|Title: The Vicious Deep
Author: Zoraida Cordova
Series: The Vicious Deep #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reviewed by: Julia
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex and oral sex.
For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.
More Nevernever Land than Hogwarts, THE VICIOUS DEEP is a mix of the poetic and profane that would do Shakespeare proud, ribald banter alongside lyrical imagery. Tristan faces challenges that range from a centuries old sea witch to a heartbroken ex-girlfriend and this blend of epic and ordinary created a memorable story that has me anxious for more.
Though this book is about merfolk, Tristan may as well be a siren. His voice absolutely seduced me from page one. Descriptive, wry, and distinct, as I highlighted more and more quotes it was clear that it really didn’t matter what this story held, so long as I could enjoy it through his eyes. And soon I fell in love with them all… Layla with her fists, Maddy with her broken heart, Angelo and his father thanking God for girls in short shorts… Cordova makes every character vivid and loveable, each elegantly sketched with just the perfect details for them to bloom on the page.
Tristan is the charming guy you want to believe has a good heart, despite our ringside seats to his flaws. His love for Layla is lined up right next to his wayward erection, and everything from his rakish ways to his deep-set devotion is loveable. This is no hero with eyes only for the heroine, Tristan is comically aware of every female around him. Slowly it becomes clear, however, that the women he loves are described for more than just their appearance. His mother, his best friend, and eventually, his “cousin”, Thalia, Tristan respects and adores them, attuned to their strengths and quirks. And as a love interest, despite the parade of past flings (and his callow moments), Tristan is honest and helpless enough in his attraction that it’s impossible to hold against him. Ultimately, you can’t help but mirror Layla, with exasperation and love in every punch. Tristan is a man-boy that has potential… and a long way to go before he grows up.
THE VICIOUS DEEP is that magic blend of mayhem, comedy, and affection that makes for an irresistible adventure, which makes it all the more breathtaking when Cordova’s rhythm slips poetry into the pages. It is rare that a book succeeds on so many levels, and I finished THE VICIOUS DEEP excited and eager to share it. Sweet and bawdy and beautiful, this book has something for everyone. She loves me, she loves me not… I certainly do, Tristan, I most certainly do.