Sunday, May 15, 2011

MerBook Review: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Tempest Rising is the story of a teenage girl who discovers she is destined to become a great and powerful mermaid. Being obsessed with all things Mer-related for all my life, I'm picky when it comes to books about the merfolk. But I can now strongly attest that Tempest Rising is my favorite mermaid book of all time!
I really loved the main character of Tempest. She felt very human, despite being half mermaid. She knows from the book's opening that she is a mermaid and destined to become one. However, Tempest doesn't want to be a mermaid. She's got her younger brothers to look after, aspirations to become an artist, and, well, she's also got surfing, a boyfriend, and good friends she doesn't want to leave behind. All this made Tempest complex and meaningful, not just another cardboard cut-out of a character. Her dreams and aspirations were known, and the reader can't help but feel sorry for her.

Something else I loved about the novel was Tempest's refusal to become like her mother. She doesn't want to make the same choices her parent did, and for most of the book Tempest resents her mother for those choices. Watching Tempest grow and develop made the reader develop along with her.

Another thing about this book that was a refreshing change: in a world where paranormal romances
usually feature half-naked heroines slaying evil creatures without blinking an eye, Tempest actually feels guilt when she has to kill someone in self-defense. And she doesn't just get over that guilt; it still plagues her even after the book comes to a close.

As for the writing, Deebs has a lyrical, almost poetic, style. Some passages were lyrical, like they were part of a song, which is only fitting, being that the novel is about mermaids, the "sirens" of song.

I also loved the villain - or should I say villains - in the novel. Tempest has one bad Big Bad to fight off, and from the evil sea witch to her sea monster minions, there was just so much Tempest has yet to conquer, and I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of those beasties.

Mermaids, selkies, sea witches, and various other fantastical sea life swim through the pages of the book, creating a rich mythology that I couldn't get enough of. In fact, most of the mythology is rooted in actual folklore, such as Tiamat and the Lusca, and so I actually looked up myths and legends surrounding these creatures and was surprised at some of the stuff I found. Thumbs up to Ms. Deebs for her myth-weaving!

All in all, I loved this book, as you can probably tell, and as much as I knew I needed to at times, I couldn't stop reading it no matter what. Deebs's writing was flawless, Tempest was refreshingly human, and the mermaid mythology was intriguing and mesmerizing. I've heard this is supposed to be a trilogy, presuming sales are good, and I really hope so! There is so much left to be explored, and I hope to immerse myself in the depths of Tempest's mermaid world again someday soon!

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