Reading level: YA
ARC: 370 pages
Release date: May 1, 2012
Series: The Vicious Deep #1
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.
When I was child, one of my favorite movies was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. So it comes to no surprise that I would be interested in this mermaid/merman book. There’s just something special and attractive about the ocean, and so I felt compelled to pick up this book. While I did enjoy the story and the mythology, it did have a few shortcomings.
I think my expectations were set too high and I was disappointed with the result.The actual story was very entertaining and the mythology of the merfolk was well thought out, but I was a bit disappointed with the writing. The pace of the story was very fast, and while sometimes that means non-stop action, in this case it felt like the scenes were rushed and unfinished. At times, it was hard to follow the storyline since the change of scenes was too quick and I felt lost entering a new one. I think the introduction of vampires was unnecessary and it introduced us to characters that didn’t have any real purpose. In my opinion, some scenes should have been cut out, while others could have used a little more expansion.
I did find Tristan Hart, the main character, a little egocentric but that’s to be expected with a teenage boy, especially when he learns he’s in line to be the king of the merfolk. And especially when he learns he’s a merman. Right until a freak storm hit Coney Island, he had no clue about his heritage. With a human father and a mermaid mother, he was raised as a human boy after his grandfather, the king, bound his tail when he was a baby. However, nothing could pull him away from the sea. A great swimmer and a beach lifeguard, you could say water runs in his blood.
Tristan’s relationship with Layla, his best friend, is typical in the sense that both want to be together but their long friendship prevents either of them from making the first step. Their almost-relationship is entertaining but my favorite characters have to be Kurt and Thalia, Tristan’s “mermaid cousins.” Thalia’s naivety about the human world is funny and Kurt’s a riot because he tries to be so serious all the times.
I’m anxious to learn more about these mermaids—oops—merfolk. These are definitively not similar to the ones portrayed by Disney. Some are absolutely vicious, while others will simply charm you senseless. Even if I’m not crazy about THE VICIOUS DEEP, I do plan to read the next book. Hopefully the writing will improve because the story has only just begun! Tristan’s quest to prove that he would be a worthy king will certainly bring new adventures to him and his friends. The cliffhanger at the end will definitively leave you hanging because if feels as if the author stopped right in the middle of Tristan’s “quest.”