Saturday, May 16, 2015

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Cover image for Deep blueIt has been a long time since I posted.  I started a book, got a third the way through, and had to quit because the writing was so bad.  Then I started two other longish books, neither of which I particularly liked.  It takes longer to get through a book if you don't like it.

This was one of the books.  Serafina is a mermaid princess, just about to go through a rite of passage marking her ascension to the thrown.  As soon as the ceremony is over her kingdom is attacked and she sees her mother, the queen, (this is a matriarchal society) mortally wounded.  She is forced to flee by advisers who want to preserve the royal line.  Thus she starts a quest to find and stop the evil force that is terrorizing all of the Mer-kingdoms.  During her quest  she meets 5 other mermaidens  who, like her, have been lead by dreams to seek out the sea witches for help.  It sounds like a good story, right?  In many ways it is.  The plot is interesting and well paced, and Serafina is endearing and has good character development.  The problem is that Donnelly keeps forgetting that this is all taking place under water. Almost every chapter something happens that made me think, "wait, how does that work in this setting?" and it jerked me from the excitement and flow of the story.  For examples, repeatedly in the story they drink tea from cups, or eat stew from bowls.  How could you drink any liquid under water without it just diffusing in the water?  Sometimes it talks of a drop of blood running down the person's hand, or a tear filling their eye.  The author never really embraces her setting.  It would have been so fun if she had and was able to show us how merpeople drink tea. And where was her editor to catch all this? I kept thinking of my friend, Sheila, who wrote another mermaid story, Forbidden Sea.  She wouldn't have made these mistakes.  (340 p)

1 comment:

  1. I admire that you even finish books that don't catch your interest. Good for you. As you were talking about the underwater setting thing, it made me think of SpongeBob, who makes fun of itself because of this very fact. SpongeBob does it for the laugh of course, I'm guessing that that wasn't the case in this book.