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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Book Review: Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

BOOK review
Started on: 26 October 2021
Finished on: 6 November 2021
Title: Daughter of the Deep
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 352 pages / 416 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2021
Price: Rp 230,000 (

Rating: 4/5
"You may be all that remains of Harding-Pencroft. We must not fail. Trials are cancelled. Instead, you will learn what you must know on active duty. As of this moment, we are at war."
Ana Dakkar is a fifteen-year old who's currently 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. Her parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family member she's got left is her older brother, Dev, a senior student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, and she hopes she has what it takes to succeed. However, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will suddenly change the trajectory of their lives. A cold war between Harding-Pencroft and their rival school, Land Institute, has been turned up to a full broil. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.
"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."
"You are meant to become the custodians of Harding-Pencroft's secrets, the agents of its great agenda. It is a heavy responsibility. Not every student succeeds."
Daughter of the Deep is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2021 because it's written by Rick Riordan and it's a standalone book. So when I was finally able to get my hands on it, I decide to read it immediately. I actually went into this book not knowing much about what the story is going to be about; all I know is that it's some kind of spin-off of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne. Unfortunately, I have never read a book by Jules Verne before, so I started this book hoping that I'll be able to understand and enjoy it well. As I began to read, I'm really thankful because the author took the time to explain the background story and introduced Captain Nemo for those who are not familiar with his character. So for those of you who've never read Jules Verne's books before and you're interested to read Daughter of the Deep, you don't need to worry because you will be able to follow the story without any difficulties 😉.

The whole story is written from the first-person POV of our main character, Ana Dakkar—a freshman at Harding-Pencroft academy. Harding-Pencroft (HP for short) is a five-year high school, divided into four houses: Dolphin, Shark, Cephalopod, and Orca. All of the students are sorted based on the results of their aptitude tests, because each House focuses on different set of skills. For example, House Dolphin specializes in communications, exploration, cryptography, and counterintelligence. While Hous Shark is stronger in combat, weapons systems, and logistics. In Ana's freshman year, each houses consist of 5 people; so there are 15 people in total. Initially, I was quite worried about remembering all the names and what house do they belong to; but apparently it's not necessary to memorize them, since the author will keep mentioning their specialty occasionally. However, because there are quite a lot of characters involved in this book, I feel like there's not that much time to get to know all of them. The author does focuses on several, like Ana's bestfriends: Nelinha and Ester, and Gemini—Ana's bodyguard; but I have to admit that I feel detached and not emotionally invested in the story. Maybe it's because the story is relatively short and there's not enough time to explore their characters deeply. But I do love the variety of characters that Rick Riordan created: Ana's ancestry is Bundeli Indian, Halimah wears Hijab, Ester is autistic, and many more. This is indeed something that Rick Riordan is always good at and I applaud him for that 👏.
"Today I was reminded that anyone in my life can be taken away in the span of a heartbeat."
"What do you do with that information?
You're now the most important person in the world. You have to decide the fate of your friends and classmates."
Now, let's talk about the plot—because I have quite a lot to say about it. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I personally think that this book is a bit slow-paced for my taste. At the beginning, I was instantly intrigued because there's a mystery about a 'traitor' who might be among them. This mystery created suspense and tension because I kept guessing who's the traitor; but then, when there's no progression regarding this mystery, I slowly lost interest in figuring out who truly sabotaged them. The middle part felt the slowest for me, because the author took a lot of time describing things which slows the plot progression. While I was reading through these chapters, I kept screaming inside my mind: "I need more action! 🤣". I wish there are illustrations inside the book to help us picture how things look like so that we don't have to rely solely on the author's descriptions about the surroundings. Thankfully, the story does get better towards the end when Harding-Pencroft team finally come face to face with the students from their rival school, Land Institute. I was genuinely surprised by the plot twist that revealed who the enemy's captain is. I guess because I kind of forgot the fact that a traitor exists, the revelation became a lot more shocking to me.

Reading this book made me learn some new things about the ocean; I just found out that the longest light waves, blue and purple, are the last colors to disappear underwater. That's another thing that I love from Rick Riordan's books, because you can always learn a thing or two from it. I also liked the fact that in the end, the author made us see things from the enemy's perspective—which enable me to understand their ambition even though I do not agree with their method to achieve it. Aside from that, Ana's character also teaches us about courage. As a fifteen-year old who's never had to lead before, Ana had to make a lot of tough decisions in this book. I think it is truly inspiring—especially for readers who might be around her age as well 😊.
"I'm just saying that people are complicated. Nemo was a different man by the time Harding and Pencroft met him: older, bitter, disillusioned. That's why he wanted his technology hidden away and guarded. HP was motivated by Nemo's caution—paranoia, even. So you've got two completely different schools, Land Instistute and Harding-Pencroft, inspired by different sides of the same person."
"Yet with all his wealth and advanced tech, he still ended his life bitter and defeated. He was so alone he had to trust his legacy to shipwrecked strangers.
He didn't believe in humanity. He didn't believe in himself. He tried and failed to change the world—and ended up being written off as a fictional character."
"Absolute power can corrupt anyone."
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Ana Dakkar discovering her ancestor's invention and her quest to protect it. Even though it's not as action-packed or as fast-paced as I hoped it would be, Daughter of the Deep offers a unique story that made me aware of Jules Verne's works that I've never read before. This might not be my favorite Rick Riordan book, but it still managed to make me laugh with its' funny moments and dialogues. Definitely looking forward to more books by Rick Riordan in the future—whether it's a standalone or part of a series! At this point, I think I'm willing to read anything that he writes 🤓.
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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