Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 26, 2021
Genres: Action & Adventure, Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Source: Blog Tour, The Publisher
Cover Artist: Lavanya Naidu
My content rating: MG (Some violence)
New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan pays homage to Jules Verne in his exciting modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana's parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family's she's got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it'll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.
But wait, there's more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.
Daughter of the Deep brings the reader on a sci-fi undersea adventure, full of danger, intrigue, and family secrets. I love that Riordan has embraced diversity in his recent books. This one features an Indian-American main character, a Black Mormon secondary character, and an autistic secondary character. I felt like the autistic rep was especially good because it showed Ester’s autistic traits in a truly positive light and specifically spotlighted her empathy (a trait that is stereotypically missing from autistic characters). It’s refreshing to see an autistic character portrayed this way.
The story itself is action-packed and filled with scientific facts (and fiction). Kids who love the sea will be excited about the characters’ adventures, and especially with the inclusion of dolphins and an octopus who play an important role in the book. Kids who love high-tech gadgetry will also have plenty to excite them, as Riordan pulls many of Verne’s imagined futuristic tech into the story. The characters are well-drawn (though for some reason I had a little bit of a hard time truly feeling Ana’s pain at the loss of her family—I think it was just because the book was so fast-paced that there wasn’t much time for her to dwell on her feelings). And there is a twist that will surprise many readers and keep them guessing!
I’ve never read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or its companion, which is kind of a shame because I do think this book would be even better if you had a connection to all the references. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely do not have to have read the classics in order to enjoy this story and most of the references are spelled out for any reader who doesn’t know the source material (which, let’s face it, will be most of them), but I just think the reading experience would have been even more enhanced if I’d read Verne. I could definitely see some curious kids deciding to pick up the classic sci-fi adventure story because of this book, though, and that’s a huge positive. (I actually kind of love that Ana mentions that the books are kind of hard to slog through—just so kids know what they’re in for. 🙂 )
I highly recommend Riordan’s newest book for fans of adventure and kids who love the idea of a trip under the sea!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Rockstar Book Tours so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Rick Riordan, dubbed “storyteller of the gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of five #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two #1 New York Times best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. Rick is also the publisher of an imprint at Disney-Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents, dedicated to finding other authors of highly entertaining fiction based on world cultures and mythologies. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.
3 winners will win a finished copy of DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP, US Only.
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