Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Deep BlueA review by Elizabeth Manthos

ISBN: 9781444921205
Publisher: Hachette Childrens
Format: Paperback, 320 pages

Deep Blue is set deep in the ocean exists a world not so different from our own, a world filled with merpeople, their communities spread throughout the oceans, seas and freshwaters all over the globe.

This story though begins with Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, a princess to be precise. The day of her betrothal dawns. Her biggest worry should be winning the love of her crush, the handsome Prince Mahdi, but Serafina is haunted by strange dreams and dark premonitions that foretell the return of an ancient evil.

The foreboding nightmares are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Serafina must now embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war from engulfing the Mer nations and the globe. Led by her dreams, Sera must search 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.

While I love Jennifer Donnelly’s books, I was looking forward to this novel and I was impressed with this, for about 75% of the novel. The first 25% of the novel was a huge infodump and filled with a ridiculous amount of puns. I don’t mind puns, but when the first 25% of the novel was filled with them, it becomes a bit repetitive and annoying. For example money was called “currensea,” transparency spells were “transperansea,” caramel was “caramalgae” and dolphins speak “dolpheen”.

While the story was good and the idea behind it was great, this just didn’t seem to fit into the YA category, it seemed written for a younger audience.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, there were fantastic elements like a matriarchal society, strong female friendships and lightness on the cliche romance, but the story lacked depth (no pun intended). Being the first in a series, I hope that the future three novels progress into something with a bit more depth.

Some of the characters were well thought out while others seemed shallow. Princess Serafina started as a shallow character who seemed to gain some sort of maturity after the attack on her mother and searching for the other five mermaids, but others seemed to stay as shallow as they started.

While I generally enjoyed Deep Blue, it was an easy read. I wouldn’t really recommend it to a young adult audience (what I view as 15 and up); I feel it would be better aimed at the age group of 10-13 year old girls. I highly recommend not only this book, but this whole series to all YA lovers.