ARC: 352 pages
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads--click on cover)
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.
I was really excited when I started reading Tempest Rising. I love mermaid stories but I haven't read many young adult mermaid books yet (there's been some buzz that mermaids are the next big thing in the YA genre and that makes me giddy with excitement). This book was a mix of paranormal, romance, a coming of age story and there's even a little mystery in Tempest's mother, Cecily. I really liked that we know nothing about Cecily and why she left her family to go back to the ocean. As the story builds, we learn information about her and the mermaid world along with Tempest. The underwater world, with the different creatures and their politics was also interesting and I wanted to explore that world some more.
Overall, I thought this book was a pretty good read but I did have some problems with it in the beginning, especially with the character of Tempest. Her name definitely matches her personality because one minute she wants to be comforted, held, or kissed by her boyfriend Mark or mysterious, sexy Kai or her dad then she's pushing them away or was mad at them or was running away from them. I know she was going through a lot, with her resentment towards her mother who wasn't there to guide her through the changes happening and dealing with her complicated feelings for Kai, but there were enough "PMS"-like scenes that I found myself frustrated and annoyed with Tempest's character. I kept reading though, hoping her character will get better and I'm happy to say she did grow up in the last half of the book. But while I felt sorry for Tempest, I couldn't quite care or be fully invested in her character without that initial connection in the beginning--that's just how I am with characters in books. My favorite character, though, was Kai who was mysterious, sexy and a nice, loyal guy. There was a love triangle between Kai, Tempest and her boyfriend Mark--I'm not a fan of love triangles to begin with and it drives me crazy when a heroine goes back and forth between the two guys, which Tempest did but the author did not try to keep it going just to have it. I liked the conclusion of the love triangle here because the guy that was not chosen did not end up lonely not knowing what to do with himself.
Tempest Rising ended where it was left open enough for a possible sequel but it ended quite satisfyingly. Though this book didn't quite meet my expectations, it was still a quick, entertaining read for me, especially the second half of the book when the reader was taken to the underwater world and we finally start to know more about Tempest's mother. I think paranormal romance young adult fans wanting to take a break from vampires and werewolves, will gobble this novel up. Besides its determined heroine in Tempest and its crush-worthy hero in Kai, it has action, a mystery, a lovely romance and interesting mermaid lore. 3.5 out of 5