Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)

18601430Author: Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
Shelves:  Fantasy-pr-everything-untoward, Let-me-down

Had I liked Deep Blue, I would have tried to sell it to you for its three elements:

a. Girl Power
b. Diversity
c. Puns

Had I liked Deep Blue, I would have tried to sell it to you for its three elements:

a. Girl Power
b. Diversity
c. Puns

As it so happens, the girl power aspect felt flat and juvenile, the diversity thingy was experienced only once or twice for turbans and saris and it didn’t really work, and the puns were disingenuous and stilted. Pooooooh!!!

Jennifer Donnelly’s writing leaves a shitload to be desired. The first few chapters of the story are unbearable. With flinchingly detailed and full of blistering imagery that doesn’t really work, it put me on my guard immediately. Paragraphs upon others go on to describe walls and beds and dresses that ended up halting my imagination each time I tried to conjure up a scene to match the story. Interspersed amidst this are pieces of information that seem to be of import but are never impressed upon the reader, moreover presented so spontaneously, it appears awkward. The puns in the writing are funny; however, they appropriate a lot of attention from the story itself. Moreover, there isn’t the sense to make it seem part of the world. Rather, I think it was added more to instill humor that it doesn’t quite manage to convey as opposed to fitting in with the merworld.

The world itself is expansive and works well with the current situation and century of ours; humans don’t intermingle with mers, but the effects of our lifestyle resonate deep into the merworld. While I would describe it as a thought-out and detailed world, it is incredibly absurd at times as well. Underwater cafes, hats etc- I don’t figure how they work underwater. What do they drink? How do their hats stay on- are there threads or whatever? On the other hand, bits regarding magic, why wand isn’t preferred but voice is to wield magic and other, showcase in which arena more time and thoughts were put.

AND the characters. DO I get to whine now? I was so serious earlier. Can I whine pleasepleaseplease? SO half-assed, so un-characterized, so bland. The creatures of Bikini Bottom have more personality. They make better mermaids.

The dynamics between them were instant and unfeeling; new characters acquainted themselves so well enough that one of our protagonists could almost seeeeee into their souls and dreams and fights. What crap. Conversations, on the part of our(you guessed it)MC’s, were unbelievably, hilariously, pathetically half-baked attempts at modern teenage-speak, in especial when they’re speaking with each other. I indeed admit that one degenerates in their manner of speaking, when one gets to converse with a long estranged best friend and there’s a lot of squealing and giggling and screaming and like and neglection of adverbs, adjectives involved. But NO. This book didn’t capture that, nor did it manage to create realistic characters- both princesses, despite what their diction might imply.

And pooh! Their characterization! No uniqueness or layers to them. No quirks of personality, hell, no personality! Just touching the surface of problems that a character in their position might face- being princesses and all. The obvious problems, that is. Like a collective noun. The abstracts of their personality and worries, frustrations that uniquely identify a character weren’t there. Like an ISP! Their ISP was missing. They could be anyone.

Everything was too instantaneous and prompt, the literary equivalent of the Knight Bus- the one from movies. It squeezes and rushes off and halts suddenly; nothing ever registers not only because it is all so swift, but also because you’re jerked around so. fucking. much. In Deep Blue‘s case, the stead of a blind driver and a bodiless, hanging-headed instructor is filled by the unpolished writing and puns. Our main characters are embroiled in a fight not theirs too suddenly, they accept new personages into their confidence too suddenly, they see into others’ eyeeeees too suddenly. Nah-nyah-nah-nyah!

(I have deep seated issues with conveyance of abstract stuff via eyes. THOSE PLACES ARE MEANT TO STORE DEMONS! GODDAMMIT! If you must, exchange demons when your eyes meet, not meanings and hints and secrets and dreams and hopes and shit.)

Again(you know it, I know it so let’s say it together) Pooh! The entirety of the novel feels too juvenile. And not in the way I like my juvenile books. Way worse. Which is surprising, given I LOVE childish stories, the sillier the better. Yet the adventures aren’t exciting or thrilling, new people and places discovered don’t ignite even a smudge of curiosity, puns don’t make me laugh. Which is surprising, given I LOVE to make lame puns. Also given these puns weren’t entirely lame; clever, in fact. Who woulda thunk of Currensea would be the system of money in the merworld?

I’m not judging Donnelly’s other books by Deep Blue and neither should you, if this is/was going to be your first venture into her writing. There are definitely plans for her books and one day(as in, the speculative one day; not when I finish this class, or all my remaining books kind of one day, nor 14th of May 2016 kind of one day) in my non-existential planner.

Thank you Hachette Children’s Books!



One thought on “Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)

  1. Yours is probably the third or fourth review of this book that echoes the same complaints: the world-building (that was too much that it became absurd and ridiculous. It’s laughable, many say) and the characters (bland, flat). Sometimes these things are quite subjective (as for me, I have a usually higher standard when it comes to world-building), but if so many people are ranting about the same things about a particular book, you know that there’s got to be something wrong with the subject in question… with that said, I’m not touching this one.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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