Publisher: Fire and Ice Books
Genre: YA Fantasy; Mermaids; Greek Mythology
#1 in Series
Ten years ago, she lost her leg in a freak shark attack. The night after her sixteenth birthday, she has yet to accept her awkward prosthetic limb or the fact she will always be different. Wary of the sea, and its hidden threats, she ventures to a bonfire at the beach. She’s mesmerized by its awesome power, wondering what she ever had to fear, until a rogue wave sweeps her into the cool, salty water.
Zoey believed mermaids were creatures of legend, characters in silly children’s stories, but it’s hard to ignore the captivating tail that’s suddenly appeared, or the sense of finally being whole. She abandons her life on land in search of answers about who she really is and where she came from.
What she discovers is a kingdom full of intrigue and danger, as well as a royal father she never knew existed. Settling into her role as a mermaid princess, she learns her family is under attack, both on land and in the water. Raging storms swell up, threatening coastal cities, and sea levels rise practically overnight, endangering the lives of everyone she loves. Determined to stop the strange phenomena, Zoey becomes caught up in the race to track down what, or who, is responsible for the catastrophic events.
But, Zoey possesses another secret, one born of legend and more powerful than any mer or human can imagine.
Into the Deep is a welcome addition to the (sadly small) canon of YA mermaid novels out there in the world. Although is certainly has its faults, I quite enjoyed Into the Deep and reveled in the wonderful world and mythology Missy Fleming created. Being a mermaid lover (not a joke, I thought I was a literal mermaid for the first 7 years of my life---that's a story for another time, though) I am always eager to gobble up mermaid stories and this one left me satisfied and definitely interested in more.
The beginning is the problem.
I'll admit, getting into this novel didn't happen easily for me. The first few chapters were just build up, teasing us with information that we already know just from the description of the book. There was no suspense in Zoey finding out she was a mermaid or in her wondering what was happening to her because I already knew. So instead of sitting there are mirroring Zoey's curiosity, my thought process was more along the lines of "Yes you're a mermaid. Yep. Mermaid. No, that's not really that weird because oBVIOUSLY YOU'RE A MERMAID." The beginning just felt like it was happening because we needed the exposition of Zoey finding out this life changing information. Because of that, it felt flat and I couldn't get a feel for Zoey's personality, or really any of the other characters.
Things are looking up!
However, all of this pretty much disappeared once Zoey ventured to the undersea kingdom. From there Missy Fleming really flexed her muscles as an author and created a vibrant world of mermaids and customs that mirror our own, but are fundamentally different. I loved the fact that the mer people weren't what we typically imagine mermaids to be, physically at least. They painted their bodies and dyed their hair in bright shades. A little later on in the story when we find out the origins of the mer people I was pleased to find that Greek mythology was woven into the plot. This is also when I felt Zoey was become more fleshed out as a character and her personality started shining through.
Characters don't always have character.
I really came to like Zoey and was able to connect with her, and I was also incredibly fond of her father Stavros, who is the king. The building of their relationship gave the book some of its sweetest moments. And while I felt that the immediately important characters like Nerio and Xander were also well written, the rest seemed to fall into archetypes and didn't manage to come to life outside of that. Zoey's grandmother felt like she was just there to be the "wise maternal figure," Magdalena and Eustice filled the "evil stepmother/daughter" roles and didn't feel like they had any motivations for the way they acted other than because they needed to be that way to fill a character stereotype. Not all of the characters were like this, in fact there were quite a few smaller characters that I felt had dimension even though they were only in the story for a short amount of time, such as Nerio's family.
Into the Deep was well-written with a clear and concise writing style that allowed me to read quickly without getting bogged down in any wordiness. Despite the few drawbacks I noted, I enjoyed reading it and will certainly be looking forward to future novels to see where Zoey's journey ends up. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
About the Author
This review copy was provided for free in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed above are solely my own.