Review – The Deepest Ocean (Eden Series #2) by Marian Perera

The Deepest Ocean cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the author

Moments before he sets sail into pirate waters to rescue prisoners, Captain Darok Juell receives additional orders to take a mysterious woman on board who will help him in his mission.

When she arrives, she is unlike any woman he has ever seen. A cold, controlled operative of Seawatch, Yerena Fin Caller wields an iron hand over her emotions, and an almost magical control over a great white shark.

On the surface, her orders are simple: use her shark to guide Darok through dangerous waters, attack any pirates who interfere. Her emotions must remain under lock and key, lest they travel along her delicate connection with the finned killing machine below.

As she and Darok navigate the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean and evade a killer-whale-controlling traitor Darok’s generosity and warmth coax Yerena to give in to desire. But they have no future together. Especially if Darok s legendary recklessness forces her to obey a secret order to send his ship to the bottom of the sea.

Warning: Contains naval battles, a shark that enjoys winning races, a woman who can control the shark sometimes, the captain who wants her in his bunk, and hot sex on the high seas.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

In an rather strange twist of fate or timing I was browsing for books to read and saw the blurb of The Deepest Ocean it intrigued me but it was also book two of an unknown to me author so I decided I would take a look at the first installment Beyond the Storm. I enjoyed it and was heading over to purchase The Deepest Ocean because I enjoyed Perera’s writing style, and the great white sharks under mind control when an email arrived. The sender’s name looked familiar and it happened to be Perera asking if I would consider The Deepest Ocean for a review. Of course I had to accept and I am very glad I did. For those of you with series reading order OCD like me, you don’t have to worry. They are set in the same world but with entirely different parts, characters, and storylines. So if the subject of the first one isn’t quite for you, I do recommend you give this one a try. You do not need to read Beyond the Storm first.

Captain Derok Juell was a very experienced ship’s captain. He was, depending on who asked and when, either the best or the second best captain in the entire fleet. His ship was disguised as a whaling vessel and sent as a last effort to rescue an outpost from a sea pirate blockade. In addition he had two unusual passengers or auxiliary members to his crew—a high-ranking member of the main religious order, and the other a member of the Seawatch. Both women had a role to play in his mission and secret orders of their own. Derok had to deal with not just a dangerous mission but also a reluctant attraction to a dangerously controlled woman.

Yerena was the best Seawatch operative. Outwardly she was calm, controlled, detached, and unemotional but even before she joined Derok’s ship she was mentally torn. Despite all of her rigid training and sometimes harsh punishment she was attached to her great white shark and thought of him as much more than a tool. Receiving her secret order to sink his ship with all hands if it appeared they were going to fall to the pirates meant deliberately causing damage and maybe death to her shark, not to mention betraying Derok’s trust. In addition to that mental struggle, Yerena faced Derok, an innovative unconventional ship’s Captain who never did the expected with people or his ship.

In this particular installment there wasn’t just one single antagonist but a group bound together with a variety of motivations. The lead pirate captain who never saw a line she wouldn’t cross to achieve her goals had gathered a group of skilled individuals—each of whom had a grievance against Derok and Yerena’s country. The religious man who wasn’t against torture in his attempts to receive messages from the gods or to provide sacrifices to them played an interesting role in encouraging the pirates’ excesses. The sentient brain coral with the desire for suitable hosts for its buds and other unknown goals made an excellent saboteur with questionable loyalty. I do have concerns about what this brain coral is going to do given the last events involving it. And then there was the man who could control killer whales and didn’t have a problem using his Seawatch training against those who trained him. I really think in his obsession, he provided the opportunity for something truly horrible to occur in the future.

I enjoyed watching Derok and Yerena delicately maneuver around each other and their respective blind spots. Derok wasn’t willing to just sit by and let Yerena exist on the edges but he wanted to drag her into the messiness of life. Yerena was very tempted but she had been taught that uncontrolled emotion and any emotional attachment or enjoyment was wrong. Her struggle between her training and who she could be was very real. I thought it was fascinating to watch her draw comfort from her companion, the great white shark, a creature everyone else feared yet she played games with it as a child. I loved how Derok and Yerena’s cultures clashed during their first attempt at smexy times. It showed how stunted Yerena was in certain areas and increased my regard for Derok because of his actions during the scene.

I also enjoyed the opposing strategies used by the pirates and Derok even though I didn’t necessarily like all of the tactical details. Some of those I thought were a bit shaky or introduced and then fizzled but overall I didn’t have any major complaints about the action. Perera even managed to have me feel for the great white during some of his more dangerous moments.

Overall I really enjoyed The Deepest Ocean. It had a few weak points but many more positive points allowed me to enjoy the story as a whole. For instance, how well the shark was used as a character which included Derok’s gradual softening and appreciation of the shark. When I was reading the final scenes and thought back to the shark’s introduction, it provided a very vivid impression of how much character development occurred throughout the story for more than Derok and Yerena. I also thought the way they grew together, argued, made up, and saved each others lives was very entertaining. Their relationship provided a steady flow of excitement along the journey. I am really looking forward to seeing what Perera comes up for the third installment in the Eden Series.

I give The Deepest Ocean a B

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