In Sea Spell: Book Four of the WaterFire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly we are taken back into the world begun in Deep Blue. While Sea Spell is the fourth installment and continues a story told in the previous books, it is well written, and makes sense, enough to stand on its own.
Our villain Orfeo has waited for thousands of years and has finally found his descendant, Astrid. A strong and proud mermaid, she will join him in his stronghold but will he be able to persuade her to turn against all she knows and accept her birthright? He only knows that he will do what it takes to bring her into his own way of living or she will suffer the consequences.
While Astrid is struggling for her life and sanity and all she holds dear, Ava, is tracking a talisman in the swamps of the Mississippi. Being blind may be the only thing that keeps her safe in a world where a glimpse of the spirits living there means death to mermaids and any who chance upon their domain. Ava and the spirits are both searching for the charms that will help them to win the war.
The rest of their group are in Kargjord, with the other resistance fighters and their helpers, the goblins.
They are preparing for war, and while Serafina is in the lead, she worries if she will ever see the one she loves again. He has put himself at risk to aid her quest. He is her eyes and ears from the inside of their enemy. With his help can they take on Volneros and save the fate of all that is at stake?
When she learns of a spy and assassin in her own group, someone that will betray them at the last moment, she understands she must find the traitor at all costs. She must hold the line while her missing friends look for the talismans necessary to help them win before their world and that of all they hold dear is turned upside down and gone forever. Can she keep continue to trust those closest to her, or is one of them the assassin set to take her down?
Donnelly has built a world that is fascinating and feels almost fairy tale like, but with danger and darkness just a bit bolder than remembered in many of those stories of old. The journeys taken and the dangers visited are strong and make you feel the darkness and dread beneath. Her characters are strong and exciting, and their friendships are solid and are the glue that binds them together. Without this strength of relationship it would be difficult to move forward and the trust engendered is the most important piece of the plan. Yet what happens when trust begins to erode?
If you enjoy epic battles, danger, romance and just plain great characters you will love this work. While this Sea Spell is the last of the series, you will still find it fascinating, but you may want to find the first three in “The WaterFire Saga” and read them first. Solid entertainment for your young reader and for the adult who is young at heart, this would be a great book for both. Donnelly takes us to a fascinating world, full of characters and creatures that are very interesting and keep you reading late into the night.