Synopsis: 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.
So, what happened here? On paper this book had everything I would’ve enjoyed. Adventure, fantasy, distinctive setting and a strong-willed female lead (and that cover is gorgeous). It’s a combination that normally works but…it didn’t for me. I spent most of my time reading this book in a state of confusion. There was too much info in some parts so I would find myself skimming *guilty look* then turning back a couple pages going ‘wait, did I miss something?’ It was exhausting. The two bright spots for me that made me try to get through this book were 1) the killing – because great stories hardly occur when authors are afraid to kill off characters (sad but true) and 2) the diversity – there were White, Black, Indian and Asian mermaids as the leads of the book that seems to be setting itself up to have friendship as one of its themes (yay!) However, there was just too much going on and it didn’t really gel together like it should have making the read tiring instead of fun.