Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons -- Welcome Aboard or Walk the Plank?

Surely I must have drunk too much wine, because all of this--his touch, his concern, his friendship--it's left me heady and hopeful. I marvel at how easily he can touch me right now, me, a monster, and he's as steady as always.

Warning: the beauty in the intimate scenes may cause ugly sobbing to occur. In case such an event occurs, please proceed to cry till your eyes are swollen and your face is a wet mess. This must be done immediately or the pent up feels may cause you to explode in the near future.

I never knew this day would come so soon--that I'll be speechless and at a loss for words in writing a review. But that is what Ms. Heather Lyons has done to. She has left me struggling to organize my feelings. I will, nevertheless, try to write review that does justice to this amazing book.

Title: The Deep End of the Sea
Author: Heather Lyons
The JudgmentLOOT!!! {This. This is what all I review strive to be. Not a part of the ship but a part of the loot, forever immortalized, forever enshrined, loved, gazed upon in awe. Truly a master piece. You have Neptune's grace.}


"What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again."

Before I get to my thoughts on the book, I just HAVE to do this...

Cover Analysis: I know I haven't done this for other books before, but I figured I should do this for books with covers that have given me a pause--both good or bad. Now, let's get cracking at this cover.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the font used for the title--it doesn't really portray the sexy-sometimes-dark-other-times tone of the book. But that's a minor nuance. Let's get to the main point: the girl and the water.
That picture, with those colors, and that pose? Perfect. I am spazzing so hard about the cover now that I've read the book. Before, the cover was "meh", but now? 
But really, that alluding thing the cover has going on ? Totally digging it. *Spoiler start [highlight to see] I mean, the whole thing concept of Medusa being trapped by the water, aka Poseidon, being stuck there, even as a girl, it's just brilliant. Spoiler end*
*Side note* I'll be experimenting with a new way of doing reviews. Let's see if it works out! [wanted to get more analyzing done, beyond just what's on the surface]

My First Thoughts: I actually had no opinion, good or other wise, about this book going in. The concept was just I'd never encountered a book like this before, one that humanizes a monster, one that humanizes Medusa. Now, I've taken my fair share of Classical Mythology classes and have studied the subject since elementary school, non-stop [what can I say, I was hooked ever since I picked up D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths in 5th grade. A brilliant book, by the way, one to discuss at another time] And the Greek myths, guilty for doing so, have always glorified (that bitch) Athena against Arachne, against Medusa. Even in my learning, Medusa doesn't get much of a back story, only the slaying by Perseus. That said, in retrospect, maybe I did come in with some thoughts: pleasure at knowing that Medusa gets her story told too. Maybe I've just been watching too much Once Upon A Time and been keen on learning the back stories of the "villains".

The World-building: There are a total of three places in this book [as indicated by the partition of the book into three parts due to where she was]: Gorgona, Olympus, and Jackson, Wyoming. It's a brilliant move, I would say, separating the book based on where Medusa currently was. It allows Ms. Lyons to concentrate on that one place and build it in such beauty and intricacy [whether that was her intention or not, I do not know, but that's how I perceived it] Besides the physical world-building, the overall "world" that was created was also great. My only problem was towards the end, where everything seemed...rushed. Overall, the ending seemed too perfect and convenient :/ *Spoiler starts [highlight to see] It was too perfect that to end the struggle of the Council over Medusa's fate that it was found that Hades and Persephone were her parents. It also seemed harried. BOOM, enters Demeter, tells the truth that she made them give Dusa up long ago, Poseidon can't win, everyone lives happily ever after, while I'm still reeling from trying to deal with Dusa's decision to give in to Poseidon. There was potential for a second book, in my opinion. Spoiler end*
The Girl: Medusa. Dusa. Maddy. What ever your name is you beautiful person,  never have I ever had the urge to hug someone so much [but you'd rather prefer his hugs anyways sooo ;]
I'd spent most of that night collecting the pieces which once made a whole man, blubbering in misery.
I-it's not your fault, Dusa!

The sound of waves crashing against the shore sends my eyes to the horizon. I've tried to drown myself in those waters more times than I ought to admit over the years, but the sea always spits me back out.

Dusa, in Gorgona, is a very sad girl. She's just...tired. Tired of failing to kill herself, tired of failing to stop accidentally killing innocents. But thank God for small mercies that she still has that spark of life in her, after so long! Those small mercies come in the form of her friend Mikkos [a blind man] and the god Hermes. These both are the support system that keep, no force, Dusa to keep going, even when she's at her lowest. 

If there is one thing Dusa illustrates clearly, it is that inner beauty is a real thing, ladies. There is something my mom always says: your inner thoughts reflect on your outer appearance. Basically, no matter how blessed you are with the most flawless skin and such, if you are have a horrid personality, it WILL show. What we have with Dusa here is the exact opposite of that example. Her personality, her abundance of humanity is so overwhelming that it doesn't matter what she looks like: she is simply beautiful because her inner radiance burns so brightly. I was, and still am, in awe of the amazing amount of humanity this girl has in her. Years after being cursed. Years filled with involuntary murder. 
Maybe this is why she chose to mold me into a killer; maybe she knew that my heart, to often called soft by those who knew me well back when I was human, would not be able to handle the actions I had no control over.
Yet she still held within her compassion. She didn't become what Athena wanted her to be: a monster. Despite the odds against her, she had not one, but two precious friends who came back for her over and over again. What can I say, she's my new role model. I now aspire to be her. [I will say that the author molds Dusa to be so good without being infuriatingly perfect--it's Dusa's actions that show her personality and not the comparison of Dusa to less-than-perfect people around her. Magnifico!]

The Guy:
I sneak a quick peek over at him as he leans forward, arms against his knees. He's wearing one of my favorite t-shirts of his, a thin and fraying red one whose picture of a surfer has faded to the point of obscurity. The first time I saw him in it, I thought him to be exactly what a beach bum traversing the Mediterranean ought to look like--all gorgeous and golden in skin and hair. As I find him to be the most beautiful person I've ever met, inside and out, I can only imagine how the ladies in the outside world must fall at his feet.

Well hellooo there God of Sexiness. I don't blame you, girl, I'd sneak a peak too. Except you have restraint and can look away while I might end up staring at him forever.

But in all seriousness, how is it that Hermes is so hot, so kind, and so compassionate, without being bland? Maybe it was the dash of sexy. Whatever concoction Ms. Lyons used to make Hermes, she had it all perfectly balanced out.
"I find that I cannot sit back and allow for this to happen anymore," he continues quietly. "The simple fact is, my uncle raped you, and somehow my bat-shit insane sister blamed and cursed you for it happening in one of her temples. In no way did you deserve what happened to you."

Hmm, maybe it was also his "knight complex" as Dusa likes to put it. Can't hate a guy who wants to save everyone. DEFINITELY can't hate a guy that can look beneath the surface and befriend a "monster" like Dusa :')

Girl x Guy: I'm not going to tell you who Dusa ended up in the end. I'll let that be a pleasant surprise for you. I will warn you, as I did above, that the romance between the two was too beautiful. I kid you not, I CRIED so much. He was...just so accepting of her. He defended her, worked hard to keep her safe, and pretty much went against everyone to protect her. They both are meant for each other, this I have no doubt about. Also, HALLE-freakin-LUJAH, there is no insta-love or love triangle.

Captain's Log: Overall, I'd say the book was...meh. Oh wait, thinking of the book I'm currently reading. OVERALL, I'd say...

This is literally me right now, as I contemplate how I can ever enjoy another book again...because this book was THAT GOOD. Like, some of the book I had been "looking forward to" are sitting untouched in my Kindle. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME, MS. LYONS?!

-Captain Kaelyn

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