A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.
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After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
After the breaking of her marriage Isaura is travelling home when a storm hits her boat leaving her adrift and alone, surely to die. But luck is on her side. Leonel is determined to find the cause of these vicious and magical storms that are plaguing the seas. He see’s Isaura as his chance to learn more about the storms, and potentially find out what is causing them, so he does something forbidden, something that could see him killed, he saves her life. Grateful, Isaura is quick to offer her help with Leonel’s cause and the two get dragged into an ancient battle for power that could bring them together, or break them apart for good.
Having read Deen’s ‘In the Jaded Grove’ and loving it, I was so happy when I got the chance to read ‘Beneath Cruel Fathoms’ as part of BBNYA 2021. Deen has a strength in writing characters that I absolutely fall in love with and Isuara and Leonel certainly aren’t the exception. Isuara is still reeling from the ending of her marriage, she see’s herself as lesser because of her inability to have a child, and believes that her husband was right to leave her. Her story is heartbreaking, but her spirit never fails, she is determined and feisty and I just loved how she never backed down, even when she was in danger.
Leonel never really feels like he fits in. A product of his mothers affair, he lives on the outskirts of mer life, looked down on by his siblings for not being a full merfolk, and is ruthlessly punished for something that is out of his control. Bu as warden of the sea he is determined to look into these storms, finding out who is causing them and why. He doesn’t want to work with a human, but he finds Isuara invaluable, and alongside his growing feelings, finds it harder and harder to return to the sea. Deen graces us with a wonderful cast of side characters, some you will love and others you will hate, but they all play a pivotal part in the story.
The romance between our two MC’s was beautifully written. They accept each other, warts and all, and their acceptance of the other was kind of a healing balm that they both desperately needed. Being from different worlds meant they didn’t necessarily have the same understanding or cultural beliefs, and I got some serious star-crossed lovers vibes, because as much as they may love each other, neither can survive in the others world for any length of time.
Deen’s descriptive writing absolutely transports you to both worlds, human and merfolk and I could easily visualise every setting the characters found themselves in. The mystery that weaves through the story was intricately woven, and with the addition of plot twists ensured that there was never a good time to put the book down. I am a huge mythology fan, so I loved the heavy dose of norse-mythology we get in this story, and with the addition of the pacing and the cliffhanger ending I’m certainly eager to get my hands on the second book.
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The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!