Title: The Vicious Deep
Author: Zoraida Cordova
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: May 01, 2012
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With an interesting premise and intriguing title, The Vicious Deep had a lot of potential. Although for me it didn’t quite reach this potential, I can see many people still enjoying this light, almost summery read. It’s a story that fans of mermaid books will appreciate for its memorable male point of view and somewhat interesting main character. What’s important though is not to expect something completely different, as I did, as that will lead to disappointment.
The Vicious Deep, razor-sharp teeth and a battle as ancient as the gods were among the words and phrases which stood out to me when I first read the title and description for this book. I expected a dark story, something harsh and gritty and full of monstrous sea creatures. I expected a story with a more vicious plot, with more depth and atmosphere. Instead, I received a story which was tame to the point of boring, that it soon became difficult to force myself to read on. By the half-way point, continuing with the book felt almost like a chore. I did manage to finish eventually, even though it took me over 16 days to complete it and I felt my hands drifting over to several other books during it.
The start of The Vicious Deep was very engaging. The element of mystery that shrouded the air after Tristan Hart, male lifeguard and main character, got caught in a freak storm at sea and turned out to be the only survivor was both exciting and promising. My expectations were sky-high after the intriguing opening, and I let the characters and their personalities in with arms wide open. The writing, although not exceptional, wasn’t too difficult to appreciate and the plot was off to a captivating start. Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived as the rest of the book failed to keep hold of my attention. The spark present at the start of the book was snuffed out pretty quickly once I realized this wasn’t at all going to be the dark story I had in mind.
What I did appreciate the most about this book was Tristan’s character. I don’t read nearly as many young adult books from the male perspective as I do from the female, so it was a refreshing and much welcomed change to experience this story through Tristan. Occasionally, the drama surrounding him and his friend Layla became tiresome to acknowledge, but other than that, I liked him. I have no idea what it is like inside the head of a teenage boy, but Zoraida Cordova did a convincing job.
The other characters I didn’t appreciate so much. Layla was likeable at the start of the book but she quickly turned into a character that I could do without. Her constant whining and silly actions put me on the verge of declaring her my least favourite character (of all time) but then Thalia, a mergirl, snagged that spot. She is the definition of irritating. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for the second half of the book was responsible for my negative feelings towards these characters (as I liked them initially), but I was glad to see the back of them once I was done reading.
Despite my issues with this book, I still feel comfortable recommending it to others. I’m almost certain the main reason behind my dislike was due to my mistaken expectations. If you go in expecting a simple and fairly humorous read, with a dash of mermaid lore to keep things spinning, then I imagine this book will be easier to enjoy.
Rating: 2.5 stars