In the world of Renthia, spirits embody the elements. They control nature, but they are also filled with violence and bloodlust, eager to kill the people living in their lands. Only a few women, named queens of each country, have the ability to control the spirits and protect their people. The queen of Belene was supposed to protect Mayara and her family on her wedding day from the spirits, but she didn’t. Instead, Mayara had to use her own power to protect her loved ones, exposing herself as one of the few women with this ability and making her life much more dangerous than it used to be. Now she has to pass a test to prove that she’s worthy enough to be heir to a queen. A test her sister failed. A test that promises certain death if she doesn’t pass.
I got a free digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, so here we go!
After having read Sarah Beth Durst‘s Queens of Renthia series (you can see my review for the first book in the series, Queen of Blood, here), I was thrilled to once more get the chance to experience this terrifying and magical world in The Deepest Blue, a companion novel to that series.
Like the Queens of Renthia books, The Deepest Blue is an adult fantasy novel. It’s full of the violence and beauty that imbued the first books of the series, and it was fantastic to visit this world again.
My favorite part of these books has to be the setting. Renthia is a wonderfully scary land, and Durst has an ability to really make one feel like they’re in the world. Not only was she able to really create images of this world in her writing, but I was also filled with Mayara’s emotions in every page (although I read it digitally, so does it still count as a page?). There were so many moments, especially early in the book, where I wanted to leap into the story and punch someone in the face, or help hide someone from evil spirits, or just do something! Needless to say there were many reactions from me as I raced through the chapters.
And race I did. The plot was so compelling and moved so quickly that I just had to know what was going to happen next. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a plot-led book, though. In fact, the characters propel it forward, and their decisions have major consequences. It works out well since several of the characters are complex and fun to read about. Mayara is the main character here, and she has a rich story behind her. She has a family and a husband and a life before she is taken away. And while I loved her character I think Roe became my favorite here. And obviously a special character who had appeared in the previous novels and I was thrilled to see again (not spoiling who it was, though).
What was also excellent about the novel was that Durst, besides inserting a plot on survival and spirits, also adds some fun politics (I love politics in novels, as you might have realized by now). So much happens in these pages, and it was a wonderful story.
The plot was fast-paced and intricate and it had some massive twists that I definitely was not expecting. There were moments that shocked and startled me, and the ending was just so so satisfying. I won’t say what happened in the end, but I will say that if we get another book about this island I will definitely not be disappointed.
The Deepest Blue was another absolutely wonderful read by Sarah Beth Durst, and I heartily recommend it. In fact, it might be my favorite of hers so far, and what’s extra nice is that you don’t really have to have read the previous novels to read this one since they only marginally intersect. So this is one I definitely recommend.
The Deepest Blue will be available March 19, 2019 from HarperCollins. You can go ahead and preorder it here.