Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
Series: Not Part of a Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance (NA)
Add on Goodreads

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again. (from goodreads)

(Please note: I do not believe this book should be considered YA because the age of the main character (23) and because of the none-explicit explicit sex scenes.)

- I don't like books that deal with issues. 'Realistic Fiction'. Real world things such as abuse, rape, suicide and disease are serious things and I prefer much lighter reading. This book has a main character that was raped.

- I don't like first person perspective. I don't avoid it like the plague, but a book has to sound awesome for me to consider it with this POV. This book has first person perspective.

- I don't like stories written in the present tense. For me they are just too weird and I get removed from the story and caring about the people. This book is written in present tense.

- I don't like urban fantasy. I consider all books that deal with fantasy elements in a contemporary setting/time period to be urban fantasy. To me, this book is urban fantasy.

- I don't like introspective books. I much prefer fighting action to the more serious perusal of personality and the human condition (or romance). This book has little action.

So, with all these thing that I know I don't like in books, what in the world compelled me to read Deep End of the Sea? Honestly, I haven't a clue.

Thus, not only am I a monster, I'm a really lousy one. A lonely, classic Five Stages of Grief following, insecure, shut-in of a pathetic beast who talks to the snakes on her head and the statues on her island.

Medusa is a fascinating character. She develops quickly from something of a fearful, spineless pushover into - well, not as much of one. She never becomes pushy or domineering, but between her past and personality, it's easy to see why. She starts feeling safe, loved for who she is and comfortable enough to give her opinion on things. She slowly develops into a strong woman.

It took years - literally, hundreds of years - but he chipped away at my shell with acts of kindness small and large.

Hermes is a sweetheart. Even though Medusa threatened him, he never abandons her, stubbornly and tenaciously becoming her friend because, even when she's a 'monster', he sees the beauty of her heart. He's the kind of best friend that will always be there for you, who offers you a shoulder to cry on no questions asked. He's steady and sweet and oh so very perfect for Medusa.

He [Zeus] is lounging in his throne, dressed in a t-shirt, torn shorts, and flip-flops. There is no beard, no mustache - just sandy hair and weathered, tan skin.

Sitting a few feet away is Hades, perusing something on an iPad.

I do rather love this depiction of the Greek gods. I know that most contemporary books do update them, but this - for some reason - has really tickled my fancy. It also bears a mention that the Greek deities aren't alone in the heavens. There's other pantheons that, while they usually keep to themselves, are up there sharing the same cloud-space.

I would have liked to see a grey area with some of the deities. I mean, you've got the insane one and the rapist, but besides them, everyone else is kind of cloyingly sweet. I understand why they are, because that's exactly what Medusa needs, but I would have liked to see some give with the characters

All in all, lovely story. I was mentally giving it four stars. Possibly even five. That's how much I was loving this book. Until the halfway point. Until Medusa and Hermes consummated their love. (I didn't know it was going to happen, but I suspected - I just didn't realize it was going to happen so early.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I prefer the slow-burn over the 'I love you, darling' and the 'I'd do anything for you, sweetheart' that usually crops up once the characters get together. Hermes and Medusa became a loving, diabetes inducing couple and everything slowly started to fall apart for me.

Medusa quit her character and personal growth, relying all on Hermes instead. She did enough before, but now she doesn't even question him, just follows blindly. It's a good thing that he is such a nice guy, because there are a lot of people out there that would take advantage of her in this state.

The plot quickly lost the vestiges of magic that it had been tenaciously clinging to, instead turning into just another adult/new adult story where a girl has a rapist stalker and a boyfriend that has ties to witsec. The magic was gone.

It is complicated, but I found a way to temporarily bind her divinity when I passed her off to a mortal family.

Correction, besides the insane deity, the rapist one, we also have the bitch.

Just to be clear, if this story had been lacking the Medusa/Greek gods addition, and just been billed as a contemporary story about a girl struggling to put the pain of her past behind her, even while being threatened by a repeat occurrence, and the guy that loves her moving heaven and earth to protect her, I would never even have given it a second look.

I am being very generous with my rating.