Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Tempest Rising

Title: Tempest Rising
Author: Tracy Deebs
ISBN: 978-0802722317
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Theme: Mermaids/Selkies
Binding: Paperback (ARC)
Length: 288 pgs (advanced reader copy)
Published: 10 May 2011
My Rating:

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.

**The following review may contain SPOILERS**

My Review: Tempest Rising
was on my highly anticipated list and I was lucky enough to get a hold of an ARC (advance reader copy) before the release date. One of the reasons why I was excited about reading this book is because of its subject manner. Mermaids! Stories about mermaids are still fresh and new whereas, books on vampires, werewolves, and even angels are starting to get old and redundant. It’s getting increasingly harder to find that diamond in the rough.

An interesting thing I found out AFTER I had read Tempest Rising is that this author goes by 2 other pseudonym names—Tracy Wolff and Tessa Adams. Here is the connection—I have read the first book in Tessa Adam’s adult “Dragon Heat” series--Dark Embers-- and my rating/review of the book is nn one of my earlier posts. I remember giving Dark Embers a 5 star rating for its unique dragon mythology, sexy alpha hero, and sizzling romance.

That being said, while Tempest Rising had all the pieces to make a great first young adult book for Tracy Deebs about a teenage girl who on her 17th birthday would have to make a crucial decision whether to stay on land or follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a mermaid, somehow it falls a little short. While this book is supposed to be a little more serious in tone, I actually enjoyed Tera Lynn Child’s Forgive My Fins way better, which sort of has the same premise but more comical.

So starting with what I enjoyed…I liked how the book was split into 5 parts and how the chapters were short. Not that I have anything against long chapters; I just think that shorter chapters tend to make you want to read more. It is definitely a nice tool to keep readers interested.

At first I really liked Tempest. She was sort of like a tomboy—enjoyed surfing, hung around a bunch of guys, had a great boyfriend that any girl would be lucky to have. The whole on again, off again relationship with Mark was believable since the story is centered around teenagers and we all know that their emotions can run hot and cold. I also enjoyed Kai's character--at first he is very mysterious and sounds exotic with his darker skin, long hair, and sexy name. I can see why Tempest would have a sudden attraction to him.

However, it doesn't take long for Tempest to get on my nerves. She treats her boyfriend Mark like crap. At one point I was hoping that the author was going to reveal some major flaw of Mark's; like maybe he hits her, or cheats on her, or finds out that she is part mermaid and sees her as a freak, something to justify her mean behavior towards him. Unfortunately none of those things happen. He truly does care for her, puts up with her mood swings, and buys her a beautiful birthday gift. Despite her coldness towards him, I do commend Tempest for finally acting like an adult towards the end (won't spoil it for you).

I also got tired of Tempest always wanting to "run away". Almost every chapter she is either trying to get away from her boyfriend to avoid having a serious conversation with him or she is running away from her father who wants her to confide in him or she is running away from Kai, etc.

It felt like the author was just skimming over everything. She never really gives us background details other than how Tempest feels betrayed by her mother. Why did the tattoos/symbols form on her skin? What are their significance? How did her parents meet? Why does Tempest have so much more power than even her mother when she is only half mermaid? What’s the relationship between selkies and mermaids? Why does Tempest feel such a strong connection to Kai? Why didn’t the Queen of the mer people offer to help train Tempest so she can better understand her powers? Why didn’t her mother keep her promise and return to her to help her daughter through this crucial transition? And if she couldn’t, why didn’t she at least send someone to inform her husband? It’s not like her husband (Tempest’s human father) is in the dark. He knows his wife is a mermaid. I know Tempest’s mother sends Kai to keep an eye on her, but I guess I don’t buy all this secrecy and wondering why her mother has been absent so long. Yes I know that her mother was busy trying to keep her people safe from the sea witch. But if she could send someone to keep an eye on her daughter then why she couldn’t even send a letter to her devoted husband through Kai is beyond me. It seems pretty darn heartless.

The only reason I could think of for the author to only write on the surface is because she has plans to turn this book into a series. I could see that happening since there are things left unresolved as you can tell by my long list of questions. If this is her goal, then she definitely needs to work on her mythology and focus on story development. Hopefully Tempest will be less annoying in the future. While I am in love with the adult romance series that she has written under her pseudonym name Tessa Adams, Tracy Deeps has some work to do in the Young Adult universe.


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