Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Walker Children's
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
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.
I've been wondering for a while when mermaids would start to gain some clout in the world of paranormal YA, and the time has finally come! Honestly, what little girl hasn't wished she was a mermaid? I know I have, so when I heard about Tempest Rising reading it became a must.
Admittedly, I had concerns that it would be a mermaid book about a mermaid's inability to resist the call of the sea. Tracy Deebs takes the story in a completely different direction where Tempest's choice ultimately remains important, but it's relationships that drive her. Despite all the changes she is undergoing, her primary concern is her father and brothers. I was blown away by that because so often teen characters let their own wants drive them and only think of the consequences as applied to them, no one else matters. That is simply not the case in this book.
The only stumbling block I ran across while reading Tempest Rising was a somewhat convoluted timeline making it hard to seam up the two sides of the story - land and sea. Underwater scenes, while striking in their rich description, seemed to lack an element of time. Perhaps this was purposeful because mermaids are unconcerned with human conventions, time possibly being one of them, but I feel like a firmer timeline would have brought clarity to the story.
A unique voice and the direct storytelling, this book keeps a quick pace that is often absent from fantasy or even paranormal novels. I was was hooked on the start. The letter from Tempest's mother intrigued me, begging me to read more, and a brief flashback to childhood and a chilling encounter with a sea witch pulled me even deeper into the story.
Action was an unexpected treat that this book brought to the table. It has the girl, the makings of a love triangle, and a family with one paranormally estranged parent, so at a glance you'd think that its par for the course with paranormal. (Vampires and werewolves aside, of course.) Sea witches, fight scenes, and bloodshed bridge the action of a fantasy with the mood of a great paranormal, setting it apart from others.