Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review - Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Saga #2
Genres: Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 6th January 2015
Publishers: Disney
Pages: 320
Source: Review Copy - Disney
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled-powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.

Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar.. The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.

Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.

As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I'm really quite disappointed by Rogue Wave, and not just because it wasn't a too good, but more to the point that I can't just continue writing a letter to Serafina like I did with Deep Blue, because this time, it wasn't just Serafina, and that makes me mad. I appreciated the routes that Donnelly took in trying to flesh out some of the characters a little, but I personally don't think it worked too well, and I really still have glaring issues with this series which I somehow think won't improve with time.

Lets start with Rogue Waves characters, because really, they felt like only real, solid feature worth talking about. Instead of just having Serafina perspective in this novel, we actually gained another one (and a half?) alongside her and yes, this did make the novel more interesting and made room for some more development, but I think the overall feel didn't work out with as much as I'd hoped. At this point in time, there's 6 mermaids, all looking for tailsmans that will help them bet Abbadon, so why would they split up after being told their strongest when together? Furthermore, why only show two (and a quarter?) perspectives instead of all six, unless you're going to delve into the other sets of two during the following two books, but realistically, it just felt like a waste. There were superb characters we could have followed, there were some real characters and personalities in that group of six, but instead, we got to focus on Serafina (again) and a bit more on Neela (which wasn't that bad..) Serafina, to her eternal credit, did improve in this novel by a small margin, but, surprise surprise, she let herself down again near the end of novel, but Neela, Neela was a good character once she escaped her holding cell- I mean, home, definitely home. She became more independent, grew a backbone, didn't whimper and wail about, she got the job done, she was firm, in control, started to make her decisions and did want she believed was right and I'll be damned if anyone could tell her anything other. She was definitely my favourite part of this novel for sure and her action scenes were really quite, dare I say, enthralling, I just wish we'd spent time with her than Serafina..

But don't even get me started on Mahdi and that romance, I just- *deep breath* I was so invested in Blu, he was absolutely wonderful, loyal and kind, and generally, a really nice character who brought out the best in Serafina, but the minute Mahdi came along again and all was revealed, I have to say, I wasn't that impressed, I was far from impressed. I wasn't invested and I think the issue is that there's been no build up; from the minute we met them in Deep Blue, we were told about their future together, we were told about how they'd had these little moments together, we were told what they felt, but I never felt these things from the characters and the romance just continued to feel like it was built on faith that readers would belief their romance but I just couldn't. I didn't see much evidence of their feelings, neither was it slowly built up, it was BAM!, here you go, have some romance with our dish of the day. drowning in disappointment. I just didn't feel anything and I think considering a lot of Serafina's character relies on her feelings and the reader connecting to those feelings, it's just not quite good enough.

Once again, the world wasn't that strong, although I didn't forget as much that they were mermaids, and I did get some description, and I did get less about their clothes and their emotions, and the whole royalty aspect, but it just wasn't enough to save it. There wasn't even any twists or turns that really made me head spin and the lack of connection with the other mermaids was also disappointing. Granted, the twists that were there were okay, a few at the end surpassing my expectations and even that cliff-hanger which I disliked because of it's cliff-hanging nature was actually really good, I just think from a fantasy aspect, there's a lot of relying on your own imagination and that's not good with me. I was extremely close to putting this book down, much like it's prequel but I think that's just what this series does to me, it doesn't grab me by the shoulders and shake me saying 'oh my god, aren't I amazing!' because it just, isn't.. I confess though, I probably will continue subjecting myself to the series because those covers are absolutely gorgeous and I do, really want to see more of the other mermaids and their hunts for their tailsmans, and actually get to some deeper, juicer action, belief it or not, I do actually want to know what happens, but will I ever really enjoy this series that much? I really don't know..

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