Series: Eden #2
Published: 2014 by Samhain
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
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The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera is a tale of love, magic, and adventures on the high seas. Captain Darok Juell is on a top secret mission, and he’s received instructions to bring a secret agent from Seawatch on board. As a member of Seawatch, Yerena Fin Caller has the magical ability to communicate with and telepathically control a shark. Her orders are to destroy Captain Juell’s ship rather than let it fall into enemy hands, but Yerena begins to feel increasingly torn between her mission and her feelings for the handsome captain.
I love love love this series. Each book is a fantasy/steampunk (and now sharkpunk! woohoo!) romance that can function as a standalone. The books are set in the same world, but you don’t have to read any of them to understand the others. Picture a medieval world that’s just on the brink of it’s industrial revolution. There’s new technology coming out, and there’s a sense of excitement in the air. It’s the perfect backdrop for a feel-good happily-ever-after romance that’s bound to cheer you up if you’re feeling down.
I thought that Captain Juell and Yerena’s relationship was adorable. Both of them are extremely dedicated to their careers, and they bring out the best in each other. The only real obstacle to them being together is that Yerena’s a part of Seawatch, and Seawatch exerts very strict control over its operatives. They’re trained and brainwashed since childhood to be loyal, disciplined, and emotionless, so for Yerena, falling in love is a betrayal of her entire identity.
The worldbuilding in The Deepest Ocean was much more fleshed out than in Before the Storm. We find out more about some of the different countries in Eden and what makes them different. Darok and Yerena are both from Denalay. The Denalait worship a being called the Unity and want to bring everyone into its fold. The villains in this book are Turean pirates, who don’t want to be ruled by Denalay. Because each nation in Eden has been separated from the others for so long, people have different genetic traits–for instance, only the Denalait can talk to sharks, but the Tureans have adapted to be able to drink salt water. One of the things that I enjoyed in The Deepest Ocean is that I sympathized with the pirates and questioned the protagonists’ allegiance to the Unity. And it’s not like the Tureans are saints–the pirate Jash Morender isn’t above performing biological experiments on her captives to turn them into superweapons. There’s no clear-cut sense of good versus evil, but instead a far messier reality where everyone is trying to survive and protect their own interests.
I’d highly recommend The Deepest Ocean. It’s smart, sexy, and full of swashbuckling fun.