Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Series: Waterfire Saga
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
# of Books: 4 (Deep Blue, Rogue Wave, Dark Tide, Sea Spell)
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source: Public Library–Hardcover & eBook
Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:
Jennifer Donnelly is one of those critically acclaimed authors that I haven’t read too many books by. I only read her standalone, Revolution, which was fantastic, but since reading that years ago, I haven’t read anything else by her. I randomly stumbled upon this series, and when I read the synopsis I wanted to read it. It seems to me mermaids are a new trend in YA fiction but I’ve only read a few books about them so I was willing to give this series a shot.
But the biggest reason I wanted to read this was this line in the synopsis “Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas” — to me that means girl power. For once the heroine isn’t relying on a man or just herself but a group of 5 other girls to accomplish something. Sure, most paranormal novels have the BFF female sidekick but there is something about having a whole troop of girls working together that is refreshing to me.
Deep Blue is a bit of a subdued novel and part of that reason, I think, is that it is building up the world. When I started reading Deep Blue, I easily got sucked into the world. I love how Donnelly changed common, everyday idioms and modified them for a “water world”–it really added to the world that she was building.
The world itself is pretty straightforward but I found the various Latin names/terms were hard to keep track of. I found out when I had 50 pages left in the book that there is a glossary with people and terms at the back of the book so that helped keep everything fresh when I was reading. When an author adds a glossary, you can tell that they have really thought everything out for their story and Donnelly is no exception because the world of Deep Blue features a rich history for these characters and their kingdoms.
Which is why I say the plot was subdued in Deep Blue: because it consisted of smaller dramatic moments and not the epic events I expected. I thought finding the other heroines would have been a major affair, taking up most of the book but it isn’t. This book is more about setting everything up for the sequel novels, allowing the reader to get their bearings with respect to what is actually going on in the grand scheme of things.
And that sets the scene beautifully for Rogue Wave to sweep every expectation away. While Rogue Wave keeps with this smaller plot event scale, it throws in massive twists that I never saw coming. I also think it helps that we have more than Serafina’s POV to read. Serafina is an alright heroine, and her character growth is great, but she follows your typical “thrust into greatness” heroine role so it isn’t anything new. She never annoyed me but she definitely isn’t my favourite of the heroines we get in this series. She really has grown on me though after two books.
These books kinda took all my expectations and whirled them all around so that I didn’t know where this series was going. It doesn’t seem to follow any basic series formula (like you know how trilogies all build up but the second book is almost always a sleeper) and I find that refreshingly exciting.
One thing that really surprised me about this series is the lack of romance. As a romance fan by trade, it’s weird for me to not read about a romance but I think it goes back to what I said earlier about “girl power” and watching 6 heroines do a quest on their own. Still, I expected a dash of romance here and there but that really didn’t happen—though there is one dash for sure. In the end, its A-OK but just be warned that it isn’t very strong or a major plot point in this series.
–September 28, 2016– Book #3: Dark Tide
This was EXACTLY what I wanted this 3rd book to be!
It keeps the momentum of Rogue Wave going, creating a faster paced sequel with lots and lots of plot development. And even though it is definitely a bridging novel in terms of the plot, I never got bored with what was happening.
Everything is amplified just that little bit. The focus shifts further from Sera and shines on the other girls, developing their characters a little more which I greatly appreciated. We also get a touch more romance which is always a bonus–but I like that it never takes away from the focus of the story which is restoring the kingdoms.
All the foundations for a kick-ass finale are there and I can’t wait to read it!
–December 8, 2016– Book #4: Sea Spell
While this novel started a bit on the slower side (more talking than doing), it was still the perfect conclusion for this series!
Once you get reacquainted with the world, there are twists aplenty! This story is always moving and building, keeping your attention the entire time. I just loved how everything came together.
And girl power! We don’t get enough of that in the YA genre if you ask me!
In short: while the cover might be subpar compared to the rest of the series, this novel isn’t! A perfect way to end a fantastic series!
Series Rating: 4/5
Deep Blue 4/5 | Rogue Wave 4/5 | Dark Tide 4/5 | Sea Spell 4/5
Deep Blue is a slow but necessary book as everything really picks up in Rogue Wave; that’s because everything was set up beautifully in Deep Blue. So don’t be discouraged when you aren’t immediately sucked into this series. If you like adventure stories rich with mythology/ancient history featuring an all-girl cast this is a great series for you to pick up.
Read if You Like: girl power, world-building, mermaids
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance
- The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova (The Vicious Deep Trilogy #1)
- The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)
Synopsis for Deep Blue (from Goodreads):
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.
Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.