Beneath the Haunting Sea

400p. Page Street. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624145346.
Gr 9 Up—Days after suddenly discovering that she is heir to half the world, 16-year-old Talia is banished by her rival to the remotest area of the land, Ryn. On the ship to their exile, Talia's mother becomes convinced that the sea is out to kill them both. She jumps overboard in an attempt to save Talia, leaving her daughter to face exile at the estate of a morose Baron. As part of her banishment, she must marry the Baron's youngest son, Wen. While she initially finds Wen rather lackluster, she and his older half-brother Caiden are instantly attracted to each other. Both of the boys' mothers died mysteriously, and Talia finds a locked tower and temple that may have played a part in their deaths. She and Wen grow closer searching for answers, aided by Wen's mystical abilities. Talia comes to believe that her mother, along with all the dead, are held captive under the sea by the death goddess Rahn, and that she alone can save them. But will she and Wen survive the showdown? This is an ambitiously complicated plot with multiple settings for readers to keep track of, including locations that evoke the Middle East and Europe and their histories. Stilted dialogue and curses referencing the old gods land heavily.
VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries with die-hard fantasy readers. Readers would be better served by Rae Carson's "Girl of Fire and Thorns" trilogy.

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