Published February 5th 2014 by Cerulean Books
Pages: 288 pages
What if all the legends you've learned were wrong?
Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she's spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.
But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse.Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be-- because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.
"I am a monster. The worst kind of monster. The kind that people have told stories about for thousands of years. I am the Gorgon Medusa. And my eyes can turn anything living to stone."
- Heather Lyons, The Deep end of the Sea
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
The Deep end of The Sea was definitely a special read for me. It's extraordinary in various ways and deals with darker themes one normally wouldn't read about. The Greek myths are handled in a very different way than in the books I normally read, and it was very entertaining to read about it. However, due to a pile of little issues, I eventually enjoyed it as a whole less than I wanted to.
For starters, I'm not saying this book is a disappointment and bad. Quite on the contrary, there definitely are elements of this book that are just excellent. The characters, for example, were all so wonderful. Every one of them is introduced at the right time so it was very easy for me to get a grasp on them. Thanks to the Percy Jackson series, I already was familiar with every god and goddess. What changed, were the personalities of everyone. The gods in here don't behave so superior and they care for little things. While there still are stereotypes when it came to Aphrodite and Demeter, everyone else is so different. They all have their flaws, and above all: wonderful character development. She managed to create beautiful characters out of stereotypes. All of them felt so human, and that is something I applaud the author for.
Besides the characters, there are two more things I loved even more. One of them was the writing. Oh, how beautiful the writing is in this book. I usually don't have much to say when it comes to the style of writing in a book, but when it is so wonderful I feel like I have to. The writing here managed the explain Medusa's situation very well. The anger she feels, how lonely she is, it made me compassionate with her at the very beginning already. It's clear that the author has experience with writing, because she knows how to show and don't tell. Even when something isn't made clear or actually said in the book, it makes you wonder and you know what's going on without a confirmation. Let's just come to the conclusion and say the writing was fantastic.
Moving onto the romance, I want to go onto my roof and scream how perfection and the romance in this book went hand in hand, from beginning until the end. No signs of insta-love, a smooth evolution from best friends to lovers and passionate scenes. That is the summary of this romance. It is absolutely beautiful. Both characters in the relationship had already grown to love each other but were both too shy to admit it. Skinny love which evolved in something beautiful. In my opinion, the best kind of love there is. It's rare when the romance makes the book, but in this case it definitely is. Without the passionate relationship of Hermes and Medusa, I would have liked this book way less. They both bring forth the best in each other, and more isn't needed. The writing went in a beautiful harmony with the romance, especially during the intimate scenes. It made me swoon and want a boyfriend like Hermes more than anything else.
The way The Deep End of the Sea handled the Greek mythology. It's so different from anything I've ever read, because mostly the darker elements of the myths are usually glossed over. The author wasn't afraid to take risks, and it worked out very well. Rape is a very central aspect of the plot, and it was very refreshing for me to read about something like this. It's a change of decor, and a very good one too. Medusa's evolution from being a scared girl to a fierce woman had to do a lot with how she managed to deal with her trauma. Lyons was capable of creating a realistic situation, even though it has been more than two thousand years. It was something completely out of my element, yet it still is something I learned from and I don't have any issues regarding that.
What my actual issues are, made me think about the plot and pace in general. At times I didn't knew where the plot was actually heading. To me, it seemed like a combination of events that weren't tied together very well. Everything happened because of something, but it didn't gave me a very satisfying feeling. The plot seemed to have ended around page fifty, while there were two hundred pages left. As I got closer and closer to the end, there wasn't really anything happening. Medusa was just kind of waiting around and that waiting seemed to take forever. The plot twist at the end was brilliant, but in another way kind of rushed. The information gets thrown at you as if you understand it completely, and then it just ends. There was lack of plot and suspense for the second half of the book, and the pace didn't do much good.
The summary implied that this would be a special novel and hopefully a read to remember, and it is. The good reviews just made me a little bit too excited and I expected a perfect novel. I was certain I would be head over heels about it. There are great elements to this book that can't be ignored, but that doesn't leave out the issues I had, and they couldn't be ignored. The romance, the beautiful characters and the gorgeous writing made The Deep End of the Sea beautiful. It's just such a shame that it got less and less interesting near the end.