesitate to do so!


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. This was a pretty great start to a new series! I will definitely be catching the sequel, and most likely the two books after them. I cannot wait to see what the imprint of Disney-Hyperion will be! This is the first book to be published by the imprint, so that’s exciting.
Profile Image for - The Polybrary -.
329 reviews187 followers
December 26, 2016
~*Full review on The Bent Bookworm!*~
“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.”

Feels :

Well, to start off with I got a serious case of deja vu.

Thankfully it moves past that pretty quickly. There are some similarities throughout but I think that’s to be expected given the mermaid subject and the intended audience. I loved the emphasis on friendship and sisterhood that is this story. There is no prince on a white horse and these princesses have to save themselves. In the end that was what really increased the rating for me.

Characters :

The main character is Serafina, the princess of one of several underwater merl realms. While I feel for her as she goes through the massive trauma that is the first several chapters…I never quite connected with her. Her best friend is Neela, the princess of another realm – and I adore Neela. She’s so funny, and warm, and her obsession with sweets is SO relatable. I mean who doesn’t try to distract people from hard things by giving them delicious food?

The other princesses that they collect in their quest aren’t drawn out as fully, but they’re interesting and I want to know more! Ling, Becca, Ava, even cranky Astrid – they all obviously have stories of their own and they are all so beautifully different in backgrounds, their skills, even their appearances. I really like the fact that the sisterhood between them all is the main emphasis of the story. While, yes, there is a prince, and at first it seems like a romance is going to be a main part of the book – it’s not. Several times I thanked all the stars that Sera was not one of those heroines who got completely distracted by her crush from the rest of the world.

Plot :

The plot was all very dramatic…there’s a prophesy, there’s a dream, there’s magic…nothing all that new in the fantasy world. Again, at first I was about to throw the book across the room because it seemed all Little Mermaid-ish…but then people started dying and there was blood and spells and I was ok. Because every mermaid needs a little trauma to grow her up, am I right?

The romance completely takes a backseat after the first few chapters, and I have a couple of theories on what happens to Prince Mahdi. I’m really looking forward to seeing if I’m correct in the next book(s)!

Worldbuilding/Description :

Donnelly does an excellent job of creating an underwater world that we can almost see and touch. It sounds lovely and enchanting! Once all the explosions and stuff have died down, naturally. She has invented words and at least part of a language for these books, I believe. There are at least words in another language that I don’t recognize and that is only identified as an “age-old tongue.” So that’s AWESOME.

I didn’t enjoy the constant puns. I’m not entertained by puns in general, so maybe they’re really not that bad. But between the puns and just some awkward turns of phrase, I did a fair bit of eye-rolling.

- Money = currensea.
- “Getting our wrasses kicked!”
- “We don’t swim on ceremony.”

Just stop. No one is going to forget that mermaids live underwater. Seriously. Also, there are several instances where we are told what the characters are feeling. Such as “Serafina was so excited, she was talking a million words a minute,” and “Serafina, frustrated by Astrid’s unwillingness to talk…” I find that style of writing extremely irritating, but it wasn’t so pervasive that I couldn’t skim over it.

Rating :

Overall, 4 stars. Until the last chapter I was pretty sure it was going to be a 3.5 star book, but then that cliffhanger…I’m sold. I’m excited to see what happens in the next book!

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Profile Image for Emily Anne.
226 reviews254 followers
December 23, 2015
*I received this book for free from the publisher. However, all thoughts and opinions in this review are completely my own.*

Deep Blue is a clever, vivid, and adventurous read! I can already tell that the Waterfire Saga is going to be an epic ride. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to fellow book-lovers!

Going in, I expected to really enjoy the novel since I loved Jennifer Donnelly’s previous works. Fortunately, my expectations were met, although I have to say comparing A Northern Light to Deep Blue is quite hard. However, both are blessed with Donnelly’s wonderful writing! I absolutely loved her descriptions of mermaid life and customs.

The mermaids in Deep Blue are diverse and a lot of fun! I adored all the strong female characters. All of them are wonderful! That said, my favorite character would have to be Neela, Serafina’s bioluminescent best friend!

Also, I liked how this first book had minimal (basically zero) romance. The book focuses on Serafina’s quest and introducing us to the undersea world of mermaids! On that note, since Deep Blue is the first book in the series, it is basically an introduction to the entire setting, plot, etc. As a result of Deep Blue being an intro, I felt I lacked a strong connection to the characters. However, as I read future books, I hope that the characters will experience more character growth and I’ll be more invested in their stories.

The number one things I enjoyed about Deep Blue was Donnelly’s creativity. All the magic, singing, mermaid treats, river witches, and pretty ocean descriptions enthralled me. Also, I love all the fun mermaid words and exclamations such as merlfriend, currensea, and “Great Goddess Neria!”.

Overall, Deep Blue was a fun book filled with strong female protagonists and awesome details about the mermaid life under the sea! I would say this novel would entertain both YA and MG readers.

Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews306 followers
November 10, 2015
Fafa's Book Corner (Wordpress)
Fafa's Book Corner (Blogger)

This was recommended to me by my GR friend Alyssa ! Click on her name to read her review. A few years ago back when this book came out I thought that it was some silly mermaid book. I wasn't a fan of mermaid books so I thought that it would be best if I didn't read it. The synopsis didn't grab me either. Then I came across Alyssa's review I knew I had to at least give it a try. I am very happy to see that I enjoyed it!

The book starts off with a prologue. In the prologue there are some water witches who are performing a ritual/spell trying to keep a monster Abandon at bay. The witches then proceed to do a chant in which it is mentioned that six girls have to stop the monster.

The readers are then taken to Serafina who is waking up from a nightmare involving witches, a chant, and a monster. She is woken up by her mother. That night she will be tested to see if she is fit to rule and her betrothal to her best friends cousin will be official.

Her mother are her and are not close. Most of the time her mother is pressuring her to be perfect then other times she is disappointed in Sera. Sera is absolutely nervous about the night is going to bring. She has an unsettling feeling partly because of her dream and partly because she is going to see her betrothed after two years. At this point she is not sure whether or not he truly cares for her.

As she is about to get ready for the night she sees someone in her mirror. It was the woman from the dream. Sera thinks that this is impossible but as if she is in some sort of a trance she reaches for the mirror to follow the woman through. She is interrupted when a man with fully black eyes starts approaching Sera. He is about to come into her room when Sera screams altering one of the palace staff.

She decides to forget about what happened and stars getting ready for her test. She manages to get through the first test without too much trouble. As she has finished her second test the palace is attacked by assassins. Her mother ends up with a poisoned arrow through her side. Sera and Neela (her best friend) flee and thus starts their journey for the witches and the other girls mentioned in the prophecy.

While I sat there reading about the attack I was absolutely terrified! The action was unstop and it was extremely terrifying what all the girls went through in this book. And there are deaths in this book! I so did not except any of this! I thought that it was silly and boring mermaid book. I am so happy to be proven wrong!

Sera and Neela's friendship was so sweet! I was smiling like a fool every time I read about to two of them. Ling, Becca, and Ava were really nice as well. I don't know enough about Astrid to like her character nor dislike her character. I was so surprised by the tremendous growth that Neela and Serafina went through in this book. That doesn't normally happen in the first book of the series.

The idea behind the mer world fascinated me! I liked reading about waterwitches. The best part of this book are the diverse characters. Neela is an Indian, Astrid is from Greenland, Ling is from China, Ava who is blind is from Mississippi, Becca is from Atlantica (an ancient continent that formed about 2,000 million years ago) and I think Serafina is from Italy. Nearby her kingdom is Venice. The characters were also realistic.

The only reason that this isn't a five star is because while I love the overall plot of the series and the direction it's headed, I didn't love this book. But nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall this was a great read! I am eagerly waiting the sequels. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good mermaid series, fantasy fans, and a book series in which there are great female friendships.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
589 reviews1,029 followers
April 25, 2014
I had my doubts about Deep Blue. Honestly, I haven't ever read a decent mermaid book and I believe this is the best I've encountered so far. For the bucket load of characters this novel has, Donnelly did a brilliant job of giving the major characters some depth and backbone, which I really appreciated. Also, please note that this does read on the younger side of YA fic. Some events and dialogue felt juvenile, but didn't nag me too much. There isn't much romance, even if the start of the novel might make you think otherwise. For me, I liked the first half more the the second half, but both were highly entertaining.

There will not be a full review as my co-blogger, Blythe has reviewed this. You can find her review here.
Profile Image for Lovely Day.
713 reviews96 followers
July 14, 2023
DNFd in the prologue as it opens up with some kind of witch seance chanting the devil 😳
Profile Image for Rose.
1,880 reviews1,065 followers
March 2, 2015
Quick review for a somewhat elongated read (I ended up reading this in ARC and audiobook form, the audiobook narrated by Rae Miller). "Deep Blue" by Jennifer Donnelly is the first in an ongoing series about a mermaid whose kingdom falls into enemy hands, and she must rise above her circumstances to take back what was lost, with a little help from comrades she meets along the way.

To be honest, instead of classifying this as YA, I would almost say this feels like a middle grade book (though there are some dark, intense scenes in this and swearing that wouldn't necessarily belong in MG, so - it's kind of a toss-up for consideration.) There are a ton of puns and references, so much that they weigh down the story more than I would like, but for the sake of the narrative, I went with it.

Serafina (Sera) starts the book off a somewhat spoiled princess struggling to prepare for her coming of age ceremony and come to terms with her abilities (song spells) in order to take hold of the kingdom reins. She strives to meet her strict mother's expectations as well as that which her role as a Principessa (Princess) calls for.

But things take a turn for the worst as Sera's kingdom is invaded, and she is on the run for her life along with her friends Neela and Ling. In all, there are a group of six destined mermaids fighting against a ruthless enemy, using their abilities and rising to the respective calls - this narrative is just a precursor to their ongoing battle.

I'll say that this book was a struggle to get into, at first. I think it was because it took so long to actually get to the moment where the book hit the ground running with surprisingly brutal events, especially for the book's leading character. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this novel for many reasons - the diversity of the characters and their relationships, the very detailed worldbuilding, the losses the characters feel and brutalities of war among the mermaid realm that they encounter along the way.

But I also feel like this book could've flowed a bit better throughout the narrative - part of it I think was because it took so much time to set up the world and didn't flow with it as well as it could've. There were also some points where the narrative would lag in the journey between harder hitting moments. While the characters were many and diverse, I did feel like I was held at a distance from them in places, except for Sera, who showed a great deal of growth from where she started in the narrative to the ending point. I was glad to see that she was a character that learned from her mistakes and had plenty of opportunities to see her inner turmoil, both from the incidents and revelations she encounters, as well as moments where she's called on to rise to challenges.

By the end of the novel though, I can't say that I felt satisfied with it as a branching point into the next story. It didn't feel like a complete arc/standalone for the journey it offered, and I'll admit it was jarring to me for it to end on that note. Still, I'm intrigued enough to pick up the next work from Donnelly, for the level of development and offerings that were provided here. It's one of the better adapatations of YA mer novels I've picked up, but it did have more than a few caveats that I hope are addressed in the next book.

Overall, recommended.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Disney Book Group.
Profile Image for Bèbè ✦ RANT  ✦.
405 reviews133 followers
Want to read
February 5, 2014

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Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence...

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Story about sisterhood, bond, and trust.
Profile Image for Tandie.
1,481 reviews227 followers
April 25, 2014
89 page sneak peek only, I wasn't approved for the rest. Weird. Anyway, Deep Blue read quite a bit younger than I was expecting. The money is called CURRENSEA
and the opposite of a boyfriend is a MERLFRIEND. I must be a grump, because I found it corny instead of cute. I wasn't drawn in enough by 89 pages to finish it a month later when it's released. To be fair, I was expecting a dark tale, not a little mermaid princess.
Profile Image for Jennifer Parr.
Author 5 books118 followers
May 16, 2018
3.5 stars rounded up. I'm liking the storyline (I mean, mermaids!! hello!!!) and already have the next three books ready to binge the series. There are things that get to me, such as how, if they're mermaids, and obviously underwater, then dresses wouldn't "hang" on hangers and hair wouldn't fall around shoulders, like, where is the thought to how things move in water?
2 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2014
Another Jennifer Donnelly special - meaning that everything, and I mean everything (kids, dinner, laundry, grocery store) - went on hold until I could devour it. Deep Blue is just delicious - I was swept up from the very first pages into this story of fearless young mermaids who join forces to fight a monstrous evil. I loved everything about this book. In keeping with her usual style, Donnelly gifts her readers with an embarrassment of riches - gorgeous descriptions of a breathtaking underwater world, compelling characters that you can't help but root for (or against, as the case may be) and a storyline that sweeps you up into it so effectively that I sometimes felt I could not turn the pages fast enough. (But writing beautiful enough that I sometimes had to go back and reread a passage just to savor it - after I knew what happened, of course!)

And here's the best part: as the mom of a young daughter, I am gratified that someone bothered to write an intelligent story aimed at girls. The young mermaids in Deep Blue are not sitting around waiting for some prince charming (or handsome vampire) to sweep in and make them feel worthy - they are going out and fighting to save the world and their loved ones all on their own. They are independent, fierce warriors who value strength, loyalty, cleverness - they are everything I would like my daughter to aspire to be. BRAVO to Ms. Donnelly and everyone involved in this series for that. I hope it sells a hundred trillion copies.

My only complaint? As with all her books, I loved it so much that I powered through it in two days...and now I am sitting here waiting, foot tapping, looking at my watch...for the next installment.
Profile Image for Indya.
20 reviews30 followers
April 5, 2016
Sooooo another book is all done:) I actually read this book in 2 days but I put the the book up on here like Saturday so yea I'm super excited about that!!! I honestly really enjoyed this book even tho I was a if'y about but it was very entertaining and I would say I would highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to start reading or going into a reading slump. It something that u can go into and slip right bac out because it's not that long of a book, but I didn't really like I got not a lot of romance that is what I love most in books is the romance between the characters!!! Hopefully in the next book I will get something!!
Profile Image for Amy.
2,636 reviews417 followers
April 30, 2019
Good news: this series will prove quick to get through.
Bad news: I've got 3 more books to get through.

Actually, I overreact. This book was better than I expected. But rarely does good come from forcing myself through the favored YA series of a close friend. Either I lie about how much I like it and end up feeling guilty for the rest of my life or I admit to not liking it and lose a friend. So, see? It is a dilemma.

But I did kind of like this one. I went in with such low expectations that I found it pleasantly surprising how much I enjoyed the journey of Sera and Co. The book kept a brisk pace with multiple adventures and lots of snarky dialogue. Good YA, I would say. It felt like it targeted teenage girls but not in a bad way. And I do love all the strong females--even if I'm still a little hazy on who everyone is. (Astrid is the badass. That is the only one I need to remember, right?)

But the world-building. Oi.

It tires too hard. And it fails so badly.

First, tons of gibberish words thrown around with barley any context. I think the author means to world-build with them. But I don't know what a caballabong is or a bing-bang or a zee-zee or a JK-67 lava-bomb launcher and neither do you. Except apparently the joke is on us because the author is going to keep throwing words in there and we either limp along pretending to understand what is going on or just give up.

Second, even if the words have some inherent meaning, chances are the author goes and ruins them. Like, a hippocamp is a thing. (I mean, not really, but in mythology they exist as basically sea-horses.) Instead of calling them hippcamps, though, the author calls them hippokamps and then makes groan worthy comments about hippokamp tails (instead of ponytails.)

Third, this world makes no logical sense. I understand this book centers on mermaids which means suspension of reality. But the logic does not hold together. Mermaids dress in full gowns and cry and drink tea and bleed, for goodness sake, all underwater. How? Doesn't matter. Our heroine is 16. Of course she will burst into melodramatic tears when her feelings are hurt.

Fourth, despite pushing a heavy "evil humans destroying the ocean" message, the book is sooooo unclear about where it is set. Mermaids act sort of medieval but humans trawl the oceans in fishing vessels. So is this our present? The future? An alternate reality where humans adapted faster?
And where did the humans come from? I thought humans became mermaids because they could not live on the land anymore. It is just all so very unclear!

Overall, I would say a weird combination of underdeveloped and overdeveloped. There is not enough information provided about mermaid lives or mythology or culture (or at least, not enough information that actually makes sense) and far too much reliance on random words and 'oh look how clever I am' wannabe-puns.
Profile Image for A Book Vacation.
1,431 reviews716 followers
June 2, 2014
To see my full review:


If you’re looking for something completely different, I highly suggest giving Deep Blue a try. Unlike any mermaid novel I’ve read before, this novel takes readers on a chase across the ocean floor as Sera and her best friend attempt to reach the mythological witches from her dreams. As the oceans begin the ultimate war against an unspeakable evil, Sera is whisked away on an adventure that is both harrowing and awesome at the same time.

While I will admit the beginning moved a bit slowly for me, as events unfolded and the castle came under attack, the plot quickly picked up and kept my attention. As the plot thickens, we meet six mermaids who must come together and work as one to save the world as we know it, and while this novel only really dives into the circumstances leading up these mermaids ultimate meeting, it was a very fun ride.

Set to release in a series of four books, readers focus on Sera in this novel, and her story is one of immense interest. As she and her best friend flee from those who want to use them for evil, Donnelly ties in the land dwelling world as well, giving the story a realistic feel as readers truly don’t know what all goes on beneath them, in the depths of the oceans. While I personally don’t believe in fantastical entities, it was a lot of fun watching Donnelly make connections between our world and theirs, and I enjoyed the novel immensely once it took off. This is definitely a different, unique story—if you’re fed up with the mermaid tales of the past, then definitely give this one a try.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews52 followers
June 15, 2014
It just sucks because I usually can never even pick up a mermaid book. And if I do, I hate them. But I'm always such a good person and I always give books a chance. Having read Jennifer's Revolution and liked it, I decided to give this one a chance. Colour me surprised, this ended up being the best mermaid-based book I've ever read.

This was absolutely spectacular and I really liked it! Despite the negative comments and reviews about this being more juvenile based (which really didn't matter to me because there was romance and a beautiful plot and setting) I loved it so much. I now understand the beauty of mermaids and the hashtag #mermaidsarereal.

Serafina is the daughter of Isabella, who is the queen of Miromara. She is very nervous for her betrothal, but what really should be on her mind is winning Prince Mahdi's heart, who will become her husband. When an assassin poisons Sera's mother, Sera goes off to search for five other mermaids who are scattered all around the six seas to find sisterhood and love.

"Your voice comes from here." She touched the place over Serafina's heart. "It's a beautiful voice. I know. I've heard it. All you have to do it let it out. Show me your heart, Serafina. That's where the truest magic comes from."

This idea is amazing. Assassins and mermaids all squashed up together? YASSS. I give this a thumbs up right away. This is the type of book that you just want to scream and rave about because it's just that good. It's the sort of book that you're going to have to put a lot of time aside to because it's just so good and you'll feel like you'll want to finish it from the start.

The plot was very good from the start, and it started off very fast. At around page 80, the main event occurred and we got to the middle. This wasn't your ordinary novel that took 200 pages to get to the main point. Jennifer Donnelly is very good at captivating readers and not being able to let them go until the beautiful end where you just need more.

One of my biggest problems was info-dumping. Especially in the beginning, so much of the book was info and history and more info about mers and everyone. It got a little extreme for me and I couldn't really take it. There were times when I had to re-read a paragraph to understand the history. Some of it wasn't needed at all, and that bores the reader too because they just can't be able to stand it.

The characters were great. I loved Serafina so much. She was the perfect, kick-ass, kind heroine that every book deserves. She's likeable and you want to stay by her side the whole time through.

The merls just formed the perfect sisterhood all together. They shared an un-denying beautiful bond that is just unexplainable. From the start when they bet, they all loved each other and showed their stuff. :)

Some side characters were not needed and I felt like there were too many people to memorize. Too bad I realized that there was a guide at the back of the book in the end. .__.

In conclusion, this book was amazingly enjoying. It was so addicting and the plot and idea was fresh and new. I recommend it to everyone looking for something different and for people lurking for a great mermaid read. Go and get it.

Profile Image for K.K. Summer.
Author 10 books64 followers
April 27, 2016
I really liked the idea and the world/plot ... this was the first book in a series and there was little background to be honest but I hope this will come up in the sequels :) Even though I really enjoyed the story and can not wait to read more about the 6 of them :)
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