“The City of Atlantis seemed to sparkle more than ever this day. The high-towered palaces of the noble clans, carved from coral stone, marble, and malachite, some faced with shimmering mother-of-pearl, glimmered all around them. The blue-green bioluminescent light from the enormous globe lamps that hung over the city seemed to glow brighter. The lamps provided the primary light to this dim world in the depths of the sea. To the mermyds, sunlight was a thing mentioned only in fairy tales and history books.”
Ascension by Kara Dalkey
Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars
Summary: Nia lives in Atlantis, one of the Bluefin clan a noble mermyd clan. She is excited for the upcoming trials where one member of each clan is selected to compete to gain a place on one of the councils that rule their city. She is devastated when she is not chosen to represent her clan and tries to move on, but everyone I her family is acting suspicious.
Review: I’ve been trying to find this book for a while. I read it when I was 13, borrowed it from the library and wanted to finish the series but my library only had the first and third books, not the second. I remembered this book and tried to track it down and boy was it difficult. I tried every sort of Google search I could think of, searched every mermaid YA list I came across and even posted in several places where you vaguely describe a book you’re looking for and other readers help you figure out what book you’re looking for. Nothing. Finally I remembered that the book series was called Water so I started looking for that and finally found this!! Whew, quite a journey.
So it’s weird to come back to a book I read and loved as a teen and then try to review it. I’m giving it my best though. I’m not sure I’d love it as much if I was reading it for the first time right now so that also makes it difficult. I still enjoyed it a lot and I liked being able to sort of reminisce as I read.
I had totally forgotten about the alien squids that make up the high council for Atlantis. I don’t know how I could have when that’s such a unique and kinda out there addition. I think it does work, I think some of it is a little weird like the aliens changing some humans into mermyds but they still lived with humans for a bit. It was a bit unclear about the whole sinking of Atlantis, they lived on land for a while but were still mermyds? I didn’t fully understand that.
I like Nia and her storyline, I like how she tried her best to move past her disappointment and help her cousin to compete. I’m still not sure how I feel about Cephan’s betrayal but yet still wanting to be romantically involved with Nia. I mean, dude, you just stabbed her cousin in front of her, why would she be into that?
There is a lot of things in this book that I hadn’t seen before in another mermaid story. I think there is a lot of fun things going on, I’d love to have some of the history cleared up but the direction the series is going I’m not sure that is likely.
Recommendation: I definitely want to continue this series and I think that’s a good sign of a book after doing a reread years later. I think this is a bit more of a middle grade level book than YA but it’s still a good and interesting mermaid story.