Sunday, June 23, 2019

The deepest blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Mayara lives in a world where spirits are more than an idea or a myth, the spirits of her world can cause disruption and death when they turn their attention to people and their settlements.  On the islands of Belene there are constant reminders of the spirits, as many of their islands have formed from the massive remains of the spirits.  Some of the spirits have been tamed and bent to the will of the Queen, but there are still wild spirits that cause problems.  Anyone who shows the ability to control the spirits is given a choice - they can leave their friends and family behind forever and join the Silent Ones, or they can travel to Akena Island and take on the challenge of becoming one of the Heirs.  

But there are other people who can control the spirits, people like Mayara who constantly live in fear that they will be discovered and forced to make the choice between becoming a Silent One or facing Akena Island.  It has been drilled into Mayara for years to keep her skills secret, to not show anyone what she can do, otherwise she will be taken just like her older sister Elorna - something that would break her parents hearts and push her mother further into madness.  When a terrible spirit storm descends on the island on her wedding day Mayara has no choice but to defend her people, which starts a domino effect as she is forced to make the choice of becoming a Silent One or facing Akena Island - an island that is steeped in danger and holds the key to unlocking the chance to change her world forever - if only she can survive the island.

The deepest blue is a stand alone novel set in the world of Renthia, and I was a little dubious about reading it as I haven't read the other books but I had no problems getting into the story and was very quickly absorbed into the story.  Mayara offers an amazing view of this world, her story takes you quickly into the heart of the challenge and her emotions and experiences make it impossible to resist being dragged along for the ride.  The deepest blue is not high fantasy in the classic sense, but the feeling of being on a quest and having the weight of the world on your shoulders has echoes of the high fantasy of old without all the stodgy stuff and flowery language that came along with high fantasy.  

This is an enjoyable fantasy with complex human characters that make it well rounded and thoroughly believable (not to mention makes me want to read other books set in the world of Renthia).  The best part is that it is also a great read for teenagers wanting to move from reading teenage targeted fantasy to adult fantasy as there are no real moments or situations that would be challenging to read or understand.  Looking forward to reading more books set in Renthia when I have the time.

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Reviewed by Brilla