I love reading, and as a writer I like to broaden my scope by reading outside of my comfort zone, so that I can learn more about my craft.
Book – Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers #1)
Author – Christie Anderson
Star rating - ★★★☆☆
Would I read it again – Undecided.
Plot – good, interesting, original – definitely a teen read
Characters – relatable, funny, interesting (at the start)
(end up) boring, repetitive, childish
Movie Potential - ★★★☆☆
Ease of reading – easy to read.
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
This book began with a great start. I was instantly intrigued but happy to float for a while before stepping right into the action. This feeling dwindled gradually as the book went on and more increasingly 'floaty' areas occurred.
The idea of the sad song on the MP3 really reminded me of Beautiful Creatures, and the playing of '16 Moons' with Lena. I was completely entranced by the description and atmosphere the 'Rose and Driftwood' picture created in the story. I think it was pure genius. It was a real 'moment' for me, and for Sadie. I really looked forward to meeting 'Rain' but I did think it took too long to get to the point of his part in it all. Yes, the mystery built tension and confusion in Sadie, but when the big 'reveal' happened, it was a little anti-climactic.
I do have a few niggles with the writing. E.g. - the use of 'sight' instead of 'site' and so forth. To me 'sight' is vision and 'site' is location and that wasn't how it read in the story. Sometimes there's speech at the beginning of a paragraph and a little description in the middle, but often there's no speech mark to show that it's gone from description to speech, which can get confusing since the whole thing is in first person.
I found that the further I went into the story, instead of the action hotting up, it stayed kind of level with the beginning, which made it feel a little slow. I kept taking breaks from reading when it slowed down, to do other things, and I would lose my motivation to start up again. I think there were a few chunks we could have done without. I know Sadie is sad and depressed and confused, but I don't think we need to be reminded of it quite so often. And I'm not sure I like her being this super nice, super pretty, 'understated' girl that all the boys fight over. I don't think it's needed here and it's a little overdone in the genre, I think. It's a little disappointing to see when her character began so differently.
I like Sadie as a main character. She's nice, grounded, sweet and normal. She's a teen girl who has all the usual teen drama with some added extras. I'm really not sure about Heather. She goes from nice and fun to weird and almost unnatural at times and it gets a little confusing trying to decide if her character is good or bad. I'm not if that was intentional, but that was how I read it.
By the end of the first chapter, I was totally ready to trade in the intriguing Nick and the stalkerish Justin, who slightly peaked my interest, for the mystery dude with coordination issues and iridescent skin. Talk about unique!
I really love the connection and innocent need there is between Rayne and Sadie. It's sweet and age appropriate enough to keep this book YA. It's also nice to have an MC girl who isn't totally desperate for a boyfriend, or who wants nothing but fluffy pink hearts and romance in her life. This attitude does tend to slip, the more Sadie is around Rayne, but the fact that it's there at all, is a nice change from the usual YA's I read.
However, I did tend to forget Sadie's name as I was reading. It was only mentioned sparingly, and I mean nearly not at all, during the first 30% of the book. Once things began happening, there was more of it creeping into the story, reminding us of our main character's name and identity. But it did take too long. I write my review notes as I read, so that I don't forget important points or reactions and I kept having to write MC instead of Sadie, because it took too long to look back and find her actual name. Being told in the 1st person, it does make sense that it's not mentioned a lot, since Sadie isn't self-centered or focused on herself that much, but it feels silly to forget her name at all, since she is the MC.
I was very interested in Vass and the Cayno prison. It was a nice addition to the story. I could see this having a really big impact on the story, however that didn't really happen. It had a lot of potential, but it was kind of rushed through and then ignored later.
Syreen was a very interesting character, when she was first mentioned. I had my suspicions about her and Sadie, but I really did have to wait and see how that panned out, because it felt like forever before she came back into the story again. I loved the way Sadie wrote letters to her father, even though she doesn't know who he is. I think it was a great way for her to feel connected while venting her feelings. It was a very original and heartwarming option.
I have to say that Justin and Nick made even ME want to strangle them. I got very angry with Heather during the whole issue with the two boys. If I were Sadie, I wouldn't have gone to her house for any reason, never mind stayed long enough for anything to happen.
I had a few issues with the big 'confrontation' at the end of the story as well. Voss and Rayne do 'battle' over Sadie. But to be quite honest, the really good fight scene was vastly overshadowed by the pathetic whimpering thoughts of Sadie. Here are my big issues -
She only got 'caught' because she's a stupid idiot who doesn't listen to people who are trying to protect her.
Why did Rayne sit there like a lump, mooning over her body instead of taking her to safety first? Why? Because the author knew that doing that would delay them in time for Voss to find them. But that's unrealistic. A guy trained like Rayne, with sole concern over Sadie's safety would instinctively get her to safety and THEN make sure she was okay, knowing they would get caught if they stayed too long. I have no issue with the confrontation, since it's necessary, but the way in which it was engineered didn't fit the personalities of the characters.
Why does Sadie stand there, useless, and not go for the gun right away? She could have done a lot of things, that she didn't because all she did was stand there and panic. That wasn't helping any one.
The book started well and had promise. The plot was unique and interesting and it kept my attention for the first 20% of the book. However, at that point, it got increasingly difficult to continue reading. My interest in the story waned and everyone began acting out of sorts. As a reader, I wasn't getting any answers and that diminished my interest in continuing the story. By 70%, I'm sorry to say that I gave up. My really big issue with this story is that the more I read, the more immature Sadie seems for her age. She's supposed to be 17, but she acts more like a fourteen year old with a first crush. It doesn't gel. There's this big mystery about Voss and what he's up to, but by this point I've lost my will to care what the answer is.
I don't understand the ageing process of Rayne and his people, or why it's necessary for the story. It just seems like an odd addition that makes the story even more unbelievable. Sadly, when I find a story unbelievable, even a fantasy/paranormal story, I can't get into the story well enough to see it through. I may finish this book one day, but it won't be right now. Or even very soon.
I really feel like the more Sadie discovers, which isn't much, and falls for Rayne, the more childish she gets, which makes the story more difficult to follow or care about. I got to the 'slap' incident and I'm very sorry but that was the end of the line for me. The whole scene was a little ridiculous. But like a trooped I kept going. And it didn't get much better.
This book has taken me what seems like forever to get through It was good to begin with and then as the story got more elaborate and more complicated and more secretive, the less interested I was. I'm sure other people will love it and find it highly intriguing, but it's giving me a headache trying to keep all the pieces together to figure out what's going on. I think maybe it's a little too much crammed into one book. If it were half the length, it may have been easier to get through, with the end nearer in sight, but it's not and that's a shame.