I always knew this day would come. That just as my hair lengthened and my curves formed, I would make the transition from girl to woman.
Arianna is the youngest daughter of a siren. To become a siren herself, she must kill a man and sacrifice his heart to the God of the Deep. But she never expected to be assigned to kill a prince or to fall in love with him.
Torn between her family and her new love, Ari must decide what lies in the depths of her soul.
Jacque Stevens wrote her first novel as a stress relief activity during nursing school. Now, as a USA-Today Bestselling Author, she has taken a step back from nursing so she can spend all her time writing stories filled with elves, fairies, and all things awesome. She also is a freelance editor.
Jacque lives in Arizona where she can be found walking the streets with a dark and handsome young man who loves everything about her. He’s a shiba inu mix.
New friends, enemies, and wandering visitors from cyberspace can contact Jacque here: sjacquebooks.com or sjacquebooks(at)gmail.com.
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Depths is atmospheric and enchanting. A twist on a fairytale we all know and love.
Set in a Greek/Roman era, where not only one but three worlds are colliding, Arianna is a human girl who must prove herself worthy to become a siren, and that is taking the heart of a man. Set apart from others, Ari hasn’t ever really come in contact with a man before, and her mother and several other sisters have filled her head with horror stories. She grows up fearing and detesting men because she believes her family. Now, all she has to do is kill the Sun Prince to take her place in the sea.
What I loved:
The world-building was phenomenal. Stevens did an outstanding job creating a deep world, where we understood the laws, the way things were, and what was happening in it. There were so many little things that added up into a big picture. I appreciate all that effort. I also enjoyed the twist to the Little Mermaid here, where the prince must die in order for the girl’s wish to come true! There is also a side character who uses ASL, and I enjoyed the research the author put in to use proper signing. It was also a quickly paced story, which made it easy to devour in a few sittings.
What Left Me Wanting More: While the pacing was quick, it, unfortunately, meant some development's character-wise happened too quickly. I was hoping for a little more depth as far as Ari’s relationship with the prince went, and more development on their parts, but I have hope that in the sequel there will be.
Final Verdict: Depths is a great read for anyone who is a fan of retellings or The Little Mermaid. It’s a quickly paced fantasy read, with a promising setup for the sequel!
From all the fairytales existing, I think the little mermaid might be one of the most fascinating ones. Not just because it doesn't have a happy ending, but it's one of the few tales where first love is taught to be foolish and dangerous, that no man is worth changing who you are and giving up a part of yourself for. It's a fascinating and also a very important tale. And I'm glad more and more authors discover this tale and create versions to tell to new generations of girls.
And this retelling is quite unique. It combines the well known tale of the little mermaid with elements of the Greek Mythology and the Roman Empire. Although this society is clearly not MY kind of society, Stevens did an amazing job creating the atmosphere, building the city and culture and showing the values of this world. It's a harsh and brutal world, both under the sea and above it.
Our heroine, a girl who has to perform a ritual to become a siren like her mother and sisters, has quite a journey ahead of her and it's a pleasure to watch her grow and learn. She's constantly trying to match what she knows with what she sees. She's constantly learning, gaining new insight, growing, readjusting her interpretation of the world and its people, reevaluating how she has been brought up. At times the story FEELS a little slow, but it's mostly laying the fundament for a new hard choice our mermaid has to make.
But, one of the starring elements, if you ask me, is the use of sign language. Official sign language. The prince recognizes what she needs and goes find it. There are not that many books with mute characters that use sign language, but this book didn't just use it, it also describes it. I've learned a few signs by just READING a book. One of the few things books can do is normalize things we normally don't see or experience daily. I hope that books like this can really make a difference for sign language and can interest more people to learn it. Who knows, maybe one day I will take that course too!
I'm excited to read how the story continues, although the ending does feel kind of satisfying already. The story, if you ask me, could work as a standalone too.
Interesting concept, to retell "The Little Mermaid" in a fantasy world that mimics Rome and Greece, and following the ancient lore of mermaids as carnivorous seducers. I liked that the plot was faithful to Hans-Christian Andersen's tale, and that the author does understand what its moral is, and also loved the nods to Roman history.
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I find it slightly difficult to put this story into it's proper category. The choices and inner voice of the main character makes me want to suggest this for younger YA readers. Some of the themes, and the violence however make me hesitant to do so and would possibly be more suitable for older YA or NA readers. This is a clean, romantic fairytale retelling of the Little Mermaid, with some christian aspects and author's note at the end, and though it has a satisfying ending, this is not a standalone. First person POV.
Audio narration by: Caroline Turner Cole Some of the male voices grated me a little, but it was overal enjoyable and well done
Favourites: - Silence: the little mermaid losing her voice was always one of my favourite aspects of the story, and I was glad this retelling honoured it. It makes for some interesting situations and room for character growth. - Romantic turn around: I love our MC's eventual choice of romantic interest
What I missed: - Maturity: I think each issue I had with the story comes down to the fact that I was hoping for more depth. I would have liked to see her grow up a little from the fickle way of switching her loyalties and course of action, I would have liked more maturity in the original 'romantic interest' that didn't feel romantic to me, and I would have liked the amount of violence in the story to have a bigger emotional impact on the characters.
Sexual content: mild (no steam, nothing graphic, but there are quite a lot of references to sex and the objectification of both men and women) Coarse language: none Violence and gore: moderate to extreme violence though not graphic, mild gore
Conclusion I had fun with some of the aspects mentioned above, and I appreciated the ending where our Ari finally makes some mature decisions, but would have liked to have seen more of that sooner. I won't be continuing Ari's story, but I appreciate the opportunity to hear the conclusion of this one.
Depths was an interesting re-telling of The Little Mermaid with a nod towards the Greek/Roman era. Arianna is our main character and the youngest daughter of a siren. She is still human as she has yet to kill her first man and sacrifice his heart turning her into a siren like the rest of her family. I had to remind myself that Arianna is about 15-16 in this story since sometimes her immaturity would come up. Arianna meets a man who wants to discuss a deal with her mother and in doing so is introduced to the Sun Prince Erys. Erys is nothing like her mother and sister's stories about men and Arianna finds herself intrigued by him and somewhat falling for him. When she has a chance to help him escape her island she takes it, and in doing so Erys wants her to come with him and promises to look out for her. The rest of the story is more or less Arianna's struggles on deciding what she wants to do. Should she kill Erys and join her sister in mother as a siren forever? Or should she betray her family and stay in the new world that Erys has opened her eyes too along with her new friend Jonas? The story ends on slight cliffhanger and makes me curious to see how this trilogy will end.
I will say the one thing that I absolutely loved and I think Jacque Stevens should get major credit for, is that she stays true to Arianna "the little mermaid" losing her voice and being unable to communicate with everyone. To help cope with this Erys introduces her to Jonas who is also mute and Jonas teaches Arianna how to communicate with actual sign language. I loved that Jacque Stevens introduced this Jonas character and it really was a delight to read the scenes he was in. I look forward to more of his character and interactions going forward as well.
I received a review copy from Hidden Gems in exchange for an honest review.
This is a combination of the original The Little Mermaid and the Disney version of story.
So, in this book Ari is a human destined to join her sisters and mother as a siren, all she has to do is cut out the heart of a man and give it to their God. She has grown up on an island with just her sisters for company and their mother has always told them how evil and cruel men are. Now for the first time she can remember a man has come to her island and her mother did not insist on his death. This man has come to request that her mother kills the Sun Prince. Ari's mother thinks this is the perfect sacrifice to become a siren.
Instead of killing the Sun Prince, Ari rescues him and they escape her island. The prince is nothing like what she expected and she believes she has fallen for him, but she can't abandon her family. Her family still wants him dead so she expects a deal with their God so she can have time to figure out how to save him. When she finds him again she finds out he has to marry a princess from her mother's homeland, but is convinced she can make him fall in love with her even though she has no voice anymore.
The prince finds someone else who can't talk and has them teach him and Ari how to talk with their hands. Ari doesn't know what to do, the more she gets to know the prince and the princess he is to marry the more she doubts the beliefs of her family.
Find out how this adventure turns out for the Prince and Ari and her family. I really enjoyed the book and want to read the next one.
„Depths: A Tale of the Little Mermaid” by Jacque Stevens is a new retelling of the classical tale “The little Mermaid” by HC Andersen. I want to stress the fact that this is a retelling inspired by Andersen original tale that does not fall into the pop-pits of the well-known Disney’s versions.
In Stevens’ story Arianna is still a young girl, who still has not become a siren herself. To follow into the path of her siren mother, Arianna must offer a sacrifice to the God of the Deep, who in return would grant her life as a full-blooded siren. Arianna has been fully aware of her destiny and its moment of fulfillment at puberty. But as reality quicks in she is torn between destiny/family tradition and her new found love for the one destined to be sacrificed, because for Arianne to become a siren, she has to kill her love one and offer his heart to the God of the Deep, and thus Arianne destiny becomes a soul searching journey into the meaning of love, and to which ends she would be capable to go to fulfil her own desires.
Jacque Stevens have preserved Andersen’s atmosphere and his message and transform into a much modern version without adding any kind of unnecessary kitsch in the process. It is a fascinating tale about duty and desire, love and tradition and reaching own boundaries in the process. Everything has a price; this is the tale about the will to pay it and the consequences of not doing so.
About 3 hours ago I pulled this book up on my Kindle app thinking I'd give the first few chapters a read. I ended up unable to pull away, each chapter leaving me wanting the next piece of the story immediately. And now it's over and I'm sad there isn't already more!!
This story is a beautiful blend of familiar images and story beats, and new characters and elements that make for a 'The Little Mermaid' retelling like you've never seen.
To start with, our 'little mermaid' is part of a family of sirens, and she's the only human among them. As you'd expect, that trait is both her greatest weakness and greatest strength. She's caught squarely between the two worlds, and as she learns more about each, she gains the knowledge and confidence in herself to choose which she'd rather be a part of.
The story explores the definition of family, both blood and found. It defines different kinds of love one can have for the people around them, and how love is shown in different ways.
It also briefly digs into the relationship with religion. Characters in the story explain and question their beliefs, either in a Greek/Roman pantheon of gods or one god in particular. None of it in a preachy way, but in a very throughtful human way.
This is an absolutely beautiful book, and I cannot wait for the story to continue!
I absolutely loved this book! I have always loved The Little Mermaid and was horrified years ago when I learned how the original story played out. This one follows more of the original story with some of the authors own unique twists that for me really just made this a very interesting and addictive tale. This is Not the fluffy Disney version it has scary monsters, bloody/violent scenes, plenty of inner battles, more realistic emotions and falls in the darker fantasy realm. Once I got a couple chapters in I really had a hard time tearing myself away from it.
Parents- this is a story about Sirens they lure men to their deaths so there is a bit more violence, blood, mild language, along with talk of seduction and being pleasured yet without any true sex scenes. She does a good job of keeping this one pretty clean but when you add it all up I would say it's a PG13 rating.
The narrator did a great job, my only slight criticism is that I felt she made the prince sound a bit too young. If you are on the fence then just get it, you won't be disappointed!
—I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
This was a well imagined story, obviously rooted in history (the author’s note says she used Ancient Rome as a basis). The Little Mermaid was always my favorite tale. I have seen other reimagined stories of sirens but this one was unique and very interesting to read.
I quite enjoyed this very original take on the dark version of "The Little Mermaid". This tale was gritty, tortured, grim, which fits the kind of decisions that Ari had to face and the consequences that flowed from her decisions. Still, I also appreciated the potentially happy ending that the author gave Ari - every dark cloud should have its silver lining.
The Little Mermaid is one of my favorites, so I was excited to win a copy of this one from Goodreads. I really enjoyed this retelling. Looking forward to continuing the story in Graves, and reading others by this author.
A wonderful retelling of The Little Mermaid, this story is full of atmosphere and suspense. Well written with excellent characterization, the book grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. A brilliant contemporary treatment of a beloved classic fairy tale that makes the story new, all over again!
This was my first Jacque Stevens's book. This is the first book in the HighTower Little Mermaid Series. This Little Mermaid retelling is original, well written, and enthralling. The characters are well developed, and intriguing. I loved it. Caroline Turner Cole did a great job with the narration. Looking forward to listen to the next book in the Series, Graves.
This story was gorgeous and full of so much depth(I regret nothing 😂🤣). I loved Ari, and her arc. I loved the world, the lore of the sirens. The side characters were great too(the prince and Jonas and Helene!). I was worried the end would be a cliff (BECAUSE HOW WILL SHE FIX EVERYTHING) but it was actually very satisfying. I can't wait to dive into book 2! (I STILL REGRET NOTHING MUAHAHA)
Ari is like no other. She doesn't want to be like the rest of her family. Will she be forced to do their will? Will she be strong enough to be a force they cant defeat? I cant wait for the next book. A must read!
Ari is a princess of the deep but can she be more . When you only know what you are taught. The prince is bound by love and duty. This dark twist will have you reading on the edge of your seat until the very end of the book . I am very excited to read the next book . If you purchase this book you will definitely want to get the next book . Because Ari's journey into the deep is just beginning.
The original tale is more mermaid but sirens take over in this story. I like that it stayed true to the original but with it's own storyline. I like that they have a mom instead of a dad. And Ari may get her hearts desire if she can search her soul and find her true self deep within. Courage and strength will be put to the test into The Deep
Lies. It’s a reality that an entire ocean kingdom is built upon. It’s soaked in darkness. Its waters overflow with the blood sacrifice of many men, but this creature of the deep decrees it’s still not enough. She chants her twisted mantra that they deserved their bloody fate, because they are cruel beasts. She claims they are a monster breed that will take what they want as they please and toss aside the corpse, but she somehow never sees the true monster. There’s another reality though that her daughter, Arianna, has glimpsed. It’s soaked in light, the images that fairytales are built upon. It’s the belief that the world is kinder, and the happily ever after endings aren’t confined to a book. It’s the belief that love can be found because the princes of the storybooks could exist, and two people can share that magical connection that lasts forever. Two realities coexist as far apart as the heavens tower over the depths of the sea. When Arianna is given the bloody task of killing the prince and carving his heart out as offering to the God of the Deep to become a siren, Arianna must finally decide which reality to build her world. The scales drop from her eyes the more time she spends with the prince, and she discovers her storybook reality is closer to the truth that the tale she’s been fed for years by her mother. He’s everything she hoped for. Kind. Caring. Protective. Noble. He’s her heart’s longing, and she knows that now. She’s seen the truth, and she holds out her hand to grasp her fairytale ending. Yet her reality has its own distortions that she didn’t perceive. He is indeed everything she saw, truly possessing the heart of a prince, and so his reality dictates a different ending. One that’s unselfish and thinks first of what’s best to bring a lasting peace to his kingdom. In that moment, the heartbreaking cry that pours from her is echoed in our spirits. For it’s not hers alone. It’s the one felt when the waves of life dash your dreams against the rocks, and they’re broken to pieces before your eyes. When your eyes drown in a sea of tears as your attempts to put the shards back together prove beyond you. When you realize the future you hoped for could be toppled by one wave from the ocean of life. That your castle was built of nothing but sand. It’s where Arianna finds herself, along with so many others at some point in this life. She moved past the lies of her past, but can she bear to see the deception in her own vision? A choice remains. As she looks out to the watery expanse, it’d be easier to just let the stormy seas have their way, and allow the undertow to take her under. Let the lies, the darkness win the battle in the end. Or maybe it’s time she stood tall again against the roaring waves, brushed the sand off, and learned to walk on the water. Her answer? “My life might have been a foregone rite of blood and pain, but that would all end with me. The rest of the world could have their fairytale. I had found my purpose and my true voice at last.” Maybe not a fairytale ending, but it’s a vision that’s just right for what’s ahead.
I'm not a big fan of Disney, luckily this retelling of the original little mermaid is so much better... It has a lot of depths. From what makes a family, to men and women relationship, to first love (rejected) and it even tries to show how old Greek and Roman mythology was kind of integrated into Christianity to appease the pagan culture. Although there are more books coming, this is good as stand alone as the ending is satisfying.
I recieved this book via a promo code and this is my voluntary review.
In a twist on the original tale (not the cutesy Disney version) Ariana is the daughter of a Siren... a venegful woman who murdered her betrothed and sold her soul and his heart as a sacrifice to a Sea God for power and a new form. Her brothers became sacrifices and her sisters took the same path as their mother.... now it is Ari's turn to become a princess of the deep and make her own sacrifice. Her chosen target is the new prince of her mothers former betrotheds kingdom. Solis, a place not unlike Rome. They met, theres a shipwreck and eventually Ari has to choose between her family and her own heart. Learning to find her voice in a very different way she learns to speak her truth and what in her soul she knows she cannot do.
I loved the narrator, she brought the story to life emotion where sometimes the writing did not.
I didn't enjoy the authors note at the end, if I wanted a bible thumping lecture, I would go to church.
This was a wonderful take on a familiar tale with lots of intricate twists. It’s hard to put into words without spoiling too many plot points, but there’s a family of sirens, the youngest of which is still human and yet to offer the necessary sacrifice to transform to be a siren like her mother and sisters. She fears and hates men, but when confronted by a prince who wants to protect her, she begins to question the propaganda she’s been taught her whole life. My favorite bits were the way Ariana loses her voice and learns to communicate with hand gestures similar to sign language. I also loved the way the author wove in all kinds of different religions, from worship of the fickle and vicious sea god to worship of the one God. Ariana had a great character arc and I love the ending. Will definitely enjoy more from this author. I listened to the audible version and the narration was wonderful and immersive.
Depths: A Tale of the Little Mermaid by Jacque Stevens is a wonderful story to read. This is book number one in this wonderful start to a brand new series that I have loved reading and can not wait to read the rest of this wonderful series. I highly recommend this story to everyone who loves reading about fantasy and dark romance.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.