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I Belong

Review: The Vicious Deep by Zoriada Córdova

Title: The Vicious Deep

Author: Zoriada Córdova

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: The Vicious Deep (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 1, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1402265107 (Sourcebooks Fire)

ISBN-13: 978-1402265105 (Sourcebooks Fire)

Reviewed by: Emmy


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.

Quick & Dirty: This great, debut voice takes the readers under the sea with a refreshing male perspective, action and romance. But once you dive into this novel, you won’t want to put it down!

Opening Sentence: I hear the first wave before I see it–

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Tristan thinks his love for the ocean comes from being an excellent swimmer. Or, maybe, because his mother always told him he was born on the ocean. But that’s before a freak tidal wave sucks him out to sea when he’s trying to save a drowner on his life guard shift.  Three days later he washes back, without any idea of where he went. All he knows is now, the sea is calling to him like never before. Turns out his mother has been keeping some secrets from him. Now he’s suddenly keeping a secret he didn’t believe could possibly be real: he’s a merman, heir to an underwater kingdom. He thought the world a myth, or a Disney movie, when in reality it’s anything but that. Tristan quickly finds he has to prove himself if he ever wants to be accepted. When Kurtomathetis (I checked the spelling three times, and I’m still not sure that’s right…) and Thalia come from the sea to visit Tristan, his family tries to pretend their cousins.  That doesn’t exactly work out well, because humans are drawn to their beauty (think, sirens).  Things get sticky fast when Layla gets a glimpse of scales and decides to jump on the boat taking Tristan to visit his grandfather the Sea King.

He may be the only heir to the throne of the Sea Court, but he’ll have to compete with the other mermen to get it.  His grandfather — a descendent of Triton, who I still imagine as Ariel’s father — is stepping down, leaving Tristan the only member of his family who could rule after him. The sea has different dangers than Tristan is used to, including a sharp-toothed (but not ugly) mermaid bent on stalking him.

My absolute favorite part of The Vicious Deep was the fact that Tristan is like any other teen. He acts-first-thinks-later, is insensitive, and thinks about sex.  A lot! His dry wit and laid back narrative style had me turning pages and flying (swimming?) through this novel.  But the best part is that he also grows. I don’t read a lot of male, first perspective. Frankly, I don’t think there are enough of them out there. I loved watching Tristan become a better person, learning from his mistakes and new experiences. Córdova’s really strong world building helps add to his characterization as well as furthering the plot.

Which is probably my next favorite part of The Vicious Deep.  The world building underwater as well as Coney Island is fantastic.  Completely fleshed out and engrossing, you can see everything in the setting clearly and have absolutely no trouble suspending disbelief. She populated the world with great secondary characters that were both unique and plentiful, making them easy to remember and fun to read about. And it isn’t just mermaids, we have everything from Fey to shifters mentioned in this paranormal world. Tristan has a lot of people in his life that he considers important, which is something Córdova does a great job of showing while keeping Tristan firmly in character.

I’ll admit, there were a few moments when the characters acted out of what I thought was realistic for them, but this ended up righting itself when their common sense came back. This book had both romance and suspense, and is a perfect read for anyone who ever played mermaids in the pool (Which should be everyone. If you didn’t, go remedy that immediately).  It has a creepy villain, some great emotional moments, and great voice.

Notable Scene:

My grandfather chews and chews. “Masticating food that never ends. Wonderful.  It reminds me of eating various fruits all at once.” Marty leans into my ear and whispers, “I haven’t the heart to tell him that there are zero fruit servings in that pack of gum.” When the King frowns, my heart sinks. “The flavor is all gone.” The mercourt jeers. My grandfather, the Sea King, swallows his gum and sits back, pleased with himself.

It’s strange, almost painfully funny, how I’ve never known him, and suddenly, unexplainably, out of thin air, I love him. I see my mother in him, and I wonder if I’m in there too.

He bows his head to Layla, the lines around his eyes spread with a smile. “I accept your gift. And you are welcome as a guest of Tristan Hart.”

The Vicious Deep Series:

1. The Vicious Deep

2. The Savage Blue (January 1, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks Fire provided me with a copy of The Vicious Deep.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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