I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer DonnellyDeep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Saga #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 6th, 2014
Format: ARC
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
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.

Disney sent me Deep Blue in this super fancy box with a video trailer and a little mini making of movie. I’m going to put those two movies in first so that you can see them and then we can talk about this book.

There have been a ton of mermaid books that have published in the past few years. I don’t really think of mermaids as a MUST READ creature feature but I have read plenty of the offerings. Still, I wasn’t sure what expect from Deep Blue.

Where most of the YA mermaid fiction is more paranormal Deep Blue is contemporary fantasy and focuses a lot on the political and origin stories of the mermaids.

The book starts out with some of this:


Most of the time the book felt like a YA fantasy novel. There were times when the narrators were a bit more immature than the current young adult trending fashions. I did feel the characterizations took a major hit but this was made up for by the deep, deep, rich world building.

I am a sucker for facts and myths and world building. Reading this book was very enjoyable. They record histories and messages into conch shells. The dinners and foods sounded disgusting to me but oh so wonderful for a mermaid. The history of the mermaids was well thought out and plausible.

The writing was gorgeous and I found myself wanting to read it at times of the day where I normally don’t read. I took this book to lunch two days in a row and skipped my internet free time. I do think this is a book that will be more enjoyed by actual teenagers rather than adults like me that read young adult. I say that because of the bits of immaturity and drama and the lack of character building.

It seemed like each of the merls (girls) were given a few token flaws/issues/quirks and that is as far as characterization went. The characters did grow by the end of it all but not in leaps and bounds the way you would expect.

All in all I really loved reading Deep Blue and cannot wait to read book two. I think these merls are going to get themselves into a ton of trouble and I for one can’t wait to see what type of mermaid magic they will use to get out of the predicament.

If you’re a fan of world building and interesting political systems you will love Deep Blue.



Reviewer at Cuddlebuggery
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg blogged at Bookalicious for five years before she decided she'd rather hang out with the cool kids at Cuddlebuggery. She made many happy noises when they said yes. You can talk to Pam on Twitter @BookaliciousPam.
@LauraKreitzer thank you! - 2 hours ago

20 Responses to “Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly”

  1. Ehhhh… I’ll pass. I’ve actually never read a story about mermaids because it just sounds… silly. And every one I’ve seen has a strong romance element and not much story. If anyone has any mermaid recs throw ‘em my way.

    ★ Under The Mountain ★

  2. I have to admit…I skimmed your review because I’m desperate to see early thoughts but I have this on the pile to review so didn’t any real details. I’ve got to say I’m so happy you liked it! I have high hopes for this book :-) I love hearing this reads like a fantasy. Very excited! Might have to move it up the pile some :-) And that fancy box was delightful.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of The Forever Song by Julie KagawaMy Profile

  3. Wow! This book sounds really cool! I don’t mind political plots but they have to be engaging… and not predictable.
    The fantasy part looks amazing… I love the song in the book trailer.
    Great review Pam!
    Lena Marsteller recently posted…The Secret Side Of Empty by Maria E. AndreuMy Profile

  4. I want to read this book so badly! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :) Also those videos are really cool!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination
    Katrina Southern recently posted…Bookish Bingo! Sign-up Post.My Profile

  5. So I wasn’t sold by the cover… and definitely not that book trailer. It may have resolute my decision to shy away from this book even more. For some reason, I just generally don’t have a passion for mermaid books. (I love Little Mermaid though, so good gif :P) But I’m really curious about the world building and I’m absolutely dying to know their origin stories. So I don’t know, I might read this. I might not. LOL I’m just really conflicted…
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…A Monthly Round Up (4) : MarchMy Profile

  6. This book sounds really good. I actually sometimes really appreciate when there are books that cater to a somewhat younger YA crowd. YA seems to be getting more and more mature and heavy – that’s okay, but it’s nice to have other options too.
    Nicole Hewitt recently posted…5 Star Review – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary by Merriam WebsterMy Profile

  7. I am reading one where the beginning was really immature too – I hate that! Glad that it got better!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
    Missie recently posted…Divergent Movie ReviewMy Profile

  8. Awesome cover! I don’t much about fashion, but I think it looks cute.
    Tina recently posted…Carbon Monoxide MonitorsMy Profile

  9. I’m not a big fan of mermaid stories, although I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the first mermaid book I found in the wild was actually titled, “Fins Are Forever.” It might be a really good book, but mermaids will forever have such a juvenile connotation in my head.

    But then, I am a sucker for worldbuilding. I get a kick out of things like that.
    Shannelle C. recently posted…Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightMy Profile

  10. As far as mermaid books go, my first experience with Elizabeth Fama’s Monstrous Beauty was pretty awesome. Part paranormal, part historical fiction and part fantasy, it was rich with amazing world-building, romance and more adult-like themes. My next experience with Anna Banks’ book, Of Poseidon, however, was pretty bad. Suffice it to say, I’m about ready to release this trend back to the sea. I’m glad you enjoyed it though!

  11. I have a very love/hate relationship with mermaid books(more on the hate side). I’ve yet to read one that has been more than a 3* for me.
    But I’ve been interested in this one and you’ve intrigued me even more so by mention of the world building. :)
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life recently posted…Review: The Here and Now by Ann BrasharesMy Profile

  12. There’s so few water based books that get it right, whether it be mermaid or Atlantis type settings. This one sounds really good. Brilliant review and thanks for sharing.
    Kelly recently posted…Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta: An Aussie masterpieceMy Profile

  13. This is so exciting! I love mermaids and have been a bit disappointed by the iffy books and subsequent bad rap that they’ve gotten in YA lately, haha. I have this one to read, so I might have to find time for it sooner than I expected :D
    Anya recently posted…Updates from the Lair 4/05/14My Profile

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