Monday, July 9, 2012

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

Book:  Vicious Deep
Author:  Zoraida Cordova
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Date:  May 1, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  B-

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.

Zoraida Córdova was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where she learned to speak English by watching Disney's The Little Mermaid and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker on repeat. Her favorite things are sparkly, like merdudes, Christmas, and New York City at night. Visit her at (Cover and description from


Initial impression
Kitsch much?

Title and Cover
The title and cover on this book rocked!  The title really grabs you and you think you’re going to get some awesome merfolk book with lots of vicious fighting, etc.  Then the cover!  You guys, just look at that cover!!! It’s gorgeous and just adds to that title.  I was so excited when I picked up this book!

Plot, characters, etc.
Unfortunately for me, the title and cover didn’t live up to my expectations in the story that followed. ::sighs::  This book could have been great!  Instead, it was alright.  I liked the main character, Tristan.  His voice was funny and sarcastic, with just enough snark and thinking about sex that I could believe it was the voice of a 17 year old boy.  For example, when he actually changes and has a tail for the first time, one of his first concerns is what happened to his junk!  Funny and so typical of a boy!  It was his voice that saved this novel for me.

The story was just so-so.  I had a hard time really getting into this story.  This is a book that I should have finished in a day and instead it took me 3 ½ days.  I would literally stop reading to check my email or play solitaire on my Nook.  No lie.  It felt like there were long stretches where nothing really happened and then I got really aggravated with Layla and Tristan for not just talking to each other!!  There were also scenes where I had a really hard time suspending my disbelief.  Like when the merrows (deformed sea creatures) attack them on the practice field at school and OTHER STUDENTS SEE IT!!!  I mean, isn’t the supernatural world supposed to remain hidden to humans?  I suppose it could work, sort of like people being written off for Bigfoot sightings or something, but by that point, I was already a little disappointed in the story.

The description of the merfolk island was very nice and she was very imaginative with her descriptions of the different sea people.  Also, I liked the secondary cast of characters.  Kurt, Thalia and Marty were all fun and interesting in their own way.  

Then there’s Tristan’s mother.  This woman is definitely not going to win the Mother of the Year award!  She really aggravated me.  First, she never preps Tristan for any of what is happening to him even though she had a pretty good clue that this might happen.  Second, she leaves Kurt and Thalia to explain everything to him.  Next, she SENDS HIM OFF ALL ALONE TO THE ISLAND WHERE HIS GRANDFATHER AND ALL THE MERPEOPLE LIVE!!!  Really?  Finally, she is no help whatsoever to Tristan when he starts working on the task he has been given.  So, really, Tristan should ditch his parents, become an emancipated minor and stick with Kurt, Thalia and Marty.  

The book has an interesting premise, but of course, it’s been done before in almost every other way.  Think Harry Potter, King Arthur or tons of werewolf or fey books.  Here’s a normal 17 year old boy who just thinks he’s a good swimmer and he basically spends all his time at swim practice or chasing after cheap thrills with the girls.  Suddenly something drastic happens and, lo and behold, he discovers he is actually a sea creature!  It’s cliche, yes, but it works, right?

I’m hoping that the reason that this book just didn’t grab me is because it is the introductory book and it’s got a lot of character exposition and setting up the story for the next book.  Sort of like HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  It’s just not as good as the rest of them.  For that reason, I will probably read the second one at some point in time.  The story kept me just interested enough that I’ll give the second one a chance.  Besides, Tristan’s head is a pretty funny place to be.  Also, I keep reminding myself of the Tantalize series by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  The first book was just so-so for me, but I ended up loving the series as a whole.  I’m hoping this series turns out like that.


It’s funny that, even though I didn’t love this book, I couldn’t help but think that the Van Morrison song that inspired my blog name is actually a pretty perfect fit for this book!

The Wallflowers cover of Into the Mystic (I chose this cover because I think that Tristan would prefer the more modern sound that The Wallflowers gave to this song.)

This book really requires a Beach Boys song, right?

The Long Promised Road by The Beach Boys

And.....just because it’s funny and there’s such talk all the time in the book about Tristan being a man-h00r...

I Get Around, a classic Beach Boys number performed by The Red Hot Chili Peppers!

The Final Grade
My final grade on this one was a B-.  I almost went with a C/C+, but Tristan’s voice is so funny that it saved a good portion of this novel for me.  But there are a lot of people who like this book, so check out the reviews on goodreads as well.  As for me, I’ll probably pick up the second one, but if it starts dragging too, I might have to just put this series out to sea.

Thanks to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. I received no compensation for my honest review, not even a lobster dinner.

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