Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Length: 313 pages
Source: Library Book
Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled-powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.
Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.
Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.
As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.
Protagonists: After learning about their destinies Serafina and the other mermaids descended from the Six who Ruled much search for their ancestors' talismans in order to enter the prison where Abaddon is being kept and defeat him. I was really disappointed to discover that while Ling makes an appearance for some of the book, only Serafina and Neela have chapters told from their perspectives. I was hoping and expecting that after the first book we'd see a wider range of perspectives and be able to learn more about these other mermaids. That being said though there isn't much to be done about it and from the looks of it we'll check in with the other mermaids before too long. In this book though Serafina seeks to discover more about the talismans and where they were hidden and Neela heads home to try and warn her parents of the incoming danger and to regroup, however they both encounter roadblocks on their path and need to find new strengths within themselves in order to succeed.
Romance: I honestly wasn't expecting as much romance as this book had. I'm not too sure what I can say and what will give away what I'm trying to avoid saying, but here goes. First off the only one of the six mermaids to have a romance in this book, that I caught on to, is Serafina, and her romance is complicated in more ways than I can easily explain. First off there is the fact that she feels like she's falling for Blue while she's betrothed to Mahdi, but she's not sure of Blue's condition after the raid that Sera and Neela barely escaped from. Then there's the fact that Sera does still have feelings for Mahdi, but he's not the same as he used to be, and now she's not quite sure where her heart lies. Before I go too far and ruin something or everything, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the romance in this book. I was really able to see where I wanted Serafina's romance to end up, and was able to really root for where it's going.
World Building: Now we're going to talk more about the fact that aside from some scenes with Ling the only two of the SIX main mermaids that we see are Serafina and Neela. I have nothing against those two characters, in fact since getting to know them so much from the previous installment I really like them. That being said though, since we only get two POVs for some reason the story feels smaller than it should be. Granted we find out a lot about the talismans and where they might be, but I can't shake this feeling that this book isn't quite a complete story or installment. I mean I know there are two more installments in the series so it wasn't like I was expecting the entire story to end in this book, and there's enough accomplished to where I feel as though I can't call it a filler book, but it more feels like part one of two for a standard installment. I don't quite think this is a bad thing, but that almost empty feeling doesn't really make it a good thing either.
Predictability: Don't you just love it when you predict a large twist an entire installment before it's revealed? I mean seriously I did that with at least TWO twists in this book. That's not to say that this book is extremely predictable, there are twists that blew my mind because I didn't see them coming, and there were other things that were just unexpected. Even with the twists that I called an entire installment before, there were still aspects of those twists that caught me off guard. By the way those are some of my favorite twists, when you believe you have everything figured out only to realize you don't know the half of it.
Ending: I think one of my biggest problems with this book, and why I didn't feel as though it was an entire installment and only felt like part one of two was the fact that the final climax of the book was such an internal and passive thing. I don't mind books where there's no big battle at the end of the book, but I always expect some final confrontation whether it be physical or mental, however in this book it was a lot more political. We discover so much more about the schemes going on in this ocean and that all leads up to discovering who's really in charge in one of the best twists I'd ever seen.
This might be unfair of me since I did really enjoy the book, in fact I cannot wait until I get to the next installment, however there was just something lacking, whether it be too little POVs or no real final confrontation, I just didn't feel right giving this book 5 stars.