Review: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Synopsis/Cover Image from Amazon:
Can't you hear it, Talia?
Can't you hear the waves singing?

Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods' history--and her own--the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

Beneath the Haunting Sea first landed on my TBR due to its stunning cover, and the more I heard about it, the more excited I became. I love books involving forgotten tales laced in magic and mystery, and I couldn't wait to see what Joanna had in store for us here. 

The Result? Combining an unforgettable world, fearless characters, and an age old mystery, Beneath the Haunting Sea is a fantastic read from start to finish. 

Beneath the Haunting Sea is told through Talia's perspective. When she is first introduced her life is delightfully ordinary. She has a good home, trustworthy friends, and a loving family. She feels safe and sound, and her personality reflects it. She's innocent, happy, and a tad bit mischievous. Everything changes, though, the moment Talia and her mother are accused of treason and banished from their kingdom. Suddenly, Talia, the girl who's never had a reason to be extraordinarily brave before, has to be fearless, bold, and tactful. She has to take charge and stand up for what she loves and believes in. I found Talia to be incredibly likable. My heart broke for her as she faced challenge after challenge; however, I was so proud when she began to get stronger. 

I will admit that Beneath the Haunting Sea is a slow-moving. Several times I put it aside and came back to it a few days later; however, this wasn't a bad thing, because, in my opinion, Beneath the Haunting Sea is a book to be savored not devoured in one swoop. Joanna slowly builds up Talia's world, the stories of the sea, and the foes and heroes to be found. The development is fantastic, and I appreciated every layer she introduced. The action slowly appears as well and builds up beautifully. By the end, I was racing through dying to know what would happen next. 

Now for the romance...Beneath the Haunting Sea contains two potential love interests. While normally potential love triangles send me running for the hills, I thought it worked well here. The two boys introduced were as different as night and day. One is caring and steadfast, always willing to offer a helping hand, and like Talia, he deals with his own demons. The other is passionate and wild, bring out the recklessness in Talia as well. While I did have a favorite out of the two - I won't say who - I enjoyed seeing both avenues explored and I was incredibly happy with the ending. 

Overall, Beneath the Haunting Sea is a lush and beautifully written addition to YA fantasy. Joanna Ruth Meyer is yet another 2018 debut author to keep an eye on, and I can't wait to see what she writes next. 

4.5 stars!!

Beneath the Haunting Sea is now out! 

Source: ARC provided by publisher/publicist - thanks Deb & Page Street Publishing! 

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  1. The world-building in this story sounds fantastic - that's one of my biggest things with fantasy, I want to be immersed in the world and understand it all! Great review!

  2. The world-building and the romance sounds amazing! Great review!

  3. This sounds SO incredible!! The romance sounds strong, the story beautiful, and I love when the ending is good and satisfying. I don't usually enjoy slow books, but if the writing is gorgeous then I like savouring it, as you say.
    Lovely review :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words


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