Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Source: I bought it.
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Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kona, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.
This is one of those reviews that's a little hard for me to write, because I just can't think of a whole lot to say about the book. I liked it, but it did not have me going crazy with love (or hate), so I'm feeling some writer's block. I absolutely love mermaid books, and have been reading quite a few lately. This one started out a bit slowly for me, though.
I did not love Tempest as much as I had hoped I would. She's annoying, selfish, lacking in common sense, and completely self-destructive. I enjoy a heroine with a good head on her shoulders, and Tempest was really dumb sometimes. Some of her decisions had me smacking my forehead. Her silly banter/flirting back and forth with Kona seemed forced and unbelievable. I cringed reading it sometimes. You can tell they were trying to tease each other, but it just did not work. And the insta-love. OH MAN. This book is dripping with it. Seriously, this kind of instant "I will die for you or wait an eternity for you to love me back" is completely unbelievable, and I'm getting tired of it! Tempest's thoughts regarding her mother also really bothered me. Her mom chose to live the life of a mermaid, rather than living on land with her beloved family. Tempest hated her for this, but then goes and makes the same decision (this is not a spoiler... it's in the book summary on the back of the book). So... why can she do it, but not her mother? It just bothered me. Talk about a double standard. I loved her little brothers. They were so cute, and I really liked her dad. I always love reading about heroines who have extremely strong relationships with their dads.
Kona is wonderful, sexy, and completely swoon-worthy. He's also a creature of the water, but you'll have to read the book to figure out what he is. I really liked him and his world, though. He has a lot of honor, compassion, and mystery. I also liked Mark, her other love interest. You know YA novels! They almost always have a love triangle. Mark is also sweet, but I like him more as a brother or best friend than a love interest. Tempest's guy friends are also a fun group to read about, but we don't get to know them very well.
I enjoyed Tracy's descriptions of the underwater world. The sea life and the scenery were so beautifully described, which is what made the story exciting to me (and also what made me give the book an extra star). I never used to enjoy a lot of detail in my stories, but I'm evolving into a lover of world building. I was left wanting more, though. I wanted the focus to move away from Tempest and Kona, and focus some more on those underwater creatures.
Overall, Tempest Rising left a few things to be desired, and left me shaking my head a little bit. The character development and relationships between most of the characters felt forced and made me uncomfortable. I loved the underwater world and would have enjoyed reading more of that than the silly teenage "Who am I? What do I want?" drama. I am planning to read the next book, and hope that Tempest will grow up a little, and that we'll be able to learn more about merfolk and life under the sea.