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Review: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs @TracyWolff

Tempest Rising is the first in a trilogy. Check out the second, Tempest Unleashed, and the third, Tempest Revealed.


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.

Although Tempest’s mother is a mermaid, like many mermaid stories, Tempest and her family is fully aware of this, unlike many mermaid stories. She doesn’t stumble upon some hidden secret but is fully expecting her seventeenth birthday, the day she will either remain human or choose to be mermaid. (Although there is a secret involving Tempest’s future she has yet to discover.)

I loved how Deebs included selkies in the book, another ocean myth of half seal/half human creatures. I wouldn’t ever imagine a half seal creature to be sexy. Something about the blubber and slick skin. But hey, Deebs pulls it off.

Tempest wrestles with a lot of anger from her mother disappearing into the sea and abandoning her family. Totally understandable. This causes her to hate the mermaid half of her DNA, providing a lot of potential conflict for the book.

A love triangle does exist between Tempest, her possessive boyfriend Mark, and Kona from the ocean. I’ve heard some say this triangle doesn’t seem realistic due to Mark’s possessive nature. Picking a boy should be a no-brainer for Tempest. However, I think this triangle can be reasonable if we look at what they represent to her.

Yes, Kona is ultra sensitive and sweet and sexy, but he also represents the ocean which stole her mom and everything she hates about herself. Whereas Mark is familiar and relatively safe. (I prefer Mark over Kona, just because I opt for slower relationships.)

I was a little confused in the beginning, when the sea witch first approaches Tempest. I didn’t know if the witch was real or a dream or–really, I didn’t understand what was happening–until later in the book. This could just be me. The witch could have been more developed, but this may come later in the series.

I’m interested to see what comes in the second book. This series has the potential to be different from other YA mermaid books. Since there’s only so much a gal can do underwater, I wonder what direction Deebs will take Tempest.

If love triangles ride on your nerves, or if you hate being lost during any part of the story or when girls are slow to make no-brainer relationship choices, then this book may not be for you. If you enjoy feel-good stories, mermaid tales, or mermaid tails with a twist, then you may have found your next read.

Check out Tracy Deebs’ website here.
Like Tempest on Facebook here.
Follow Deebs on Facebook here.

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