I'm excited to be part of the Dangerous Depths blog tour! Today, I'll be bringing you my review of author Karen Hooper's second book in the Sea Monster memoirs series, Dangerous Depths, including an excerpt and music playlist!
Dangerous Depths (The Sea Monster Memoirs, #2) by Karen Hooper
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Released: November 20th 2013
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Blog tour hosted by: Enticing Journey Book Promotions
Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.
The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home after years of waiting to be reunited with his wife, Vienna. Only to find out that Vienna didn’t wait for him. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte years ago, hoping the legend of another gateway to Earth’s realm was real, but she was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he’d go through hell to be with Vienna, and now he must prove it.
Yara wanted to bask in the glow of her happily ever after in the magical realm of Rathe. She planned to explore Medusa and Poseidon’s world and dive deeper into her relationship with Treygan, but as the new leader of Rathe, her powers are needed to save more than one member of her own kind. Treygan vowed to always be Yara’s guardian, but long ago he also swore to go any lengths to protect his brother Rownan. Now, he must fulfill his promise to both of them.
Rownan, Yara, and Treygan are about to put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of the worlds. Love should conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.
This book simply blew my mind. On the surface (excuse the pun), the premise of Dangerous Depths sounds simple enough: Rownan's wife is in human equivalent of Hell. Must make plans to save Rownan's wife. Get into Hell. Find Rownan's wife. Get out of Hell with Rownan's wife. Easy.
Whoa, hold up there. Harte isn't just any old Hell. Hooper's version of hell is so twisted you can't even tell fantasy apart from reality. Vienna, Rownan's wife, has been stuck in Harte for sixteen years trying to find a way back to Rownan on Earth. Everyone believes Vienna is long dead – if not, already demented, soulless and beyond salvation. The only merman who'd ever been to Harte committed suicide after returning because Harte made him lose himself. Yara, Treygan and Rownan are risking everything to bring Vienna back, including their own lives.
The descriptions of Rathe and Harte are extraordinary. I wonder what inspired Forbidden Apple Lagoon, and really hope someone with adequate art skills will be able to do an artist's impression of it one day! I was worried that I wouldn't be able to visualise Harte properly as I had a bit of a problem with that in the beginning, when Yara, Treygan and Rownan enter the Devil's Triangle. Harte seemed like a very abstract place, but I slowly got used to it. Hooper's writing style is simple, yet gives enough detail and is pleasant to absorb. Some of Harte's horrors include all kinds of mind tricks and hallucinations, not to mention crazy creatures like soul suckers. I find that poor Yara suffered the most from the mind tricks. They will blow your mind, especially the great epiphany Yara has toward the end of their time in Harte and what ensues afterwards.
Oh, Nixie – what a personality that siren has! Nixie is so fleshed out that I'd hardly classify her as a mere supporting character. I'm so glad Hooper gave her a voice in Dangerous Depths. We get to see the conflicting sides of Nixie and what made her the way she is today. Her backstory is told with the first appearance of her sprite family, contrasted with Mariza and Otabia, her current siren sisters. Nixie is passionate, fiery and stubborn. She's an extremely strong character, full of depth and ready to take on the world with Yara. Nixie's soft, vulnerable side is seen when she's with the sprites (whose roles in the story are not as tiny as they seem) and I saw how her childishness gradually blossomed into maturity. She had so much faith in herself even when others told her what she wanted to accomplish would be impossible. My heart went out to her every time she experienced Yara's pain in Harte. She's a character I definitely won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Just as you think Yara, Treygan and Rownan's journey in Harte is over, Hooper raises the stakes by throwing curveball after curveball upon the trio – it seems like they'll never be able to get out of Harte! Like I said, the story is more than just about getting out of hell.
Even though Dangerous Depths is supposedly Rownan's story, there's no shortage of Yara-and-Treygan time. The pacing of the entire novel was just right; there wasn't too much or too little of Harte. I love how both of them are growing closer to each other, and how every time Yara wants to give up, Treygan's always there for her. Yara isn't the perfect heroine, and that's what makes her loveable. Dangerous Depths features not only one love story, but two. Yara and Treygan's bond is just as mesmerising as the one between Rownan and Vienna, both which transcend the horrors of Harte and prove how strong love can be.
(Oh, and I totally realised how Earth, Rathe and Harte were anagrams after finishing Dangerous Depths. *smirks at accomplishment*)
Song list in chronological order of when they take place in the story. WARNING: Some vague spoilers!
1.) Waves of You – Eric Turner (Rownan to Vienna beginning of book)
2.) Sail – AWOLNation (drunk Rownan in his dark place on the beach)
3.) Drifting – Plumb feat. Dan Haseltine (Yara & Nixie to Rownan--another way)
4.) If I Lose Myself – One Republic (Treygan to Yara the morning of their trip)
5.) The Sea — Morcheeba (Traveling and arriving)
6.) Storm – Lifehouse (Rownan to Vienna when he’s alone in Harte)
7.) I Want You Here – Plumb (Vienna on her beach with the driftwood)
8.) Waves – Blondefire (Yara and/or Vienna)
9.) Little Talks — Of Monsters and Men (Yara & Treygan in the last half of the book)
10.) Together Again — Evanescence (Yara when she becomes separated from Treygan)
11.) Hazy — Rosi Golan feat. William Fitzsimmons (Vienna & Rownan duet)
12.) Down — Jason Walker feat. Molly Reed (Karen: This one tugs at my heartstrings. I picture each character: Rownan, Yara, Treygan, and Nixie, on their own singing this song. It flashes between each of them during seemingly hopeless times during their fight to get out.)
13.) My Last Breath — Evanescence (Nixie & Yara)
*BONUS SONG: Hero — David Crosby & Phil Collins (Karen: This was a song from my TANGLED TIDES playlist. It’s an oldie, but it was so perfect as a song that Rownan would sing about Treygan. Right down to the “when the hero kills the maiden with his kiss” line. This song still gives me goose bumps when I listen to it.)
Don't forget to enter the Dangerous Depths Release Day giveaway here to win a prize pack of Tangled Tides and Dangerous Depths (both signed), as well as some nail polish and yummy treats!
Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters.
Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairy tales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
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