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Monday, August 4, 2014

Into The Deep by Missy Fleming (Review)

Young Adult, Fantasy, Mermaids
Publication.Date  October 23rd 2013
Published By:  Fire & Ice Young Adult Books
AuthorMissy Fleming

Into The Deep on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

No one understands the fury of the ocean like Zoey. 

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.


"I'm most worried about what I'll end up sacrificing if I choose to stay and offer assistance. What will become of my human self? My humanity? My heart?
I'm only a tiny speck in this vast ocean. It humbles then frightens me and I scan every miniscule thing, searching for danger.

        When she was only 6, Zoey has lost her leg in a shark attack. Ever since then, she never quite felt like she belonged anywhere. Especially not on the sunny coast, where girls wear short skirts and flip flops. At the beginning of the book, she refers to herself as "a scarred, broken version of who (she) was supposed to be." Her mother, blaming herself for Zoey's near-death experience, drilled into her an overwhelming fear of open water. Zoey is under no circumstances allowed anywhere near the ocean, or even a pool for that matter.

     But then one day something weird and totally unexpected happens. When Zoey sneaks out to a bonfire party at the beach, and is swept away by a rogue wave, she discovers that she is really a mermaid. And like that wasn't enough of a jaw-dropping discovery, she then learns that her father is a king of mer kingdom (which makes her a princess), and she has exactly one year to decide whether she wants to live her life on land as a disabled human girl, or if she'd rather become a mermaid for good and possibly rule the mer people in the future. Not an easy decision to make, considering she now has to choose between breaking her mother's heart and facing the evil merwitch, Calandra.

     This was probably the first mermaid novel (at least from those I've read so far) that explored the technical aspects of discovering you're a mermaid. I loved all the details! It was really cool to read about the MC's first impressions as her leg turned into a tail and she took her first breath underwater. It was all delightfully written. I especially enjoyed witnessing all the big changes in Zoey. Spending time underwater makes her feel whole again. For the first time, she feels brave and adventurous, and open to these new, exciting (even possibly life-threatening) experiences. I guess reading about Zoey's first moments in the ocean, and how the ocean life reacted to her presence there, was my favorite aspect of Into The Deep.

     I was anticipating the moment Zoey would finally meet her father for the first time, I thought it would be a great and possibly life changing experience for her and I couldn't wait to see how these two would get along. And to be honest, I was a bit disappointed by how it all played out. Aside from one afternoon when Stavros was showing Zoey around the palace, we didn't really get a whole lot of mer-dad and mer-daughter bonding time, and that's understandable I guess, considering daddy is now a king and there's trouble brewing in the ocean, but I still hoped for more there. Instead, Zoey seemed more interested in the sexy Nerio, as if he was the reason for her being there, not her father and her newly discovered mermaid-ness. I don't know why, but this bothered me. I guess it just flattened the plot line in my eyes, making it a bit more shallow and teenage-y. Or maybe I'm just old and cranky?

     While in the mer kingdom, Zoey learns about her new family, as well as merkind in general. She learns about the history and origins of the mer people, and how the royals are the direct descendants of the God of  the Sea, Poseidon. She also learns a couple new tricks and how to use magic to control the ocean and communicate with fish. Fleming's descriptions made all that very easy to picture and I really enjoyed those magical moments.

     Overall, Into The Deep was a fun and entertaining read. Aside from a couple slower moments, I enjoyed myself quite a lot. The characters were interesting enough to hold my attention, the plot line, while perhaps a tiny bit predictable, was overall nicely put together, and I particularly liked how the author has woven some Greek gods and goddesses into the story. As far as mermaid novels as concerned, this is definitely a good one, though I'd probably recommend it to younger teens! 

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