Goodreads:Serefina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.
The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.
I'm not quite sure what I expected from Deep Blue, but this wasn't it. I did expect lots of action and mermaids (obviously) but this wasn't quite what I was looking for. You definitely get the cliché main character ruler who doesn't want to disappoint her parent, parent dies in battle, and she must rise up. You get lots of mythology (which is cool) and it's modern day so you also get the struggles of what is going on with the ocean with fishing and pollution (which is also cool).
Serafina is an interesting character that I want to love so much, but she is just the ultimate cliché. There is the cliché that I mentioned above, as well as the added fact that she is a princess who chafes against court, rivalry with one of the ladies-in-waiting, feels like she doesn't belong, duties of a ruler, etc, etc. The romance I feel like is going to be very predictable as well. I'm going to put out my theory here so *SPOILER ALERT*. I think that Blue is Mahdi in disguise. Serafina is totally falling for Blu and he confessed to hiding his true self as well as describing his "ex-girlfriend" which could definitely be Serafina. This is definitely a set up that can be seen a mile away. *END OF SPOILER ALERT*.
The plot of trying to save the oceans from a major monster who could destroy the world is very intense but I feel like Donnelly could pull it off if she does the rest of the series right, with significantly fewer clichés. The fact that Serafina and five other mermaids have to come together to do this also sets up the series for one that will be long (very clever marketing strategy), especially since they all separated at the end of the book. I'm not sure if I'm going to follow the rest of the series, but I feel like there's a lot of potential here and I want to see where it goes.
Quote of the day: "Whatever you do or dream you can do - begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." - Jennifer Donnelly, Deep Blue