Review: The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: Lately I’ve been trying to read books that I can use as recommendations or suggestions for teen readers. I was curious to see what this book would be like since it features a male protagonist but still deals with mermaids and underwater adventures.


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.

Review:  This is a hard review to write because while The Vicious Deep was a very disappointing read for me it was not a very memorable one. Typically I either love or hate a book so when I find one that is just sort of eh, trying to explain why is usually like pulling teeth.

Anyway, after a pretty good opening, I feel like this book drifted aimlessly about from episodic plot idea to episodic plot idea without settling down for a very long time. A cohesive storyline or direction would have been really great, and by the time one showed up, the book was basically over. There was so much time to fill in gaps and explained shared histories, but I felt like the book barely touched on the back story behind what was going on. Even when it came to Tristan’s feelings for his friend, Layla, but I was told how he felt and never bought into it. And I was never given a reason to buy into it nor did I ever find myself becoming fonder of either Tristan or Layla for that matter.

The worst part of the book for me is my lack of anything but apathy when it came to Tristan. I felt like he was so very generic and a bit too cardboard. I didn’t really buy him as a character even if his attitude was fairly accurate for a teenage boy in many ways because he seemed to be based on the idea of how a type of person would be like rather than what said type of person actually is like. And because his primary characteristics were being a merman, being a swimmer, being a player, and having a thing for his friend, I didn’t have much to work with or latch onto.

In terms of positives, I liked the humor of the book, and having a male narrator was a bit of a novelty even if I don’t feel like it did wonders for the story. I did like what happened once the characters went off into a magical  underwater realm. I also really liked Tristan’s parents, his grandfather, Thalia, and Kurt. I just don’t know if the pros outweighed the cons for me at any point in time.

In conclusion, an okay read. I have to admit I feel like I read this book wrong because there are plenty of positive reviews for it, but I was mostly just plain underwhelmed. I want to read the sequel for Thalia, Kurt, the villain, and in the hope that this series gets better. All the same, I can’t imagine that I will be recommending this to teens in the near future.

How I would rate it: 2 out of 5 stars.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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2 Responses to Review: The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

  1. Bummer. I was hoping the book would come across better. Thanks for your thoughts on it.

  2. I just finished Devil’s Wake that was similar. It wasn’t bad I just couldn’t get into it and it went no where really. I didn’t love it that’s for sure. Not easy writing a review for a book that is meh

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