April 10, 2014

Review: Tempest Rising

Tempest Rising (Tempest, book 1) by Tracy Deebs


Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Edition Reviewed: eBook
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Goodreads

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 Kai, 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.


The first 40 pages of Tempest Rising were everything I had hoped this title could be. Tempest being a surfer is part of her character and it was so wonderful to finally read a book that had surfing in it, doing it right. Her character was so fun and I was enjoying getting to know her. Already I knew she wouldn't be one of my favorites, but I enjoyed her company. The world was starting to flesh out. The mystery of the red haired sea witch was tickling my brain. So when Tempest is on the beach in a crazy storm and she spotted something red in the water my thoughts were, “Heck yes, the bitch be scaring.” Then right after the next paragraph my thoughts were, “No. Please no. Not some hunk to muck up this whole book with a horrid love triangle.” The feared hunk rose from the water, from there this book descended into crap.

Tempest Rising was my first pick for finally reading a YA Urban Fantasy about mermaids. The vast majority of my Goodreads friends had given this a glowing review, even the ones who are normally really picky. My peeps led me astray, so astray. A lesson to why no matter the rating you must venture to see if you actually like it. As mentioned there is a love triangle here. Tempest has this amazing human boyfriend, Mark.. He's a gentleman and when he does get a little possessive—nothing like other YA book—I felt he was totally justified. Because Tempest had insta-hormones for Kona right upon him rolling up out of the ocean. The book didn't do enough to flesh out either love interests, but I definitely liked Mark.

Ah, Tempest. Tempest. It's amazing that at page 40 I thought she was a good companion. Then within maybe 20 to 30 pages later I knew I had no respect for the girl. First off she just confesses to her long time boyfriend, and best friend, that she loves him. Ah, so sweet. Then she goes and makes out with Kona. The hunk she doesn't know. Then she goes and kisses Mark again. Then she's back to kissing Kona and beyond the few mentions of Mark we all know the girl could care less about him. No matter how hot authors need to develop the love triangle enough that it's justified for the girl to be cheating on her man. And that she has the guts to tell him up front and to make a decision before making out with the other guy. Trust me I can go on about how horrible a girlfriend Tempest is. Not to mention that Kona is 900 years old, but is the worst fleshed out teenage-not-really guy I've ever read. If he had been Tempest’s age I could have lived with that. Oh, the way the author tries to make Mark look bad at the end was laughable. Just made him look like the better man. Go Mark, he dodged the bullet.

Tempest's other failing is that she has pretty much known from day one that she is going to turn into a mermaid on her seventeenth birthday. She's horrifically afraid of this. So we're supposed to believe that a smart and intelligent girl is going to cling on to denial even with all of the damning proof. Even though with that denial she still knows and has clearly accepted it. Isn't going to do some kind of research. Or maybe I don't know, move away from the ocean? Do something to try and get the right king of knowledge. Because knowledge is power. You know forewarned is forearmed. Nope instead Tempest is going to obsess about her mom leaving her and talk about how she's not throwing a pity party for herself.

“Was this what Mark felt like when I put him off without answering his questions? I hoped not, because it totally sucked.” - Tempest

Now let's get on that. Her mother makes it sound like Tempest can choose to be human or a mermaid. She didn't even bother to give her daughter some advice like, “Hey there's this evil sea witch out there who wants to kill you. I'm going out there to protect you. Ps-Stay away from the ocean at night or the sea witch will try to kill you. Love you, mommy.” This whole, tell-my-children-nothing-so-that-they-can-bumble-around-and-have-their-lives-put-in-danger-do-to-my-lack-of-sharing-knowledge is the worst plot device ever used. Sure some authors are smart enough to have the parents leave some information later on, or to get the kids armed up at some point. (Or the parents simply died and could share this information.) So when Tempest finally realizes she doesn't have a real choice in the matter, it's so tiring. Because even Kona—worst love interest ever—won't give her any thing. For most of the book this is how things go:

“Why can't you just tell me?” It was my turn to reach out for him, to grab his hand.

“Because you're not ready for the answers yet.” -Tempest and Kona

OK, I'll give it to Kona when Tempest finally gets some answers she freaks. But who wouldn't? How is anyone expected to make an informed life altering decision on zero information? Which is an argument that Tempest waits to use until almost the end of the book.

The characters and world are so underdeveloped. What happened after the first 40 pages?! The author actually talks about walking and crab-walking instead of swimming. Which totally took me out of the undersea moments. When Tempest gets to Kona's castle there's no question as to how this castle out in the middle of no where has gotten modern necessities. The underwater world was . . . ugh. The people and society is never explained, expanded on, it's just there. A lot of the plot and information is just there. As if readers shouldn't care about details like that. After all we're only here for the love triangle. A poorly crafted love triangle. If there's more then one book planned, please make an effort. Or better yet, love triangles—most of the time—do not make good books. Very few authors can, and have, pulled them off.

I'm exhausted. Tired of books that have so much potential but simply fall back on all the tropes that the paranormal young adult, and young adult genre as a whole, seems to love to fall back on. Mermaid books are still so rare. There's an opportunity to go outside of the box with the world, society, people, and so much more. By the end of this book I felt insulted as a reader. Readers want more then this cookie cutter crap! OK, I know there are a ton of readers who eat this crap up. I eat this crap up! However, not at the cost of originality and story/character development. This was another valuable lesson that even if the first 40 pages were wonderful, that you should stop when you start loathing the book and the death of a good story.

Sexual Content: Kissing, making out,and some sexual humor.

1/5- I couldn't finish it or wish I hadn't.

Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
Tempest Rising (1) 
Tempest Unleashed (2)
Tempest Revealed (3)
Tempest Rising (1)
Tempest Unleashed (2)
Tempest Revealed (3)
Tempest Rising (1)
Tempest Unleashed (2)
Tempest Revealed (3)

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