Review – Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Today we hear from Bookbabbler Liz…

Tempest Rising – Tracy Deebs

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. (from Goodreads)

Tempest Rising was a surprisingly deeper (and this is where my ocean related puns end) read than I thought it’d be. Having never read a book about mermaids before, I don’t really know what I expected, but it definitely wasn’t something quite as dark and as profound as Tempest Rising turned out to be. Our main character, Tempest, was a sixteen year old girl faced with making a life altering decision on her seventeenth birthday – should she remain human and stay with her father and brothers, or should she embrace the mermaid within her and join her mother in the ocean? I really liked Tempest; she remained adamant that she would never abandon her family the way her mother did, but she struggled to resist the pull of the sea and the way it made her feel when she was swimming or surfing in the waves. Her conflicting desires were eating away at her, and you couldn’t help feel sorry for her, wishing there was some way she could have both. Tempest was also very likeable, I found; for one thing, she was absolutely hilarious, and was never short of a witty comeback, and another thing was that she just seemed like a very real and believable teenager. She always knew when she was being stupid or acting unfairly, but couldn’t control her emotions enough to stop – and this was something I liked about her, because it meant she was acknowledging she wasn’t perfect and that she did have a lot to learn.

Kona, the strange and sexy surfer with a lot of secrets, was another reason I enjoyed Tempest Rising so much. I liked Tempest’s boyfriend Mark well enough – he was very sweet and considerate – but Kona was on a whole other level. He was not only handsome and funny and cheeky, but he had a connection with Tempest that no human could ever understand; once they got to know each other better, it was obvious that Kona cared deeply about Tempest, and I thought the things he did for her were really sweet and showed how much he wanted to be with her. He also held to key to unlocking Tempest’s past, and if Tempest wanted to know more about her mermaid side, Kona was the only person she could go to (something that frustrated Tempest, but which made me laugh a lot, especially whenever Kona had that knowing look on his face that Tempest seemed find so annoying). Kona claimed that Tempest was vital in restoring peace to the ocean realm (though this is never fully explained), and though he teased her a lot about being a clueless mermaid, it was obvious he respected her and admired her. I also loved the way Kona and Tempest acted when they were together; they could be funny, they could be sweet, they could be angry and they could be scared, but whatever emotions they were both feeling, they were always there for each other. I love how their relationship grew, and I think I enjoyed every single scene they were in.

Exploring the world under the sea was probably one of my favourite parts of the novel. It was so great to read about the ocean palace, and all the marine life – and I really liked finding out more about the people who lived there and how things were done in their world compared to on land. I wish we could have seen more, though, as most of the time spent underwater was pretty chaotic for Tempest and Kona. I also wish that we could have found out a little bit more about Tempest’s mother, as we never completely got to understand why she left Tempest and her family all those years ago. However, I did like seeing the way Tempest interacted with her father and brothers – she really loved them and it was easy to see why it’d be so difficult for her to ever leave them.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Tempest Rising – I liked it, but I felt like maybe it was cut short – some more explaining could have been done to wrap up any questions that remained. I wouldn’t object to a sequel, but overall, I’m very happy with the way things stand now and I think that it was the just the right ending for Tempest.

In conclusion, Tempest Rising was a book I thought I’d like but ended up enjoying much more than I anticipated, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a very funny, but slightly more serious summer read.

Thanks, Liz, and thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending us a copy.