Donnelly (Revolution) opens the four-book Waterfire Saga with a richly imagined novel set in an undersea world of mermaids descended from the lost citizens of Atlantis. Serafina is heir to the Mediterranean realm of Miromara, but just as she is about to be recognized as its future ruler in the high-pressure Dokimí ceremony, a devastating attack throws her life into flux. Led by cryptic dreams they share, Serafina and fellow princess Neela try to evade the conquering forces while seeking four other powerful young mermaids. Donnelly blends references to ancient myth and human language (especially Latin), with a mermaid culture that has its own magic, lore, and slang (“currensea,” “merlfriend”) that may strike some readers as too cutesy. Themes of conquering fear and believing in oneself are woven throughout, along with an acknowledgment of humans’ environmental impact on the sea and its inhabitants. Despite the high stakes and a few frightening moments, the story is never overserious; it’s just right for readers who have grown up with, but aged out of, The Little Mermaid and the Disney Fairies franchise. Ages 10–14. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/10/2014 Release date: 05/06/2014 Genre: Children's
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