Apr 24, 2012

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova (Review + Guest Post)

The Viscous Deep by Zoraida Córdova
May 1st, 2012 from Sourcebooks Fire

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.

Can I just say that I was really surprised to see this mermaid merman story from a male point of view? I really wasn't expecting that. No, I don't read the synopsis of books all too often and I didn't with this story. Tristan is a pretty typical guy. He is a good looking feller working as a beach lifeguard. After a near drowning accident, he is thrust into the world of the Sea Court. Turns out his mother has been keeping a few secrets from poor Tristan.
Tristan gets a few visitors from the sea, Kurt and Thalia, and the family plays them off as cousins. Things get complicated when they attend Tristan's school. They are beautiful and humans are drawn to them. Watching Tristan's friend Ryan fawn over Thalia was pretty entertaining. Tristan has his own romance issues. He's fallen for his best friend, Layla, and the two go round and round in a cat & mouse sort of way. Layla is suspicious of Tristan and his new "cousins" and when she gets a glimpse of his blue scales, she decides to jump on board the ship that takes Tristan to meet the Sea King, his grandfather. That...doesn't go over so well. 

My favorite part of the story is when Tristan meets his grandfather, the Sea King. I enjoyed their discussions about where merefolk came from, what he wants for Tristan, and all of the complicated family history. That history comes to play when the Sea King wants Tristan to take his rightful seat as head of the Sea Court. Tristan wrestles with his fate and soon he realizes that becoming a Sea King isn't just about being handed the trident. There is a competition for the seat and everyone will do just about anything to get their hands on it. The best friends turned something more than friends relationship between Tristan in Layla isn't anything we haven't seen in other books, but I still enjoyed their story. Layla is a strong character and I love that she makes Tristan squirm and wrestle with his feelings.

Teens will love the fantasy and mythology aspects of Vicious Deep. I would have liked to read more about the origination of merefolk and Tristan's family history. This is just a personal opinion and others may feel the balance was just right. I think this is a good story to get started in the mermaid trend. Language and a bit of sexy talk make this a good fit for 14+.

I'm happy to have Cordova on the blog today:

"How Disney’s The Little Mermaid Taught Me English: After Zoraida Córdova moved to the United States from Guayaquil, Ecuador, she learned to speak English by watching Disney’s famous mermaid."

Actually, I learned while still in Ecuador. I was three and my grandmother, already in New York, sent me The Little Mermaid VHS as a gift. I watched it every day, making my aunt rewind it over and over again, until I could do it myself. I should get her a sweet gift as a thank you.

Sometimes I wonder what it was about this specific movie that enchanted me as a kid. I was already taking English as a second language, but it wasn’t enough. Repeating foreign words in a classroom didn’t mean anything. When I watched the movie, each word came to life. When I moved to New York at age 6 (maybe 7), I don’t remember the transition. I simply remember having complete understanding of what was being said to me in this new foreign school.

I can’t say I wouldn’t have ever learned without The Little Mermaid as a gateway to language, magic, and mermaids—surely I would’ve gotten there somehow—but I’m very glad that it was. I wouldn't be the person I am without it.

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You can find Cordova at her website