WOW. This review is long overdue; like, three months overdue. But without further ado, here's my review for Tempest Unleashed, the second installment of Tracy Deebs's Tempest trilogy.
Tempest Unleashed continues the story of Tempest Maguire, a teenage girl who is growing into her destiny of becoming a great and powerful mermaid. Of course, the first book was supposed to be about that as well, but we didn't see an actual mermaid scene in the first book until the last twenty pages or so. I think that's why so many people had problems liking Tempest Rising: it was a mermaid book with barely any mermaids.
Unleashed makes up for that and then some.
Nearly all the book takes place under the sea with lots of mermaid and sea creature action. In fact, it's not until after the first hundred pages that there's even a scene that takes place on dry land. The mermaid world is beautiful and vividly described, from the cave Tempest discovers containing her mother's memories, to the final battle in the sunken ship. And the sea creatures: mermaids, selkies, sea witches, shark-men, and more. I mean, how many people even knew what a bunyip was (and who subsequently researched it) when reading this book? (I'd heard of it, but I still researched it.)
And now I reach the topic of romance. The first book was typical of a YA paranormal romance. Stranger comes to town, and despite being creepy more often than not, the girl falls for him and no one else in her life matters anymore. Not so with Unleashed. Tempest begins have feelings for Mark again, and at first I internally groaned, as I knew that meant a love triangle was evident. And usually the protagonist of a YA PNR strings the second guy around for a couple books, but always ends up with the creepy stranger. Oh, sure, she'd act like she loved Mark, but in the end, she'd end up with Kona, despite that being the most unrealistic outcome. Now, I'm not so sure. Mark is there for her, and they have history together, and he knows her better than anyone else. Kona? He's just the typical YA male love interest, and I don't think he's worthy of Tempest. Does Mark get overprotective and act like a jerk sometimes? Yeah. But then again, that's what makes him human. He's flawed, unlike perfect Kona, the douchebag who turns into a seal. And besides, Tempest needs someone human, as she even mentions that she doesn't want to succumb to her mermaid half. Normal, simple Mark can be the anchor that Tempest needs to keep her humanity buoyant. I can only hope she ends up with Mark (or better yet, no one: she's an all-powerful mermaid; who says she needs two guys bickering over her?), but with how most YA paranormals go, I'm not holding my breath.
Another interesting dynamic that I enjoyed about the first book is family. Rio grates on my nerves something fierce, but I can't blame him completely, although sometimes he acted more like a brat than what I felt was called for. Tempest's family means so much to her, and I hope she's able to accept her destiny without having to completely abandon them. I have an idea how the issues with her family and Mark will play out in the final book, but I'm just going to have to wait and see.
All in all, I loved the sequel so much more than the first. Tiamat's still a creepy but intriguing antagonist (plus, I liked how the myth of Scylla was thrown in) the twist with Sabyn was slighly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless, and the feeling that war is coming to the undersea world rings through to the book's final pages. I'm ready to see Tempest kick Tiamat's tail...literally.
So in conclusion, Tempest Unleashed was a thrill ride of epic proportions, and it was everything the first book should have been and more. I can't wait to see how the final book plays out, and I know that if it's anything like Unleashed, it's going to be worth the wait.