Title: Tempest Unleashed
Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Childrens
May Contain Spoilers
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.
Review copy provided by publisher