Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.
The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova got me really excited to read a story about mermaids from a guy’s point of view and it all sounded so dark and mysterious. The beginning of the story was really promising and introduced us to Tristan’s world as a part time lifeguard and guaranteed hottie who is fighting off girls with a stick so it seems. One day, there is a particularly large storm and he swims out to rescue someone but gets dragged under the waves and disappears for three days with no memory of what happened. Family secrets drift to the surface and Tristan finds out about the legacy that has been kept from him until now.
I want to start by saying that I enjoyed Tristan’s voice although I hated the fact that he was a bit of a man slut by reputation but I actually think he just doesn’t know how to say no, can’t stop himself from being flirty and friendly with everyone and basically needs to grow a pair. Case in point, Tristan’s relationship with his best friend Layla which is frustrating at best. He’s practically in love with her for the entire book but doesn’t actually ever tell her. I get the “it’s complicated” vibe but come on Tristan! The only redeeming quality about Layla is that she is a strong independent girl who’s all “I belong to no one” which of course is how it should be. The fact that she hangs around the school hottie all the time when they’re “just friends”? Rather you than me is all I’m going to say although she never comes out and says she likes him in that way either although I think it’s obvious that she does and that makes her a glutton for punishment.
With regards to the story, I could just about accept fish coming through the taps (faucets) and then turning into merfolk but I think this book lost me around the time we were introduced to creatures that looked liked men but had fish heads. I get the feeling that either consciously or not, Cordova was heavily influenced by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as my brain kept on pulling up imagery from the film.
Then all sorts of other fantastical creatures came into play like fairies, vampires and shifters and I just thought it was all a bit ridiculous. I would have preferred to keep those worlds separate to be honest as I was only ever interested in the merfolk story. If I’m being completely honest, I wanted to stop reading the book at one point but I don’t quit easily and I don’t like leaving things unfinished (I’ve only ever had to stop reading a book once) so I carried on until the end. I was frustrated at the lack of resolve – the relationship between Tristan and Layla hasn’t really changed, the quest is still ongoing and the creepy, evil mermaid with razor teeth is still out there.
I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it more as I really wanted to love it. I thought the beginning was really promising and I liked the idea that the story featured mermen which is something that we don’t often come across in stories (it’s usually just about mermaids) but it was a bit fantastical for me when other supernatural beings joined the foray and I felt frustrated with the lack of resolve in the story. Unfortunately, this has meant that I’ve cancelled my pre order for the simple reason that shelf space is severely limited as it is (I have no more room for any more book shelves) and so I’m having to be very picky about what books I buy now.
I’m seeing a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads for The Vicious Deep so I’m not sure if it’s just me or not. There were parts of the story I enjoyed but overall, I was disappointed. As always, I would suggest looking at other reviews and/or reading it yourself and making your own mind up.