{Review/Excerpt/Giveaway} DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP by Rick Riordan

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

 HERE'S THE THING ABOUT life-shattering days.

   They start just like any other. You don't realize your world is about to explode into a million smoking pieces of awfulness until it's too late.


(Page 1, US ARC edition)

“...As of this moment, you are responsible for one life above all others. You will not leave her side. You will protect her with your dying breath. You will make sure she stays alive, no matter what happens.
Ana Dakkar must survive.


Rick Riordan is always a favorite go-to of mine and I tend to snap up all his books on release day. When I heard he was breaking from tradition and releasing a book that was not mythology, featured a female!! protagonist, and was more YA leaning (the MC turns 15 during the course of the novel), I needed it immediately. The wait has been long but worth it, and I'm so honored to be on the official blog tour and reviewing DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP today!

Riordan throws his punches hard and fast. We meet Ana Dakkar a week before her fifteenth birthday on the morning of her freshman trials. The freshmen are on a bus on the way to the unknown when an enemy school, Land Institute, sends out a torpedo and obliterates their school. The twenty onboard freshmen and their instructor are the only survivors of Harding-Pencroft Academy (HP, for short) and must become leaders in order to protect the greatest kept secret: Captain Nemo from the Jules Verne novel 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA was real and a revolutionary inventor beyond his time. The two schools have been in a cold war over the technology and Land Institute has finally pulled out the big guns (literally and figuratively). Oh, yeah, and Ana Dakkar is the direct descendant of Captain Nemo -- aka Prince Dakkar -- and only her blood can power the legendary Nautilus and open doors that reveal all his secrets and extraordinary technology, so Land Institute wants to capture her alive at any cost. But can the freshman class stand up against all odds when they haven't been trained in any of the tech at their fingertips yet and their teacher becomes incapacitated due to a medical emergency?

DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP is a thrilling, page-turning adventure and impossible to put down. The action starts right away (I dare you to read the excerpt below and not be hooked!) and readers will become instantly invested in the story. As usual, Riordan fleshes out not just his main character, but the supporting cast as well, and creates bonds between them that become of the core and heart of the tale. He also excels at capturing our diverse world in a way where readers can see themselves in the pages. This time around, we have a Bundeli Indian descendant protagonist who talks about celebrating Holi, 
an autistic character who is absolutely brilliant and has a cool emotional support dog that come along on the adventure, a Latter-day Saint whose family does missionary work, a entire house of students fluent in sign language, and more. Even the four houses that make up the student body, House Dolphin (for students who excel at communications, exploration, cryptography, and counterintelligence), House Shark (for students who excel at command, combat, weapons systems, and logistics), House Cephalopod (for students who excel at engineering, applied mechanics, innovation, and defensive systems), and House Orca (for students who excel at medicine, psychology, education, marine biology, and communal memory) are nuanced and bring many special skills to the table throughout the novel. And what is an underwater adventure without animals?? My all-time favorite animal is a dolphin, and there is a fantastic dolphin named Socrates in the novel, as well as a couple of other animal friends who are too spoilery to mention now, but they are scene-stealing for sure!

Readers will also never feel lost if they've never read (or seen a movie adaptation of) 20,000  LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Riordan explains the basics well, and uses them to build his own world and lore. Ned Land and Pierre Aronnax met Captain Nemo and thought him to be a frightening madman, so after they escaped him, they created Land Institute to protect the world from his inventions -- while still coveting them for their own purposes. Cyrus Harding and Bonaventure Pencroft, on the other hand, were stranded on an island with Captian Nemo, who helped them escape, and they've cherished his technology and the Dakkar line ever since, building Harding-Pencroft Academy to share his inventions (such as the microwave and MRI technology!) with the world as advancement allows. Riordan shows both sides of the same coin, and explores how we can encounter the same situation differently and take opposing approaches. Does that make you good or bad, and isn't that all just about perspective anyway based on what side you're on?

At the moment, DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP is a stand-alone, but there are enough open threads that Riordan could spin it into a full series if he chooses to do so -- and I hope he does, because I'd love to return to this world. I want to see this freshman class grow up and do some of the amazing things that are too spoilery to mention, I want to see that spark between Gemini Twain and Ana Dakkar blossom into something more, and I want to see spoiler spoiler spoiler beep beep beep! If a sequel ever happens, I'm here for it, but in the meanwhile, DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP is a great stand-alone that can't be missed!


Excerpt from DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP by Rick Riordan


“Freshmen.” Dr. Hewett says the word like an insult.

He stands in the aisle, bracing himself with one hand on the seatback. He breathes heavily into the bus’s microphone. “This weekend’s trials will be very different from what you might be expecting.”

This gets our attention. Everybody fixes their eyes on Hewett.

The professor is shaped like a diving bell—narrow shoulders tapering down to a wide waist, where his rumpled dress shirt is half untucked from his slacks. His frazzled gray hair and sad, watery eyes make him look like Albert Einstein after a night of running failed calculations.

Next to me, Ester shuffles through her index cards. Top rests his head in her lap. His tail thumps softly against my thigh.

“In thirty minutes,” Hewett continues, “we will arrive in San Alejandro.”

He waits for our whispering to die down. We associate San Alejandro with shopping, movies, and Saturday-night karaoke, not end-of-year trials. But I suppose it makes sense we would start there. The school’s boat is usually moored in the harbor.

“We will proceed directly to the docks,” Hewett continues.

“No detours, no side trips to buy refreshments. You will keep your phones off.”

A few kids grumble. Harding-Pencroft strictly controls all communication through the school intranet. The campus is a cellular dead zone. You want to look up the breeding habits of jellyfish? No problem. You want to watch YouTube? Good luck with that.

The teachers say this is to keep us focused on our work. I suspect it’s yet another security precaution, like the underwater grid, or the armed guards, or the drone surveillance. I don’t understand it, but it’s a fact of life.

Typically, when we get into town, we’re like dehydrated cattle at a watering hole. We stampede to the first place with free Wi-Fi and drink it in.

“I will have further instructions once we’re at sea,” Hewett says. “Suffice to say, today you’ll find out what the academy is truly about. And the academy will find out whether you can survive its requirements.”

I want to think Hewett is just trying to scare us. The problem is, he never makes idle threats. If he says we’ll have extra weekend homework, we do. If he predicts 90 percent of us will fail his next exam, we do.

Theoretical Marine Science should be a fun fluff class. We spend most of our time contemplating what ocean technology might look like in one or two hundred years. Or if science had taken a different course, what might have happened? What if Leonardo da Vinci had done more to develop sonar when he discovered it in 1490? What if the plans for Drebbel’s “diving boat” hadn’t been lost in the 1600s, or if Monturiol’s anaerobic steam-powered submarine hadn’t been scrapped for lack of funding in 1867? Would our technology today be more advanced?

It’s cool stuff to think about, but also . . . not so practical? Hewett acts as if his questions have right answers. Like, it’s theoretical.

How can you give somebody a B minus on their essay just because their guess is different than yours?

Anyway, I wish Colonel Apesh, our military-tactics professor, were chaperoning this trip. Or Dr. Kind, our physical fitness teacher. Hewett can barely shuffle a few feet without getting winded. I don’t see how he’s going to judge what I imagine will be intensely physical underwater trials.

He turns over the microphone to Gemini Twain. Gem has made our group assignments for the weekend. We’ll be divided into five teams of four, one member from each house. But first, he has a few rules to tell us about.

Of course he does. He is such a Shark. You could put him in charge of a toddler soccer team and he’d get delusions of grandeur. He’d have the kids marching in perfect unison within a week. Then he’d declare war on a neighboring toddler team. He rattles off a list of his favorite regulations. My attention wanders. I look out the window.

The highway winds from switchback to switchback, hugging the cliffs. One moment, you can’t see anything but trees. The next, you can trace the entire coastline all the way back to HP. When the school is in full view, I spot something strange in the bay. A thin line of wake heads toward the base of the cliffs, just where Dev and I were diving this morning. I can’t see what’s making it. There’s no boat. It’s moving too fast and too straight to be a sea animal. Something underwater, under propulsion.

The pit of my stomach feels like I’m free-falling again.

The wake line splits into three segments. It looks like a trident, its prongs racing to jab the coastline beneath the school.

“Hey!” I tell my friends. “Hey, look!”

By the time Ester and Nelinha get to the window, the view has disappeared behind trees and cliffs.

“What was it?” Nelinha asks.

Then the shock wave hits us. The bus shudders. Boulders topple into the road.

“Earthquake!” Gem drops the mic, literally, grabbing the nearest seatback to steady himself. Dr. Hewett is thrown hard against the window.

Cracks splinter the asphalt as we skid toward the guardrail. All twenty of us, well-trained freshmen, scream like kindergarteners.

Somehow, Bernie regains control of the bus.

He slows, looking for a place to pull over. We round another bend, and HP comes into view, except now . . .

Ester screams, which starts Top whimpering in her lap. Nelinha presses her hands against the glass. “No. No way. No.”

I yell, “Bernie, stop! Stop here!”

Bernie pulls into a turnout—one of the scenic overlooks where tourists can snap pictures of the Pacific. The view is clear all the way back to HP, but there’s nothing scenic about it now.

Kids are crying. Their faces press against the windows. My insides twist with disbelief.

A second shock wave hits us. We watch in horror as another massive wedge of earth calves into the bay, taking the last of those beautiful sugar cubes with it.

I shove my way down the aisle. I hammer on the doors until Bernie opens them. I run to the edge of the cliff and grip the cold steel guardrail.

I find myself mumbling desperate prayers. “Three-Eyed One, Lord Shiva, who nourishes all beings, may He liberate us from death. . . .”

But there is no liberation.

My brother was on that campus. So were 150 other people and an aquarium full of marine animals. A square mile of the California coast has crumbled into the ocean.

Harding-Pencroft Academy is gone.



Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: --
Language: G ( Stupid )
Violence: PG ( The school is torpedoed into oblivion; non-deadly stun style guns are used to incapacitate students from the enemy school. )
Other: -PG ( The only adult gets very sick due to pancreatic cancer during the adventure and has to be cared for by a student training in the medical field. )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Rick Riordan always has captivating covers! This one shows exactly what readers are in for, featuring the gorgeous submarine The Nautilus and showing off our main character and one of her classmates exploring deep waters! I also love the watery look of the typography used for the title -- perfect choice!

O F F I C I A    I N F O:

Author: Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
FIND IT: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N Exclusive Edition, iBooks, Kobo, TBDBookshop.org

New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan pays homage to Jules Verne in his exciting modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana's parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family's she's got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it'll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.   

But wait, there's more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.  

Rick Riordan's trademark humor, fast-paced action, and wide cast of characters are on full display in this undersea adventure.


"If you have ever craved a story that will leave your heart racing, your lungs gasping from the numerous twists and turns, your soul heaving from the effort of now carrying an ensemble cast, you will find all that and more in these pages."―New York Times best-selling author Roshani Chokshi

"Daughter of the Deep took me back sixty-seven years, to when I dreamed of becoming Captain Nemo. May all the young minds reading this book dream about the world beneath the sea and then make their dreams come true just like I did."―Dr. Robert Ballard, from aboard his ship of exploration, the E/V Nautilus 



Rick Riordan, dubbed “storyteller of the gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of five #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two #1 New York Times best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. Rick is also the publisher of an imprint at Disney-Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents, dedicated to finding other authors of highly entertaining fiction based on world cultures and mythologies. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @camphalfblood.


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