I always knew who my mother was. I always knew where I belonged. And I always knew I wanted to be on the water, like my dad.
…Until I was forced to go out into the water, anyway. Out there, you feel really lonely. But you’re never alone. There is more life and emotion under the waves than most humans will ever see, more than I could have ever imagined. Down there, it’s an entire world of rage and hate, love and hope. It’s a world of fear.
It’s a world of war.
Once, my mother told me she would sing me a song of the sea. But under the waves, the only music I ever heard was the sound of screams.
Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.
This story captivated me from the early pages and held my attention until the final pages. I stayed up late to finish reading this book because I did not want to put it down. Varden has created a story that is simple but beautiful and one that tells a new story but still captures the familiar mystery of the ocean and the underwater world as well as the creatures that live there.
The plot is fast but not rushed, with the ideal balance of adventure, action, and suspense, while Brenna is a narrator who keeps the story flowing naturally with narration that is light and easy to read. Her determination and enthusiasm makes her a wonderful narrator and she adds a nice level of emotion to the story as she tells it. Varden balances the teenage voice without having it shallow or stereotypical, but she also manages to capture the tone and experiences of being fifteen and discovering love, losing a parent, and trying to work out a place in the world.
Brenna is a great character, she has a strong affinity with the sea and she is confident about what she wants and her bravery and ingenuity are assists in her goals. I enjoyed the relationship Brenna has with the people around her and each person brings out a different side of her in a way.
With mermaids, selkies, and humans all to deal with, the combination of worlds is wonderful. Varden is imaginative and creative with her description of the underwater environment, both physically and socially, and Brenna’s adaptation to this world is handled fittingly. The story is realistic as it can be given the nature of it and everything Brenna experiences makes you believe it is possible.
Brenna’s friendship with Dylan was done extremely well and Varden plays them off one another with ease, making their connection seem natural. The intense situations they find themselves in bring them together but it doesn’t alter who they are with both strong personalities remaining. Dylan teaches Brenna all about the underwater life she has immersed herself in while Brenna coaches Dylan above the sea, their support for one another beautifully adding to their friendship and only adds to the mythical world Varden aims to establish.
They way Varden has approached this story is a refreshing change compared to other stories with similar themes. I loved Varden’s approach to the underwater world and especially Brenna’s place in it. The underwater war was a thrilling addition and it adds another level to the story that manages to change everything you were expecting from this story and turn it into something much better. I loved that the underwater world is not made out to be perfect or ideal; instead it has conflicts and problems like the land does. This makes the story not just about Brenna and her mother and makes it a lot more complicated and made it so much more enjoyable.
This truly is an enchanting tale filled with new love, searching for what’s lost, and discovering who you truly are. There is suspense and surprises, and tiny moments of joy that make this a fantastic fantasy adventure and one that will manage to warm and break your heart at the same time. This book is a brilliant start to a series and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
You can purchase Song of the Sea via the following