Wednesday, March 2, 2016

This Book Seems to Think Insta-Love is Okay - Review of Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: Dark Tide
Series: Waterfire Saga
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Pages: 400
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: October 13, 2015
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.47 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars
Book Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis of the first book: Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

Synopsis of this book (possible spoilers): Once a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own. Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme's giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can't return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina's betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia's parents become suspicious, his life--and all of Sera's hopes--will be extinguished.


The covers are quite possibly the best part of this series. THEY'RE BEAUTIFUL.

Thoughts while reading:

"'Oh, silt.' Hahahahahahaha I live for these puns. Only reason this series is worth it." (Page 60)
"This book has way to many characters. I don't know who any of these people are." (Page 82)
"'EisGeists'? Like 'ice ghosts'? Alrighty then."  (Page 88)
"'It was as if she'd had the water knocked out of her.' I don't even know what to do with this sentence. Really? REALLY? REALLYYYYY?!?!?!?!!??!!??!!?!?!?" (Page 148)
"'She killed my father and she's going to pay.' I can't stop thinking about The Princess Bride now." (Page 193)
"Astrid and Des should really be a thing. I'll be very annoyed if the don't." (Page 256)
"I feel like I still don't know who any of these people are even though I'm three books into this series. That's sad." (Page 269)
"The whole 'I only like these boys as friends and I'm just going to push away my attraction to them' thing is really starting to get annoying." (Page 317)
*Note: I was paraphrasing Becca here.
"The clichéness of these 'romances' makes me want to throw up." (Page 324)

  • Life or death situations, but mostly hot guys.
  • So man dumb romances I actually noticed the lack of gay characters.

Things I liked:

I actually really like Jennifer Donnelly's writing, so much so that I might actually continue reading her books even if this series doesn't go too well. And the mermaid puns continue...(see things I didn't like)

I like the world. Well...that doesn't actually take much, but the magic and the kingdoms are pretty cool to learn about.

And Lucia's point of view! That was both a terrible edition to the too many POV already and a nice touch. Lucia is basically on the opposite team, fighting against our main six (SIX) characters. I do like some alternate points of view when it comes to the whole good vs. evil thing.

Things I didn't like:

(Warning: depending on what you count as a spoiler, this might contain spoilers. Not to the actual plot, though, just the romances.)

Well that was quick.

During the first two books, the mermaid/ocean puns ("Oh, silt.") were quite enjoyable, but now they've just gotten old and boring. Especially because they're used more than once, so they're just no
longer funny. At all. Stop it. You're just annoying me now.

And while I liked the world, I feel like I still don't get it. There is a glossary in the back, but if I have to use a glossary, you are doing something wrong. Your world-building skills are iffy.

There are so many characters. I can't keep so many characters in my head! There are SIX MAIN CHARACTERS guys. That's just too many, okay? The switched points of view kind of felt like the Heroes of Olympus series (but without telling you whose POV before the start of the chapter), with a couple chapters following one character and then another and another, switching around like there's no tomorrow, and CONFUSING THE HELL OUT OF ME. I think, after three books, that I might be finally remembering who these characters are.

Can I name them?

I checked. I forgot Ling. See? Do you see what I mean? THREE BOOKS IN!!! Maybe it could be done, as I thought the Heroes of Olympus series was okay doing that (meh, really), but it's just not working here.


There were quite a few romances introduced in this book, some of them better than others.

Sera and Mahdi have always been a thing since the series began. They're alright. I mean, I don't care if they end up together or not, which is probably not the best thing.

Astrid and Des. They were actually okay! Out of all of these romances, it was the one that made the most amount of sense. I think they're kind of cute.

Becca and Marco. NO. OH HELLS NO. I thought people would have learned about how terrible insta-love is, but no, this book just decided to go all fairy tale with the we-met-two-days-ago-but-omg-i-love-you shit. Of all the things in this book, this particular "romance" ruined it the most.

They literally met, blushed for awhile, and then I love yous were being thrown around. In a matter of days, but it really felt like 30 minutes. It was less than 30 pages! WTF.

Also, because of all these millions of romances, I actually noticed the lack of gay characters. The series is actually doing okay in the other-kinds-of-diversity department, but I NOTICED. It's entirely possible that I've been really noticing things like that in general lately, but it's 2016. These are young adult books. INCLUDE SOME EFFING GAY CHARACTERS.

Speaking of relationships, when did these people become friends? I feel like they had some secret get-to-know-you slumber party. They just became BFFs automatically. Like, sure, alrighty then.

And lastly, this just took me forever to read. Occasionally it was pretty engaging, but overall I put it down a lot. So much that it caused a reading slump, and it took me two months to finish.

On the bright side, that means I took a lot of time to write down my thoughts so I could write this review. I mean, I wasn't a good review, and I'm sure they would have liked to have done without it, but I haven't written a review in so long. I should write more reviews. I might have to read more books in order to write more reviews, though... Dammit.


Only if you like insta-love, puns that get old really quickly, and being endlessly confused throughout an entire series. So, um, probably not, no.

Thanks for reading! What do you think of this book/series? (Regardless of whether or not you've read it..)


  1. After reading your review I don't think I will pick this book up, I find books with a lot of main characters super confusing!
    -Aimee /