Author: Zoraida Cordova
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 384
Source of Book: Hardcover from publisher at IRA Convention
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.
This was a fun book that I read in a day. It was a unique take on the "I didn't know I was a special paranormal creature" type of story what with being told from a male point-of-view and the contemporary merfolk spin to it. THE VICIOUS DEEP has aspects of a best friend romance, a war for the sea, high school drama, fights with fantastical sea creatures, family support, newfound royalty, a championship battle for control of the throne, a deadly storm, fantastical creatures, mermaid lore, Coney Island, and a wittily sarcastic main character full of guy humor.
I actually really enjoyed reading this story from Tristan's point-of-view. There were some literal laugh-out-loud one liners for me and I found myself caught up quite often in his character and come backs. Even if his character was a bit of an, self-admitted, um, let's say "popular with the ladies" kind of guy. I'm not sure how completely accurate a portrayal it is of what a teen boy would be thinking, but it was definitely entertaining. I will be waiting to have some boys read it and hear what they think though. There are a few mature word choices throughout, so it definitely skews a little more teen, but he's really funny and it's not too graphic. I also liked the secondary cast of characters quite a bit on both the high school human side and the merfolk Sea Court side. I loved Tristan's parents, too - they're present and understanding and caring and supportive, which I've come to appreciate more and more in teen books.
I just really enjoyed THE VICIOUS DEEP. It was a fairly predictable structure for this type of story, but told with an entertaining voice and creative background lore, which made it stand out in the sea of books out there (pun intended!). There were a couple of things in the writing that were a little irksome for me: one was the jumping around in time-sometimes it was hard for me to figure out what had passed, and the second was the use of "go" and "goes" in place of said. Now, I know that is what people use in casual conversation, and it doesn't bother me there, but reading it in writing was very jarring to me and it was used quite a bit - I could do without it for sure.
I will definitely be waiting for THE SAVAGE BLUE to come out to find out if Tristan will be successful on his mission and to find out if he gets the girl in the end and to learn what ultimate decision he will make on taking over as the Sea King. THE VICIOUS DEEP almost seemed to end in the middle of the story, not in a horribly cliffhangerish way, but just that there is definitely more to the hero's journey and it would have been too long of a book if it had been included in this one.