TITLE: Rogue Wave
AUTHOR: Jennifer Donnelly
SERIES: Waterfire Saga (#2)
PUBLISHER: Disney Press
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Adventure
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled-powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.
Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.
Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.
As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.
What I Liked:
- The strongest part of this book (and indeed the series so far) is the character development. Serafina is a strong heroine. She's smart, independent and courageous, while managing to be compassionate and caring at the same time. All in all, she is the making of a good ruler, and as she's the rightful Queen, it's good that she has those personality traits to back her up. It was nice to see her development, but as well as that, we get to see the same happen to Neela! In the last book I remember her constantly craving sweets, being a little bit silly most of the time, and constantly freaking out over the slightest situation. In this book, you can see she has truly grown and is both strong-willed and a lot cleverer.
- The plot-line was easy to follow and interesting enough. It was certainly coherent too which is what I want out of a series. It followed nicely on from the first book and gave a good lead up into the third (enough that I want to read it anyway). I liked that Donnelly came up with a few sub-plots, such as Serafina's love life, managing to develop them while making sure they didn't get in the way of the story too.
What I Disliked:
- While the plot-line was good, it never wowed me. In fact, I don't think anything about this book had me on the edge of my seat. The plot twists were predictable (a couple of them I predicted in the last book) and there were a number of moments that I found myself a little bored, hoping for something truly exciting to happen. I was a little disappointed that the girls split up too, having taken all of last book to find each other and having been told that they are strongest together. I understand the necessity plot-wise but still, two or three of them had completely disappeared off of the radar!
- Donnelly has a knack for world-building, but turning it into manageable, readable content is another thing. Most people complained that she overloaded the reader with information in the last book (myself included) and I found that again this time around. There were so many Underwater puns, and so much Mermaid History, political and social context, and general Mermaid talk that at times it felt like the book was in another language! It would be good to have that taken down a notch.
All in all I did enjoy this book, but I wouldn't say it bowled me over. And I so wanted to be bowled over. I wanted to totally fall in love with Serafina and Mahdi as a couple, but I didn't. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat constantly, but I wasn't. I wanted to at least once yell out "NO!" or "I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!" but alas, no. Still there are two more books to come and I am emotionally invested in the series enough to say that I want to find out what happens next. And Donnelly did do a lot of really good character work in this one!