The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The deepest blue is a standalone novel incorporated in Queens of Renthia series. When I first read it I didn’t even know there is a whole universe behind it and that’s been one of the things I liked. As much as I love good series or trilogy sometimes is nice to have just one interesting book to read.

Story follows Mayara, a young girl that lives in a coastal village in a kingdom of Balene, deep dives shells for a living and is engaged to a local artist Kelo. What differs her from others is an ability to control spirits that inhabit and power all land. That very ability is what got her sister killed and is now threatening to cost her her life too. Once discovered she possessed magical abilities she is sent on a “hunger games like” trial island to survive a month surrounded by wild spirits whose only wish is to thorn her and her likes apart. Those who survive will become Heirs to the queen whose main task is to keep asleep ancient spirits in the deepest parts of the ocean. If those awake, whole kingdom will likely be destroyed. But if that wasn’t enough Mayara and the queen must overcome series of personal enemies, sabotage and betrayal to save the kingdom and their freedom.

The deepest blue was an enjoyable book to read. I finished it in two days. The book is well paced and has a considerable amount of suspense especially the trial island part which I liked the most.

Once you start reading you’ll just want to continue till the end because scenes overleap seamlessly and keep you engaged. Every moment feels as a life or death situation that keeps you at your toes. The magic plays its part in the story but is not the main theme. You will be equally or even more engaged in collecting coconuts for food while surrounded with murderous spirits and traps as you would be in a magical spirit fight. Characters are likeable and resourceful, smarts and, in the end, empathy are more important to the story than magical powers. From time to time story changes focus from Maraya to queen to Kelo which keeps it active. There are few twists toward the end and end itself is quite enjoyable. The story is set at the seaside which was refreshing and I really liked it.

Overall, if you like this type of life or death trial themes, and are looking for some interesting standalone novel, go give it a try and if you like it you can always read other Queen of Renthia books.