Review: Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Review: Oceanborn by Amalie HowardOceanborn by Amalie Howard
Series: The Aquarathi #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 29, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
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The coronation is over.

But the battle has just begun.

Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.

On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves.

I think by now it’s obvious that I adore Amalie Howard, her writing style and her unique plots. I absolutely loved Waterfell and I remember being desperate to get my hands on its (untitled, at the time) sequel. And Oceanborn did NOT disappoint!

The amount of character growth that I saw in Nerissa from Watefell to Oceanborn was incredible. She’s really come a long way from the bratty, snotty, “I’m better than you” character she was in Waterfell. She really embraces her heritage and destiny in Oceanborn – at least in the beginning (though I won’t elaborate, for fear of spoilers). She’s still very stubborn and single-minded in Oceanborn, though, especially when it comes to… certain things.. and she refuses to listen to reason on… certain things… At times, this got her in trouble. But it also lead her to exactly where she needed to be in the end. She also reaches a level of maturity in Oceanborn that allows her to look at things more objectively, to make choices that are for the greater good. She followers her heart, even when it means letting go of certain things.

And then there’s Lo. He’s still just as swoony as ever, that I can promise. But Lo not remembering who Nerissa is, what he is (which, not a spoiler if you read the synopsis!), it just broke my heart. He wasn’t the Lo we all came to know and love in Waterfell and it was pretty tough to read. The reasons behind his memory loss were horrifying, but they really played into the overall plot of Oceanborn and led to some startling revelations and shocking plot twists.

Jenna was amazing, as always. She truly personifies the role of best friend. She’s the voice of reason and Nerissa’s confidant. I loved that she could stand up to Cara and her group of mean girls, where Nerissa couldn’t and wouldn’t. She was fiercely loyal and willing to stand up for herself, for what was right and for her best friend. But she also knew how to push back when she felt excluded, refusing to be seen as weak just because she isn’t Aquarathi.

Speio is a tough character to talk about… He confused me and annoyed me at times. But he was always so fierce and loyal. One second, he was fighting with Riss like they truly were brother and sister. The next, he was angry and distant for seemingly silly reasons. But what happens in the end… Oh boy. I can’t even. It was shocking, unexpected, crazy, insane… I’m still trying to process it!!

Cara, like Speio, was both confusing and annoying at times. I really wanted to punch her for the majority of the book. But I’m really happy with the direction her character went in and, if there’s a third book (FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!!!), I’d be really interested in seeing where her character goes next, what kind of character development she goes through.

We meet a LOT of new faces in Oceanborn. It’s impossible to talk about ANY of them without spoilers. So I’m just going to say that one revelation didn’t shock me at all, but the other one completely caught me off guard and (as I mentioned above), I’m STILL trying to process it…

The ending was explosive! I mean, I had my suspicions for a good portion of the book, but still. I knew something was up, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I had one theory that was proven wrong, but I was close! All I know is if there isn’t a third book after that ending, I’ll throw a temper tantrum!

Overall, if you couldn’t tell from my gushing review, I absolutely adored Oceanborn. It was amazing, incredible and well worth the wait! I’m desperately hoping for a third book – fingers crossed! And, as always, my parting words to you are this: If you haven’t read any of Amalie’s books… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?! She’s definitely an auto-buy author for me, I highly recommend her books and I suggest you go check them all out RIGHT NOW! I don’t think I even need to say it, but I DEFINITELY recommend this book!


Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Waterfell by Amalie HowardWaterfell by Amalie Howard
Series: The Aquarathi #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 29, 2013
Pages: 360
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

I knew, almost immediately, that I was going to enjoy this book. The premise and plot, at least to me, were very original because I have not read anything like it before. I haven’t really read many mermaid books, honestly. When I was little, I loved to swim and I desperately wanted to become Ariel (*Clears throat* Sometimes I still do… *Coughs*). Yet, I never got into “mermaid” or “siren” books. But someone told me early on, before I even had my hands on an eARC, that this was NOT a mermaid story. At least, not in the traditional sense. That it was so much more than that. So going into it, I didn’t see it as a mermaid story and I was able to keep an open mind about it. And Waterfell didn’t disappoint. There was depth to it – pun intended. Howard’s writing style was enjoyable and I loved the plot and tone of the story.

Nerissa is an interesting character. In the beginning, she has an attitude of being better than everyone else. She can be mean and spiteful and she even talks down to her best friend, Jenna. She doesn’t want to be a princess. She doesn’t want to be a queen. She pushes fiercely against her royal heritage, against her home and her people. She both hates and is instantly attracted to Lo, which is confusing. As the story goes on, Nerissa grows and matures a lot. It takes her awhile, almost to the very end, but she grows up and comes to terms with her heritage, with who she is and who she is meant to be. The guilt of her attitude eats at her, and she attempts to make amends. Normally, I would be exasperated with a character like Nerissa – at least, the character she was in the beginning. But there’s so much growth and character development that honestly, I feel like she’s one of the most realistic YA characters I’ve seen in a long time.

Lo was… Hm. I don’t know how to explain this without giving away spoilers. But he caught my attention right from the beginning. He was arrogant and cocky and I didn’t trust him from just about the second he was introduced into the story. At 66% of the way through (I had a Kindle eARC via NetGalley, so it measured my progress in percentage, not pages), I made an assumption. I wrote it down in my notes. I had a feeling… And, from 88% – 90%, my suspicions were confirmed! If you follow me on Goodreads, you can check out my updates and my flailing over this. I won’t say more. I’ll spoil it. But let me just say… I KNEW IT!!!!!

I absolutely adored Jenna. She was the voice of reason and the awesome best friend. She didn’t let Nerissa talk down to her. She snapped back, fought back and did a good job of “snubbing” Nerissa when they fought. The friendship felt really real. Also, something happens and I was so happy it did! I just think the path her character goes down is perfect, makes sense and is very, very enjoyable.

I don’t know how to feel about Cara. She was supposed to be the “mean girl,” I guess, but we didn’t see her too often, usually just from a distance, scowling or snarling at Nerissa. I actually kind of felt bad for Cara, until she revealed something to Nerissa near the middle/end, and then I just wanted to slap her. We get a little bit of resolution near the end, which is great, but I found Cara more annoying than anything.

The end was awesome. I mean, like I said, by 66% I sort of knew where things were going so that took some of the shock value away. But getting confirmation that I was right? Priceless! And like.. I was dead-on. I wasn’t half-right or sort of right. I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY right. It was great! But there were still things that shocked me, that I did not expect. I was really happy with the ending and where things left off. It wasn’t a a forced, cliche YA Happy Ending. I liked that most of all! I can’t wait to read book two, but sadly, it doesn’t come out until sometime in 2014.. *Sniffles* But trust me, I’ll be reading it!

I would definitely recommend Waterfell. I can understand the issues some people had with it, but I didn’t see them as issues and they didn’t take away from the story, in my opinion. If anything, they added to the story and made it better.