This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.
Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly
Published May 1, 2014 by Hachette AU
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
From the blurb: On the morning of her betrothal, Serafina's biggest worry should be about her reunion with Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead, she is haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil.
Then the city is stormed by assassins.
Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend, Neela, embark upon a quest to find the army's leader and prevent a war between the mer nations. They must search for four other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas.
Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten their world's very existence. Then the city is stormed by assassins. Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend, Neela, embark upon a quest to find the army's leader and prevent a war between the mer nations. They must search for four other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten their world's very existence.
Sixteen year old Serafina is the principessa of Merrow, a kingdom of merpeople in Cerulea, located in the Adriatic Sea. On the day of her Dokimi, a ceremony to verify she is a true descendant of Merrow, her kingdom is attacked. She and best friend Neela escape and use their witch-haunted dreams to guide them on a quest to find the Olt River and the four remaining girls in the prophecy.
I've not had much luck with mermaid books in the past but I enjoyed Deep Blue a lot. The underwater world featured in the story is described in detail and gave me a vivid image of the setting. The merpeople speak mermish and a lot of the words had an ocean-theme to them which was fun and often made me smile. There were also a lot of human words and items, but this made sense to me as the merpeople in this story were descended from the people of Atlantis.
The only negative for me was the third person perspective, I always find it hard to really connect with a story and the characters when this is used, but I was still able to understand Sera's feelings even if I wasn't as fully connected as I would have liked.
The story, like a lot of fantasy stories, has royal families, and this comes with the usual pressure regarding appearance, behaviour, and future plans. Serafina definitely feels the pressure placed on her, especially by her mother, Isabella. But she has one person she can confide in, Neela, her best friend. I loved the friendship between these two girls, they were always supportive of each other, and each bought different characteristics to their relationship.
The story is really friend-focused and it was nice to see romance take a back seat. Sure, there are romantic interests for Sera, but once her journey begins, they were forgotten in favour of more important things, like saving the world. The prophecy revolves around six girls, so of course there are four more to meet along the way, it was great to see them bond and to find out their stories. It was also cool to see a bunch of nationalities featured; Neela is Indian, Ava is Portuguese, and Ling is Chinese.
The magic was also a lot of fun, and it’s no surprise that it often reminded me of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The girls sing to cast songspells and each time they sang I thought of Ariel singing her voice away to Ursula. I found this world creative and unique, and was impressed that I could find these qualities in a mermaid-themed YA book.
Not only is Deep Blue full of friendship, magic, and adventure, but it is also packed with action, travel, and danger. The end wrapped up well, but it also left me curious about Astrid’s secret, and the whereabouts of Isabella, Blu, and Mahdi, so bring on book two!
Thank you to the lovely people at Hachette for my review copy.
I adore this gorgeous underwater cover and knew I had to do my nails to match.
I started with one coat of Ulta3 Lily White as a base.
I used acrylic paint for the rest, first I covered each nail in a medium blue, then I sponged on two darker shades of blue.
I painted 4 of my nails with the city of Cerulea and some vegetation, using a fine brush.
I painted Sera on my ring nail also using a very fine brush, and added some dots of silver using a pointy dotting tool.
I love this look, it’s one of those manicures that took a while but was worth the effort!