Book Reviews

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly


Deep Blue starts off by introducing Serafina, the current principessa (Princess) of Mirromara. She has been having terrible nightmares recently of a great evil trapped inside a cage, trying to escape and has been called by the Iele, the River Witches, as one of the six to come to them and eventually save their world. However when she wakes up she always brushes it off, as the Iele aren’t real, they are just stories made up to frighten young mermaids into behaving. She has a big day to plan for as it is the day of her Dokimi, which will show her to be the future rightful ruler to the crown of Mirromara, and it involves many challenging tests which she must pass.

The first part of the Dokimi is referred to as the blooding, it involves a monster spider names Alitheia testing the blood of the participant and deeming them Merrow’s descendent. If they are an impostor, they will be killed and taken by the spider back to her lair.

The second section involves casting an incredibly difficult songspell (magic that is cast by singing) to depict the origins of the kingdom and what the new ruler shall bring to the table.

The vow involves a betrothal that will benefit the Kingdom (in this case to the Crown Prince Madhi of Matalis) and Serafina’s promise to her people that she will one day give her realm another daughter of the blood.

However during her Dokimi tragedy strikes and her entire world is turned upside down. She must now believe that she has been summoned, along with her best friend Neela, Princess of Matalis, and 4 others to go to the Iele and protect their world from even more danger.

“Never sit down at the negotiating table with cannibals, least you find yourself on the menu”

The quote above captures one of the things i most enjoyed about the book, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is riddled with puns and humour and is a pleasure to read. I haven’t read to many mermaid books, however this has made me wonder if that has been a mistake. The vastness of the world that Donnelly has built is incredible and it makes me wonder if we will be able to find out more detail about the other places she has mentioned. I really enjoyed the origin of the mer-people coming from the destruction of Atlantis and the six mages that ruled pleading with the Goddess Neria to transform their people and give them sea magic.

A lot of people have complained that the first quarter of the book presents you with too much information, i disagree, i feel that the information needed to be presented in order to understand the politics and seriousness of the situation at hand. Without all the information the events later in the book wouldn’t make sense and i really enjoyed the world building happening earlier so i could enjoy the story and events that unfolded.

 I wish we had gotten to know a little bit more about the other “chosen ones” other than Serafina and to a lesser extent, Neela, and get a bit more backstory about them. What are the other realms like? Neela indicated that only Miromara undertook the Dokimi, what sort of traditions take place for their royalty? Also how do all these realms perceive each other and what will happen with Astrid and Ondaline?

However i’m hopeful that this will be covered in the next two books, with the final book probably being more about the showdown with Abbadon (the great evil).

Also i cannot wait to see what happens with Serafina and her Kingdom and a bit more about her potential romance with Madhi. He didn’t really get much plot time in the main book so will we find out more about his playerish ways, or was this an act? Will he reconcile with Serafina? There are so many questions left answered!

Overall i feel like this book opens up a world of exciting adventure and i cannot wait to read the next in the series and see where that takes us!

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Thanks for reading,

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