Monday, October 10, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: Deep Blue
Series: Waterfire Saga #1
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Pages: 340
Source: I listened to Deep Blue via audiobook though my local digital library.
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.
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

Deep Blue is the first book in Donnelly's Waterfire Saga. I didn't have much expectations going into this, but I do know that the series is well loved. I did have some issues with Deep Blue, but the pros outweigh the cons heavily. Let's get into it!

The first point I have to bring up is that this book is about mermaids. I don't remember the last time I read a book featuring mermaids, and I haven't thoroughly enjoyed one since Anna Banks' Syrena Legacy series. What I am really happy about is that this book wasn't cheesy in it's portrayal of mermaids. There was a solid culture that was prevalent throughout the novel, making the book much more believable. I loved how intricate everything is; you can tell Donnelly put in a lot of work.  

However, that is where  my main problems stem. There are so many names of people and places that I just got confused. I couldn't keep track of who was who, especially when the remaining four girls of the six were introduced. It took me a while to catch on, and it only stuck when I started reading the sequel. I couldn't get a good grasp on the world because of the bombardment on information.

Another thing that I didn't necessarily enjoy was Bea Miller's performance. To be honest, there was nothing that held me into the story. I found myself becoming easily distracted, and I had to plan time to read the audiobook. I think that I would have had a better experience if I read this in paperback. 

One thing I loved about the Deep Blue was it's take on relationships. Every single relationship, family, friends, romantic, and so forth was done so well. I value plot just as much as characters, and this was the saving grace for me. The female friendships among Serafina and her crew were so genuine. I loved that not every girl got along right away. Instead of being petty, the tension was over real issues, and I loved how the friendships were lifelike.  
Though I did have my flaws with Deep Blue, I enjoyed the book as a whole. I have already read the sequel, Rogue Water, so be on the lookout for my review! Deep Blue's plot was compelling, but there was a bit too much info-dumping for me to appreciate the world. The believable characters convinced me to continue with the series.

With that, I give this book
3.75 Stars! 

Have you read Deep Blue? What is your favorite books that have mermaids?


  1. Ive never read a mermaid book. I know most people are like BUT MERMAIDS, YES! I don't know, maybe if I tried it, I'd understand. XD The characters sound very good! And I love the blue cover. :) Great review!

    1. Soo many people just LOVE mermaid books. I don't see where the hype is, but I really enjoyed the aspect in this series. The characters are great! They each have their own distinct personality. Deep Blue's cover is amazing! It's what drew me in at first!

  2. I haven't read many mermaid books but they've always been fascinating to me so I've been trying to find more. This looks really intriguing especially in the relationships aspect that you mentioned. I'll have to read this sometime! Lovely review, Genni!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I've only read four I think. One was the Syrena Legacy trilogy and then another that I can't seem to remember the title of. I was very pleasantly surprised with Deep Blue and how genuine the characters seemed. Thank you Laura! :D

  3. I've been debating whether or not I want to read this book for some while now. I've had my issues reading other books based on sea-mythology and creatures, but I think I'll give this one a try!

    1. I hope you do! The sequel is much better than the first, so even if you feel 'meh' about the opening novel, I would say to push through. :) Happy Reading Erika!

  4. I love it when a book has great female relationships. This sounds like a good one, despite a few issues. I don't think I've read any mermaid books, but I really want to. I want to read this one and I own Monstrous Beauty that I still need to read too!

    1. Realistic relationships is something I always look for in the books I am reading. I hope you like this Erin! I've heard pretty good things about Monstrous Beauty. Good luck! :)

  5. This book has been in my tbr for a long time. It sounds like a good read and I'm glad you liked it. Great review.

    - Poulami @ Daydreaming Books