Review: Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs



  Title: Tempest Unleashed

  Author: Tracy Deebs

  Publisher: Walker Childrens

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In Tempest Rising, Tempest chose to return to the sea, following in her mother’s footsteps and forging a relationship with the selkie Kona. Now many months have gone by, and she yearns to see her family again. Life under the ocean is full of rigorous training to eventually take over the throne, which leads to Tempest’s powers growing and manifesting in new ways. When Tiamat, Tempest’s power-hungry nemesis, attacks Tempest’s brother Moku on land, she returns to his side, which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. But was the attack calculated to get Tempest out of the way? As the battle rages, Tempest’s two loves will collide to both protect her and force her to choose. And when the biggest casualty of all befalls the merpeople-the Queen loses her life-will Tempest be able, or willing, to take over the throne?


When I first picked up Tempest Unleashed, I was totally engaged in the story.   It picks up eight months after Tempest has made the difficult decision to live with her mother’s mer clan and work for the merQueen.  She and Hailana have a volatile relationship, their strong personalities constantly clashing as the merQueen attempts to mold Tempest into her idea of the perfect future queen.  Hailana is a demanding and ruthless leader.  She doesn’t hesitate to harshly enforce her rules when they aren’t followed to the letter.  Tempest quickly begins to question her leadership style, and she chafes at the thought of being Hailana’s weapon.  Fighting Tiamat is one thing, but punishing her own people is another.

I found the mer society and their alliance with the selkies fascinating.  The world building is very solid and believable, and kept me turning the pages – for the first 31% of the book. Then, when Tempest travelled back home because she had a premonition that her younger brother, Moku, was in grave danger, the pace of the story screeched to a standstill, and the focus shifted to my least favorite trope in YA fiction; the love triangle.  I find this particular plot device tedious and overused, and it is one that just don’t hold my attention.  The entire middle part of the book was consumed by Tempest’s back and forth feelings between Kona and her human ex, Mark.  There was no plot advancement, the impending war against Tiamat takes a backseat to Tempest’s internal war over which guy was her true love.  I wish that the relationship conflict had been better integrated with the rest of the larger storyline, and I felt that Tempest, who has such a strong personality, was too fickle and too flighty as she wrestled with her see-saw feelings for Mark and Kona.

The war against Tiamat kicked the pacing up again, and I whipped through to the ending.  The confrontation between Tiamat and her henchmen proved how fierce and fearless Tempest could be when the people she loved were threatened.  I enjoyed the battle sequences, and how Tempest finally accepted her role as the defender of not just the mer people, but the entire underwater world.  If Tiamat was victorious, life would never be the same, not for the creatures in the water, nor for the humans living on the land.  Tiamat’s ambitions to rule the world needed to be quickly and brutally crushed, just as she crushed everyone in her path.

While Tempest Unleashed wasn’t completely satisfying for me, I am invested in Tempest’s underwater world and would like to know what happens next.  I just hope that the love triangle isn’t the main focus of the next book.  If you do enjoy this plot device, I think that you will enjoy the book far better than I did.

Grade: C+

Review copy provided by publisher


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Cover Shot! Buffalo Bird Girl by S D Nelson

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I seem to be on a Native American reading kick.  The last three picture books I read were biographies of prominent Native Americans, and even though I find  them heartbreaking, I can’t stop reading them.  I am drawn to the strength of character that each possessed, and wonder how I would have carried on if I were in their shoes.  Not nearly as well, I am sure.  I don’t know much about the Hidatsa, so I am looking forward to reading Buffalo Bird Girl by S D Nelson.

This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Children will relate to Buffalo Bird Girl’s routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be captivated by her lifestyle and the dangers that came with it.

Using as a resource the works of Gilbert L. Wilson, who met Buffalo Bird Woman and transcribed her life’s story in the early 20th century, award-winning author-illustrator S. D. Nelson has captured the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.

In stores October 2012

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