Captivate, Vanessa Garden

January 2, 2014 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★

Captivate, Vanessa GardenCaptivate Series: Submerged Sun #1
on January 2014
Pages: 291
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...


He pointed to the sky, at what I believed to be the deep black of a starless night; but something about the colour, the density of it, made my chest tighten as thought I’d just dived into a river of ice. A sense of vertigo descended upon me, as though all the blood from my head had drained to my feet, and I swayed.

Robbie reached out and circled an arm around my waist to steady me, but I shrugged him off and leaned against the balcony wall instead. It was my first time beneath an ocean sky, and the first time a boy had put his arm around me. This moment could not have gotten any weirder.

When I received this book for review I really wasn’t sure what to expect from yet another YA mermaid book, but I was pleasantly surprised by this very well-written tale of duty, betrayal and romance.

Miranda has been struggling following the death of her parents in a car crash a year ago. Her older sister, Lauren, has become distant and Miranda feels now than ever that she is living in Lauren’s shadow. During a moonlight swim at their grandparents’ summer beach house, Miranda is stolen away to a strange underwater city. The people here aren’t mermaids, but a kingdom of humans from all over the world, living together in a city lit by strange crystals. The women have become infertile and Miranda has been chosen to marry King Marko and bear the kingdom of Marin an heir, to prevent Marko’s evil brother from taking the throne. As the weeks go by, Miranda gets to know the initially cold and arrogant Marko and discovers that he is just as trapped as she is.

There are all sorts of interesting topics brought to light in this story, among them duty to one’s family and realm, the anguish of not being able to have children, as well as body image confidence and other more “usual” teen issues. I thought they were all dealt with very well – Vanessa Garden writes with a realistic voice and the pace was high throughout the story. Miranda was a believable seventeen-year-old, at first violently opposed to being kept captive and forced to dance (literally) to the kingdom’s tune. There are plenty of political shenanigans, not to mention the strange experiments being done on women in the realm.

There is a love triangle here though, which was a bit of a shame. I was sure that Robbie was going to be the main love interest, and it felt a little like Stockholm Syndrome when Miranda started to actually have real feelings for Marko. I think I would have liked it better if Robbie had been left out of the romance, but oh well, that’s the way the kids seem to like it these days!

There’s plenty of room for future books in a series so I’ll be keeping my eye open for the further Marin adventures.

four-stars – A very enjoyable debut. A mermaid story with a twist.

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

4 Responses to “Captivate, Vanessa Garden”

  1. Anya

    Urgh, the Stockholm Syndrome part of the romance just keeps holding me back from this one. I’m just so bothered by a girl falling for a guy that freaking kidnaps her ya know? 🙁 It’s good to know that it’s actually well written though, since I am suspicious after the last YA mermaid book I read >.>
    Anya recently posted…Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau ARC {3 Stars}My Profile

    • Angelya

      Yeah, there’s just something about being taken away forcibly from your home and family that really turns me off the whole romance side of this! Apart from that, it’s a lot better than other mermaid books I’ve read recently..

  2. Jenelle Riane

    This book sounds really good! I’ve barely read any mermaid books…. However, the love triangle is kind of a turnoff. Though I think I’ll give this a try!

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