Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blog Tour Review and Interview: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0802722318
ISBN-13: 978-0802722317

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 Kai, 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.

Review:

Tempest has a lot on her plate with her seventeenth birthday coming up; it's not surprising that it comes as a shock to her when her mermaid tendencies come a couple weeks before they were expected to manifest. In fact, it comes as a terrifying revelation that they took up where they had left off six years earlier, where a sea witch was willing to drag Tempest to the sea floor for unknown reasons. For bad purposes are Tempest's guess.

When Kona/Kai is first introduced, it is doubtful you can resist his wash-board abs and mysteriously dark physique. While Tempest may have the perfect life--and no matter how hard she tries to hold on to it--Kai's addition makes for one rocking birthday that knocks Tempest back to the ocean in a confrontation with her dead-set decision she never thought she'd second guess.

Deebs mastered the waves that rolled and crashed in Tempest Rising. The main character, Tempest Maguire, was mindful of her past and she let it bleed into her perception of how she has viewed her mother for the past six years. Her resentment towards her is no secret, and she had long ago made her decision to be nothing like her mother. I believe that she had the right amount of blame for her mother and agreed with how she took it into consideration of all her mermaid-related choices. However, throughout the book, the reader gets a view of the variety of obstacles she endures in order to keep her secret hidden and her decision true. The book initially surpassed my expectations as I read the abrupt twists that were shocking and how fast Tempest was able to acclimate with it all. The plot was rough but original between the relationship of a mermaid and a selkie and their underwater world.

Honestly, I had low expectations when I saw in the synopsis that the author was going to attempt to create an underwater world to the plot's continuousness and I wasn't wrong to have them. I do believe that it could have been perfected and the knowledge behind underwater living could have been made more realistic but to a degree it cushioned the writing style of not going too in-depth of the scenery background and more into the character background. For that I was grateful.

My favorite character, who I just must mention because he had a major impact on the book subtly, was Tempe's father. Talk about the most loving and supporting dad ever. He not only was going through the same emotions that Tempest expressed in terms of her missing mother but he was compassionately supportive when  it came to be her time of decision-making.

The ending was a big hit with me as well, because it was written to accommodate the lessons and acceptance that Tempest was helpless to learn in her journey through the great big ocean. Overall, I enjoyed reading the struggle and adaptive qualities that made Tempest Rising an addictive debut. You not only want to know more about Tempest's relationships but also about how other characters will fare out in the future.

Grade: B+

ARC Source: Publisher


Interview:

1) To introduce new readers to Tempest Rising, what is your take on your fabulous debut?

I don’t even know where to start. I’m so excited that Tempest Rising is finally going to be on the shelves, but also really nervous (I swear, I have pterodactyls in my stomach instead of butterflies) as I wait for release day.

I really love this book. It’s my first YA, my first first person narrator, my first surfer book, my first mermaid book … you get the picture. When I was writing it, I poured so much of myself into the book that it’s both terrifying and exhilarating to realize that it will finally be out there for people to read and judge … I just hope my readers like Tempest as much as I do :)

2) With this new sweep on sea creatures going through the YA genre, what are your favorite sea-related reads and why?

I love selkies. I think they’re totally cool, and while I haven’t read another YA with them yet, I really like Virginia Kantra’s Immortal series with them. I also like the new books that are coming out with sirens as main characters—Siren by Tricia Rayburn was a great YA. I also really liked Tera Lynn Childs’s Forgive My Fins

3) If you could, would you consider living coastal-side in California, or is this your fantasy residence only?

I grew up in San Diego, and the beaches Tempest surfs in the book are the beaches that I surfed and roamed when I was her age. Though I am currently landlocked in Austin, Texas, I would love the chance to move back to the California coast.

4) Would you consider writing a sequel for Tempest Rising, or do you consider it a stand-alone?

I’ve always wanted the Tempest books to be a trilogy. The second book, Tempest Unleashed, is under consideration by my editor right now as we wait to see how Tempest Rising does.

5) How much would you enjoy have your own Kai that'd like to sweep you off your feet and into something even more dangerous? :)

I love Kai. I really love Kai (whose name, incidentally, got changed by my publisher to Kona in the final draft), although Mark is no slouch ;) I actually married my own dark, sexy and mysterious guy, and in some ways Kona is a much younger version of my husband (except for the whole selkie thing, which would have been very cool, LOL).

But seriously, when I created Kona and Mark, I wanted them to represent the best part of Tempest’s life on land and in the water. A choice between them isn’t just a choice of the guy, it’s a choice of the life she wants. In Tempest Rising, as she’s exploring the underwater world that she’s both loved and hated for so long, Kona really is the best choice for her. In subsequent books … we’ll have to see ;)

What! What is this "In subsequent books..." teaser? That's just plain mean. Thank you, Tracy, for answering my questions and congratulations on your debut, Tempest Rising releasing May 10.

LiLi