Cover Image: Deepest Blue

Deepest Blue

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Member Reviews

This was different to what I would typically read but I really enjoyed it. It gave me Neil Gaiman vibes and I enjoyed reading this book

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I didn't manage to get past 20% of this book. The narrative was so confusing and, as lyrical as the writing might be, I struggled to grasp what was actually going on which, ultimately, alienated me from the story more than the magic and whimsy of the writing attracted me to it.

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Oooh! I just loved this book so so much. There's something about it that is so different, yet so relatable to me and it tapped a part of my reading that I have been yearning for. It's such a timely, unique, and diverse read that is perfect for everyone - not just YA readers! I loved the magical aspect of it too! It just added more to the book. Definitely recommend!

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Let’s start with the style, the lyricism was spectacular and the world building delicious(a word I use rarely.) The plot and follow through were not as strong unfortunately but I had no regrets reading this novel. Sometimes the style alone is enough for me even if this isn’t usually so for most readers.

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Unfortunately, this book was not for me. I was thoroughly confused throughout and I did not like the writing style of the book. The premise sounded really good but it didn't live up to it in my opinion. Maybe I'll try Mindy Tarquini again on a later stage as there seems to be a lot of people really liking her.

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Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book.

I found this book to a bit of a challenging read, as it drops you into a world that is slightly different from ours and yet does not do an adequate enough job to tell you how it works.

I found myself struggling to understand why things were happening, and how. I felt it took away from the story (which also had some backstory too confusing to follow) and left me frustrated.

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The Booksparks Fall Reading Challenge 2018 (#FRC2018) is here.  Summer is coming to a close and BookSparks releasing their next reading challenge.  They pick 17 new Fall books, and they take readers on an adventure this season.  Today's book is yet another book in their challenge - Deepest Blue: A Novel by Mindy Tarquini. 

I'm actually glad I was able to get a digital copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, since I was familiar with author Mindy Tarquini thanks to the opportunity of reading her 2016 bestseller, Hindsight.  I'll be the first one to admit that this genre is definitely out of the realm of my normal reading preference.  Shortly after getting the digital copy, I received a copy of the actual paperback book, which made me very happy ♥  That being said, when I read the description of the story, I knew it was one I wanted to read. 

The story in Deepest Blue is based somewhat on Italian folklore of a magical and enchanted world called Panduri, which can only be seen at twilight. The description of this city is so beautiful - I had great imagery in mind while reading the book. I felt like if I could actually see it, it would be glowing and abundantly filled with plants and trees and beautiful nature.  

The group of brothers - Antonio, Matteo and Claudio - are in mythical Panduri and are bound by their star charts, they are to do what is expected of them..... but then they don't. I loved the family drama woven in this fantasy story. Ms. Tarquini again writes a very engaging and fast-paced story with multiple layers.  The writing is incredible and the characters in this story were very interesting. I loved how easy it was to dive into the magical world of Panduri.

I received a complimentary advanced reader digital copy of this book from NetGalley, and I received a paperback advanced reader copy of this book from BookSparks, but I'm not required to post a positive review. I am, however, posting as part of the BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2018 (FRC#2018).

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A book for fans of Neil Gaiman? Yep, i'll take that. An ephemeral Italian-inspired city named Panduri that can only be seen at Twilight? Right up my street! The premise of 'Deepest Blue' had me extremely excited and desperate to begin reading, but, ultimately, I found it a very frustrating experience as it felt like the author had a truly magical and fairly original idea, but that the execution of said idea fell short of the mark. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement as I thought this had the potential to become a bestseller and catapult Tarquini to the top. I have to mention the dreamy cover art too. Stunning.

Here, the writing style is either one you will love or hate depending on individual preferences. It is often quite lyrical but as I appreciate wonderful descriptions, this was one of the aspects I particularly enjoyed about the story. That being said, I think if you are not a fan of this type of prose you are likely to feel that the plot doesn't move as quickly as you'd like. I had an issue with the fact that the plot jumped around a lot with no prior warning leading to confusion. I enjoy complex narratives and would like to think I am a fairly astute reader, but this was far too complex for me. If felt like we were missing a lot of vital background information that was essential to understand the characters' motivations - it almost felt like joining a series in the middle as I was so lost. As a seasoned crime reader I am used to having to piece together clues, however, here, I felt that there wasn't enough clues to be able to understand how the world works. I felt sad that this didn't work as its positive message of resilience in the face of adversity is one most of us need right now with the current state of worldwide affairs. Vague, confusing and frustrating but with some joyful, unique and magical moments thrown in for good measure. I yearned for the story to blow me away, it felt like that sort of book, but alas, I was left absolutely gutted.

I am under no illusion, this could've been a exquisite book, but there were too many things that let it down for me. I do hope that Tarquini continues to write as I would try another of her titles should she publish more in the future. I just hope she can hone her skills because she certainly shows promise in my opinion.

Many thanks to SparkPress for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Deepest Blue is a dreamy, magical novel that has a lot of interesting concepts, which were unfortunately not carried out as well as they could be.

The book is set in Panduri, an Italian-esque magical city-state. Panduri is something like a traditional Faerie kingdom: the inhabitants have sprites, who they pay in sweets, to carry messages; they shine rainbows on newborns for a bit of extra happiness (and have no interest in the gold that slides down it as well); and their destinies are mapped in the stars by Panduri's ruler, the Duca.

Matteo is the second son of the Duca and the destiny mapped for him is as one of the city's Protectors. He is meant to serve at the border between Panduri and the Outside, a destiny he is looking forward to. However, his older brother Antonio, the Heir to the Duca, is determined to defy his fate; he takes Matteo's place at the border instead and sets Matteo up to plot the star charts in his stead. This rebellion ultimately sends the two of them, and the rest of their family as well, spinning off-course.

To be honest, I'm struggling a bit with what to say about the book. I think a large part of what's interesting about it is finding out how the world works, and most of the intrigue lies in discovering what the character's motivations are. What is "star casting" exactly and can the inhabitants of Panduri defy their fates? What is the "Outside" -- and will Matteo's two little brothers, who left for the Outside years ago, ever return? What are Antonio's actual goals? You're thrown into the deep end with little context given and have to piece it all together as you go on.

Unfortunately, for me, the deep end felt a little too deep and the book tipped from "interesting and mysterious" to "frustratingly opaque". Around 25% in, things more-or-less clicked. That's a pretty large chunk of book to be hopelessly confused in though. However, after finishing, I found out the ARC was unfortunately very oddly formatted: e.g. having dialogue from several characters in one paragraph, making it difficult to tell who's speaking. While reading I genuinely thought this was just an extremely odd "poetic" writing choice! I can't change my impression, but while the book does throw you into the deep end, reading the final version may prove a bit less confusing than it was for me.

It's a real shame that the delivery is muddled, because there's a lot to enjoy, particularly in the setting. Panduri is a very magical city, of the soft, folklore type. The land itself responds to the Duca, with hedgerows trembling when he's angry; the Duca's wife may set extra stars in the sky for Panduri's Midsummer celebrations. If you receive a gift, give something in return if you don't want problems; if you made a promise, taking the words back requires a fair amount of delicate handling. All inhabitants are bound by the Deep Lore, something between religion, tradition, and fate. One of the lessons taught in Panduri's monastery is, Fuck with the Deep Lore, the Deep Lore fucks back. That is, the Heir denying his stars is not only a succession crisis, but more importantly results in actual earthquakes.

At its core, the story centres around a large, deeply troubled family. They talk past each other, accidentally hurt each other, and then lash out on purpose. The two brothers that ran away leave a large hole in their wake, and Antonio's actions only widen it. Grief over missing loved ones and guilt over missed connections or misunderstandings are major themes. I think this may be a book that really benefits from a reread, as a lot of the characters' actions only fully make sense near the end. However, I was disappointed in how the female characters are side-lined. They basically slot into the role of "loving mother", "loving wife (who soon becomes a loving mother)", and "loving sister (who also spends most of her time being a loving mother)"; none are given much to do in comparison to the male family members.

The book's writing really contributes to its folktale-like atmosphere. The language is relatively ornate, with lots of dreamy metaphors -- which may not always be metaphors of course, with how Panduri's magic works. (In amusing contrast, half the characters swear happily and often; cf. the traditional Fuck with the Deep Lore... saying.)  I particularly enjoyed that a lot of descriptions, especially of the talented violin-playing Antonio, are given via music, e.g. His tempo slowed to an adagio. On the other hand, that folktale-ness also makes it more difficult to connect emotionally to the characters. (That, and their motivations are purposefully opaque for most of the book.) This is not helped by the book covering about a decade(?)-worth of time: at some point it feels like everything's hurtling past and there's no time for in-depth emotional reactions, even to great personal tragedy. Ultimately, I think I felt more sadness based on the "facts" of the family's misfortunes than on the "empathy through writing" level, if that makes sense.

Altogether, I think there's a lot of interesting and delightful things about Deepest Blue, in particular for anyone who, like me, enjoys traditional "folktale"-like magic. However, for me the actual execution of the book unfortunately didn't live up to its premise.

I recommend this book for:
- Fans of soft magic systems
- Fans of Fae/Faerie
- People interested in Italian-influenced fantasy
- People interested in themes of loss/grief, especially in a family context

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Oh I struggled with this book… I restarted it four times in total, getting to about 35% of the way through each time, before I finally managed to push myself to try and finish it (to be honest I still have about 20 pages left but they are probably not going to effect my thoughts).

This needed to be an epic fantasy over a novel. All the way through this book I have felt I had missed pages, hence the going back and starting again. I felt I was just missing so much information. I love books that throw you in the deep end and let you figure out the world on your own but there just wasn’t enough clues to piece the world together and get swept up in its magic. Midsummer plays an important role within the life of the inhabitants of Panduri, described as being where they reflect on there lives and their destiny. However, wither it was due to the layout of the ARC not clearly defining the passage of time in delineated sections or the story telling itself, we just seemed to fly thorough Midsummers every few pages. You would just be getting a little bit of story finally catching on to who these characters are and then boom its the next Midsummer, boom something happened, then boom next Midsummer! The pace is so blisteringly fast that I found it hard to keep pace with the characters which is why I put the book down so many times.

For me the staccato nature of the characters narratives took so much attention that it detracted from my enjoyment. One particular instance that sticks clearly in my mind (as i read it four times) is the quickest form of insta-love I have ever witnessed and I read a lot of YA! One line a character is bemoaning his lot to his parents, just 10 lines later he is declaring his love to a woman that has not even been given a name or a description other than beautiful, a few lines later he is back defending his sudden finding of love and how that should not change his prescribed destiny. It took a lot of time for me to unpick the goings on while the reader was rattled around like a pinball.

The writing its self is gorgeous and I could see a magical, mystical world unfolding if we, as readers, were just given more time to explore and let ourselves be enveloped by all the marvellous sights and sounds instead of ushered through as a breakneck speed. The use of musical language as descriptors was enticing and the descriptions of the flora and fauna of Panduri, when we got them, were enchanting. I could have seen myself falling in love with this magical realm if I had been allowed to relish in the world-building. This book definitely demands commitment, the actual plot is quiet rewarding if you manage to follow and unpack it all. It is not one you can jump in and out of when you have the time.

Overall, I did actually enjoyed the book once I got into it. I would recommend taking some time with the book as the lyrical writing and the overall plot are worth it, but it needs time and your full attention.

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I was intrigued by the premise of this book, and excited by the description. It sounded exactly the kind of book I love - fantasy, based in mythology, a unique world - however, once I began reading, I was thoroughly disappointed.

This book throws you right in the deep end, straight into a world full of characters you have no understanding of. When done properly, this can be a very effective literary technique, however I felt that the novel never really delivered the backstory and world-building which is required to ensure the audience properly understand the plot.

By halfway through the book, I still had no idea how Panduri worked, what it looked like, where it was, or even what species its occupants were. Vague comments would occasionally be thrown in about grass-covered streets or bowers made of branches, but immediately followed by descriptions of offices and conservatories,; this led to much confusion, on my part, about the kind of world Panduri was, and made it very difficult for me to picture.

The plot jumped around so much that I rarely knew what was happening which, combined with seemingly random and unannounced changes in character perspective, made for a very confusing read.

Overall, I was unfortunately unable to enjoy this novel.
With some more world-building, and a more streamlined plot, it could have been great; but in its current form I think it is a very difficult story to understand and, therefore, enjoy.

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For a good part of this book I felt like I was missing something... a good explanation,or maybe a previous book.
The whole thing was confusing me..... I still don't quite know how time worked,because either it moved quickly or midsummer was every few months.
When I sat down to a chunk of reading though,the book was charming... I loved the idea of sprites taking messages for sweets. . The songs,the music,the offer of barter with rainbows... there was magic there.
Magic and a whole heap of confused family drama.... 
I think I've finished the book knowing who was who and what relation to everyone else...

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I loved the cover of this book and as a fantasy lover I was excited to read this novel. I tend to be drawn toward fantasy novels with strong female leads so I was also excited for a fantasy book that followed a very different course.

In Deepest Blue you are immersed into the fantastical world of Panduri where Matteo is struggling to understand and deal with the decisions of his brother Antonio and his changed destiny. Panduri was a mystical world that I kept wanting to learn more about. My only critique was it was a bit hard for me to follow at times and some of the book went a bit over my head.

Overall, if you are in the mood for a fantasy that takes you to a whimsical mythical town, filled with family drama this book would be a great fit for you!

** I received a free copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

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Ah! It feels so good to be back. 

Don't get me wrong, vacation was wonderful and I loved every moment of it, but there is something about being back in my own home and my own bed that is just so peaceful.

This year we took a vacation to our favorite beach, and it was just what I needed! 

No beach vacation would be complete without some beach reading, so naturally, you'll see plenty of reviews coming.

Look at that cover!

I couldn't resist requesting this beauty from NetGalley.

In Panduri, an enchanted city seen only at twilight, everyone’s path is mapped, everyone’s destiny decided, their lives charted at birth and steered by an unwavering star. Everyone has his place, and Matteo, second son of Panduri’s duca, is eager to take up his as Legendary Protector—at the border and out from under his father’s domineering thumb. Then Matteo’s older brother pulls rank and heads to the border in his stead, leaving Panduri’s orbit in a spiral and Matteo’s course on a skid. Forced to follow an unexpected path, resentful and raw, Matteo is determined to rise, to pursue the one future Panduri’s star can never chart: a life of his own.

Guys, I really wanted to love this book. It has everything I look for in fantasy titles--magic, world building, mythos. The story was interesting and compelling, too.

But it was also really confusing.

I love novels with complicated world building that just drop you right into the middle of the story and tell you to swim, (Anne Bishop and N.K. Jemisin, I'm looking at you.) so that's what I did. I put my head down and I swam, looking for shore, and I never found it.

About 2/3rds the way through, I started to understand some aspects of how Panduri operated, but there was not enough clarity to just sit back and enjoy what was happening, and there was no point at which everything clicked and I had that 'aha' moment. 

I like to think I'm a pretty astute reader and complexity is something I look for in books, but this one was totally over my head. 

I feel almost uncomfortable reviewing  Deepest Blue. It's not a bad book. The writing is good and the characters were interesting, but I just wish I could have grasped more of the world that was built around them.

Three out of five stars.

I received an ARC from SparkPress, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions provided are mine.  Deepest Blue goes on sale September 25th, 2018.

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The premise for Deepest Blue sounded amazing! Likened to Neil Gaiman?! Yes please! An emphemeral city that can only be seen during Twilight?! Yes!! However, this one just did not deliver for me. The writing and structural styles of this book were both unnecessarily convoluted; the sentences were incredibly long and cluttered, and the plot jumped around so much that I could not follow it and ended up being incredibly confused. Although I can remember the general premise, the intimate narrative details continue to elude me, even after finishing this novel.

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Thank you for the early copy.

I picked this up because of the stunning cover and found a unique science fiction novel. A interesting and well done novel. I recommend this for fans of science fiction!

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