Wednesday 9 November 2022

Daughter of the Deep

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan (Puffin, Penguin Random House) PB RRP $22.99 ISBN: 9780241538180

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

The impossible is merely the possible for which we don’t know the science …

Ana Dakkar and older brother, Dev, are students at Harding-Pencroft Academy, an elite high school, known for producing the world’s best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers.

The story starts innocently enough, with Ana and Dev meeting for an early morning dive with Socrates, their favourite dolphin. However, readers soon realise there is more than meets the eye at this boarding school – including a host of well-kept secrets and the mysterious death of Ana and Dev’s parents, two years previously.

Heading off on a weekend trial at sea, Ana’s class of twenty first-year students, their teacher and their driver watch in horror as the sea ripples, the ground shakes and their school crumbles into the ocean – taking with it all of Harding-Pencroft’s remaining students and staff.

Devastated and in shock, the students turn to teacher, Dr Hewett who is, himself, terrified. What they thought was a freak earthquake is actually more sinister – an attack from the Land Institute. The schools have been ‘at war’ for the past 150 years and now, it’s come to a head.

Secrets from the past start unfolding and, owing to her family history, Ana finds herself nervously in charge. Can a thirteen-year-old successfully lead her peers in battle? How can a group of inexperienced first-year students navigate the depths of the ocean, cajole a disgruntled nineteenth-century submarine with a mind of its own, and outwit a group of older students and adults bent on destroying them?

In Daughter of the Deep, Rick Riordan gives a sizable nod to French novelist, Jules Verne, with his modern take on Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Known for his various book series, including Percy Jackson and The Kane Chronicles, Riordan has long been asked to write a story with a strong female protagonist – and this gripping tale, full of clever teens, mind-blowing technology and a hidden island and underwater base is it.

The story will appeal to mid-grade readers, aged nine and above, who love fantasy, sci-fi and adventure all rolled into one.

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