Monday, 9 June 2014

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.


Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly
Published May 1, 2014 by Hachette AU
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
From the blurb: On the morning of her betrothal, Serafina's biggest worry should be about her reunion with Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead, she is haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil.
Then the city is stormed by assassins.
Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend, Neela, embark upon a quest to find the army's leader and prevent a war between the mer nations. They must search for four other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas.
Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten their world's very existence.
Then the city is stormed by assassins. Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend, Neela, embark upon a quest to find the army's leader and prevent a war between the mer nations. They must search for four other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten their world's very existence.
Sixteen year old Serafina is the principessa of Merrow, a kingdom of merpeople in Cerulea, located in the Adriatic Sea. On the day of her Dokimi, a ceremony to verify she is a true descendant of Merrow, her kingdom is attacked. She and best friend Neela escape and use their witch-haunted dreams to guide them on a quest to find the Olt River and the four remaining girls in the prophecy.

I've not had much luck with mermaid books in the past but I enjoyed Deep Blue a lot. The underwater world featured in the story is described in detail and gave me a vivid image of the setting. The merpeople speak mermish and a lot of the words had an ocean-theme to them which was fun and often made me smile. There were also a lot of human words and items, but this made sense to me as the merpeople in this story were descended from the people of Atlantis.

The only negative for me was the third person perspective, I always find it hard to really connect with a story and the characters when this is used, but I was still able to understand Sera's feelings even if I wasn't as fully connected as I would have liked.

The story, like a lot of fantasy stories, has royal families, and this comes with the usual pressure regarding appearance, behaviour, and future plans. Serafina definitely feels the pressure placed on her, especially by her mother, Isabella. But she has one person she can confide in, Neela, her best friend. I loved the friendship between these two girls, they were always supportive of each other, and each bought different characteristics to their relationship.

The story is really friend-focused and it was nice to see romance take a back seat. Sure, there are romantic interests for Sera, but once her journey begins, they were forgotten in favour of more important things, like saving the world. The prophecy revolves around six girls, so of course there are four more to meet along the way, it was great to see them bond and to find out their stories. It was also cool to see a bunch of nationalities featured; Neela is Indian, Ava is Portuguese, and Ling is Chinese.

The magic was also a lot of fun, and it’s no surprise that it often reminded me of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The girls sing to cast songspells and each time they sang I thought of Ariel singing her voice away to Ursula. I found this world creative and unique, and was impressed that I could find these qualities in a mermaid-themed YA book.

Not only is Deep Blue full of friendship, magic, and adventure, but it is also packed with action, travel, and danger. The end wrapped up well, but it also left me curious about Astrid’s secret, and the whereabouts of Isabella, Blu, and Mahdi, so bring on book two!

Thank you to the lovely people at Hachette for my review copy.


I adore this gorgeous underwater cover and knew I had to do my nails to match.


I started with one coat of Ulta3 Lily White as a base.


I used acrylic paint for the rest, first I covered each nail in a medium blue, then I sponged on two darker shades of blue.

I painted 4 of my nails with the city of Cerulea and some vegetation, using a fine brush.


I painted Sera on my ring nail also using a very fine brush, and added some dots of silver using a pointy dotting tool.



I love this look, it’s one of those manicures that took a while but was worth the effort!

41 comments:

  1. These nails are amazing! You did a fantastic job on these, I love them! :D

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  2. The level of detail is amazing! I'm someone who's really impressed with herself for just getting two coats of colour on, but I love looking at all your creations. So pretty! I can't wait to read this book! I've been looking forward to it and I hope I get around to it soon :D

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  3. I just don't understand how you fit so much details into nails! Nails are such small surfaces!!!

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  4. Why are you so talented. Why why why. Those nails are gorgeous!! Also, lovely review. I'll be sure to pick this up on my next trip to the bookstore.

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  5. OMG...the DETAIL in your nails!! That's amazing. x) I'm very intrigued now that I know it focuses on friendship. I'm actually looking for more books that dive (har har pun intended) into the friendship aspect as well as the relationship aspect. x) It's interesting! And not done that much! Great review, and I'm adding it to my TBR even if it's just a 3.5. Pity about the 3rd person, though, eh?

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  6. I didn't love this book as much as you, but your nails are absolutely amazing!

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  7. I haven't seen too many positive reviews for this book and seeing as I love this author's historical fiction so much, I'm not sure I'd enjoy this only because I'd inevitably compare it to her prior works which I just LOVE. Fabulous review, though, Mandee, and I looooove the detail on your nails and the gorgeous colors you chose. Amazing!(:

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  8. Wow I can/t believe you painted that mermaid. It looks fantastic and total look is amazing. I haven't actually read very many mermaid books. Though I love the idea of mermaids, books about them do not interest me that much. I will have to give this one a try though since it sounds good. Cool that there is more friendship than romance in it too. Don't have that much in YA (not that I don't love a good romance).

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  9. Wow what detail on the nails you did to match the cover. That's amazing.

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  10. Woah, so many details on your nails. They are super cute.

    That's great you enjoyed this one. I don't think I've read a mermaid book...

    -Lauren

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  11. Your nails are amazing!! WOW so amazing. I have to admit I had to skip review to see the nails first as this cover is amazing :) Great job.
    Now back to your review. I totally agree this world was so amazing and done in detail but the 3rd person narrative wasn't such a great option. Great review, Mands :)

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  12. Not a huge fan of mermaid books, but this one sounds quite good. I love the cover and how your nails turned out! I wish I have that kind of talent :D

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  13. Seriously, how do you do those nails? That can't be real! You're so talented, I struggle to just paint my nails ONE colour, so I applaud you.

    I have seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one so I am still not sure if I want to read it or not. It's been a long time since I read a mermaid book though and I really want to try one.

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  14. Mermaids + assassins!! And oh my god your nails love love love love them so much <333 So finely detailed and the shades of blue are gorgeous, wish I had your skill with nails ahh =)

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

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  15. I've heard mixed things about this book, but I've loved some of Ms. Donnelly's work in the past, so I'm intrigued. Plus, mermaids?! Love that in and of itself! And your nails are just to die for…girl, you have some serious talent!

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  16. I saw your nails on Instagram last night and flailed all over the place! They're SO GORGEOUS! I really can't stop staring at them.

    I am glad you liked this more than I did, Mands! It really is nice to see the friendship front and center instead of the romance. :)

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  17. Wowwww...wonderful design. This is an art! I love it!

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  18. Gorgeous review and manicure. The level of detail is incredible- well done!

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  19. love the way you created an underwater look with the sponging. your freehand skills here are really amazing too! great job with all the details!

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  20. I get what you mean about third person narratives – sometimes they can distance me from the story too. Once exception is definitely The Raven Cycle books though. The third person in that is flawwwwwless

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  21. Seriously! Those nails are amazing! I struggle painting my nails one colour, so congratulations for you are definitely in order! :)

    Thank you for the fabulous review, I'm unsure if I want to read this book, but I do admit the cover is gorgeous and the premise intriguing.

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  22. I tend to struggle with mermaid books too for some reason, so I avoid them completely, but this book has been receiving some great reviews and I'm definitely curious about it. I love the sound of the friendships especially. I might wind up borrowing it from a library to see if it's for me. Lovely review, Mandee!

    Also, wow! Those are some fantastic nails! I love the intricate details. Gorgeous!

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  23. These nails...just wow. I agree that the 3rd person was a little off putting, and I felt that it should have been categorized as MG instead, personally. But yes, I agree with you.

    Lovely review, Mands! <33

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  24. It's great to hear you enjoyed this so much, Mands! I was under the impression it was a higher-MG book, so it's interesting to see that you spoke of it as a YA.
    Friendships, strong friendships, are so wonderful in books- I'm excited to hear that romance was started but took a backseat, because often it becomes the priority and I really like the sound of how it's done here, even if, overall, I don't think this book is for me. Perhaps I'd be surprised? If I ever see it at the library, I'll check it out on your recomendation!

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  25. I have never seen nails like these - so cute!! And I haven't heard of this book before...mermaid stories aren't usually my cup of tea. But I'm definitely curious. :)

    Ciera @ The Write Things

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  26. Your Nails O_O There is so much detail in them! You need to stop being so ridiculously talented (JK I LOVE seeing your nails <3). But seriously they are GORGEOUS!

    And now I am conflicted, I know a lot of people weren't fans of this book but you definitely have my attention when you mentioned that the romance wasn't the focus.

    Lovely review, Mands!!!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  27. GORGEOUS nails. This just won for my favorite bookish manicure so far. I've never had an interest in mermaid books but this one sounds pretty good overall.

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  28. I agree with you on third person, it makes it hard to fully connect to characters. I had fun with this one and I totally had flashbacks to the Little Mermaid. Your nails are gorgeous! Such beautiful detail!

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  29. Well of course, your mani is gorgeous - well done Mands!! Anyways, I'd read a lot of negative reviews about this one so I actually avoided getting a copy at BEA this year. Now I wish I'd read your review sooner because I would have gotten a copy XD I never have a problem with 3rd person POV so this might really be a hit for me. The underwater world you describe sounds fascinating and the magic sounds brilliant too!! The world at hand sounds really inviting to me so I'll have to give this one a go! Fantastic review ^^ xxxx

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  30. literally said out loud "WTF MANDS" because you've outdone yourself this time! so so so gorgeous!!! XOXO

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  31. Wow, I think you oudid yourself in this one, Mands! Those nails are absolutely amazing! The details and the colors really capture the cover of the book. Man, I'm happy you are sharing your talent with us - seeing them on your nails inspire me and motivate me to take up nail polishing, too.

    As for the book though, I'm glad to know the world-building worked for you. Many of the people I know who read this one was overwhelmed by the details! And yay! Friendship book! We need more books promoting true friendship :)

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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  32. I've been meaning to pick up this book, so I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much. It's really interesting that the characters are so multi-cultural. I'm happy to hear that this story wrapped up while still leaving some interest for the next book. I'll have to see if my library has a copy.

    Those nails! Holy crap. They are so pretty. The blue. The details. The mermaid. I just. You are awesome. I bow down to your nail polish prowess!

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  33. Those nails are a work of art.

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  34. I am seriously blown away hereby the nail art. Amazing. I recently read a pretty negative review for Deep Blue, but I would rock those nails.

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  35. omg I just red your review of this book and when I scrolled down I saw that you had also created this nail art from the cover!
    I absolutely love it :)
    You are so creative!!!

    xx julia

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  36. You enjoyed this one more than me, but I did also like that there wasn't an unnecessary romance. I'm glad that you were able to appreciate friendship here. Great review, Mandee! I love the details on your nails. :)

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  37. OMG I love mermaid nail art! I must add this book to my TBR just because of your nails.

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  38. A great review of a fab book that I really enjoyed reading myself and that manicure is totally AMAZING!

    Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

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  39. I've never had much luck with mermaid books either, but this sounds like a great story! The nails are amazing, the Serafina nail is so detailed and perfect :)

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