Series: Tempest #1
Published: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Walker Children's
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
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 adored this book. This is the first and only mermaid novel I have read. I was curious about it because I had never read a novel about mermaids and I'm happy to say that this book was not a disappointment.
The plot was fabulous. You follow Tempest's life, beginning with her mother walking out on them because the ocean called to her and she could not resist. Now, at age 17, Tempest finds herself to be in the same situation. With each passing day, the ocean's pull is stronger and stronger, but she is determined to stay on land with her family, friends, and boyfriend, Mark. When she allows herself to see what the ocean is truly like, her world will forever by turned upside down.
But, the turning of her world began much earlier than her first steps into the ocean--the day she met a handsome surfer named Kona. I'm not going to tell you what Kona is, but the love triangle that ensues between him, Tempest, and Mark is absolutely delicious. It is equivalent to the plot. Kona is sexy and mysterious, just like the ocean's depth, while Mark is stubborn and real, just as her home on land is. Her war with where she belongs coincides with the love triangle. However, as the book went on, it's clear that even the author favors one boy much more than the other and you almost forget about the other entirely. The love triangle helped the book, but did hurt it slightly because at times, it seemed to be a bit odd, like how she treated Mark once she began exhibiting some of her mermaid traits. Mark was oblivious to what was causing her inner turmoil and like any good boyfriend, he wanted to help her, but she did not allow him to do so.
Aside from the few weird moments of the love triangle, I don't have many complaints about the book. For instance, how could you be craving someones kiss after talking to them for a few seconds, not even a full conversation where names have yet to have been exchanged? However, I will say this: when you read a novel, you almost become one with the character when reading from their point of view. You want to think what they think and feel what they feel and cry for them when they are hurt. While you could easily do that with Tempest, it seems as if Deebs took it a little too far at times. The entire novel has the back-plot of Tempest's identity crisis. Will she choose to be human and stay with her family or follow in her mother's footsteps and embrace her inner mermaid? Yes, that's a large part of the story, but we do not need to be reminded almost every chapter that Tempest doesn't want to be a mermaid. To me, that aspect the novel was incredibly redundant. And to make it a bit more strange, at times, Deebs didn't take it far enough. We could feel her pain and connect with her on an emotional level, but she's a frustrating character to connect with at times. Again, look at the above example with her identity crisis and Mark. If she's feeling so alone and out of place because of the way her body is changing, why should she not seek solace in the arms of someone who is there for her? She may not be able to tell him what is truly bothering her, but she could benefit from his comfort. Instead, she has to detach herself from everything, and you almost feel a little detached from her because of this. A majority of the novel was written with great character development, but I so greatly wish it flowed perfectly throughout so that this novel could have gotten the five that I thought it would get easily.
Deebs is absolutely brilliant for weaving mythology into the plot. It not only added to the story, but gave it a deeper meaning as well. It's not easy to accomplish such a feat and keep the tale original, so I applaud Deebs for her well-doings. Up to the final page of the novel, there was some sort of mythology underlying the plot.
With all of that being said, I am choosing to give this book a 4.5. Even with my small qualms with Tempest's character development and the introduction of the love-triangle, it weaved together perfectly to create a novel that I loved so much I read late into the night and went to school on barely any sleep the next day. While I wish that it could be a 5, it does lack little details that could have pulled it together in a way that would make one breathless. However, the story is so unique and capturing that the flaws don't really stand out until you take a step back and think, and even then, they are not that obvious unless you're sitting here like I am and analyzing the books for others. Either way, this will forever and always be a favorite of mine.
The cover caught my eye because it clearly showed that this book was about mermaids and having not read a book about mermaids prior to this one, it caught my attention. My favorite thing about the cover would be Tempest's tattoo. However, the cover itself seems a bit drab. We're talking mermaids here, it could have been taken to a whole new level artistically and visually and the cover seems too simple to me for such a complex story. I'm just not a fan of it.