Author: Tracy Deebs
Genre: YA, paranormal, urban fantasy
Publication Date: June 5, 2012 (expected)
Summary: Tempest Maguire is happy with her decision to embrace her mermaid nature and live among her mother’s clan within the ocean’s depths. Even though training to one day ascend the throne for the aging mermaid queen is rigorous, she finds refuge in the arms of Kona, the selkie who first opened her up to her mermaid side. But when word comes that one of her brothers has been gravely injured on land, Tempest immediately rushes to his side—which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. And in her absence, a deadly battle begins raging at the hands of Tempest’s old nemesis, the sea witch Tiamat. As the dangerous war erupts, Tempest’s two loves—Kona and Mark, sea and land—will collide for the first time, both to protect her and to force her to choose.
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a solid sequel, but still lacked something…
Review: While this is a solid sequel to the first book, I guess I’m still just not feeling this story. While so many of the elements, when taken apart separately, make it awesome, when put together, not so much. I found this one suffering from a bit of middle book syndrome, as well as more instalove and rampant YA love triangles (seriously guys, when are we going to stop using these?). Tempest is a dynamic character, but I feel like she severely watered down (no pun intended) in this installment of this series. A fun read? Definitely. Just not the one I’d been hoping for.
Okay, one thing I will admit saved the book – Tiamat. While she’s a bit on the 2D side when it comes to supervillains (even the most supernatural of them should be humanized to some extent – those are the stories I find myself enjoying the most), her totally over the top evil power plays against Tempest were some of the best bits of the book. But as for making her feel like a real person, I feel like Deebs still has some serious work to do. While she definitely made Kona and the merQueen real people in this one (a vast improvement from the first book), I found that as a major player, Tiamat still felt a bit neglected. While she becomes part of a hugely plot-driven story, her own character arc (even if we don’t experience it, since Tempest is telling the story from first person POV) was severely lacking. While we did get a few Big Reveals, it just wasn’t enough to make her feel real.
The world, though, also got greatly improved. About 75% of this book takes place under the sea, so we got a great look at Deebs’ take on mermaid/selkie politics, royalty, and court life. I really liked how the world was expanded and explained, and Deebs does a great job with sensory language and imagery when painting a picture about what life is like in these mer-and-selkie courts.
But what really kind of dampened the fun for me here was the love triangle aspect. Really. Seriously. Tempest, we need to have a talk about your love life and how love triangles won’t help you defeat sea witches – and isn’t surviving a sea witch attack, or even beating her for good more important than your boyfriend? It felt like the love triangle cheapened her quest to help save her brother, save the kingdom, and protect the sea from Tiamat and her henchmen and I seriously hate it when that happens.
Final verdict? If you liked the first book, you’ll probably like this one, too. But since I’ve really had it with YA love triangles, I may just not read book three unless some major changes are made. Seriously. But you can check out “Tempest Unleashed” when it hits stores on June 5, 2012 in North America. It’s definitely a fun summer read, even with the more frustrating bits, so I’d give it a try if I were you.