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May 13, 2022

Son of the Deep by K. B. Hoyle ~ A Review

By Elisabeth Scherer

Everyone in the sea knows that no one from under the waters can go above the water's surface.  Everyone on land knows that there are no such things as other people in the sea, in the air, or in magic. An accidental encounter between these worlds changes everything.

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book cover of young adult fantasy novel Son of the Deep by K. B. Hoyle
March 2022; Owl's News Publisher; 978-1957362007
ebook, print (290 pages); YA fantasy

Son of the Deep is the first book in the new Fairytale Collection by K. B. Hoyle. This is the premier book from the newly formed Owl's Nest Publishers.  Hoyle and Katie Stewart teamed up to create this new small publishing house that is dedicated to bringing more authentic stories focusing on adolescents and the journey from childhood to adulthood. The story is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid.  In this telling, things are a bit different.

Orpheo is the storyteller of his community. Son of the Sea King, Orpheo finds himself caught between the expectations of his father, the position of Storyteller given to him by his mother on her death bed, and his curiosity to explore beyond his own aquatic world. Orpheo questions why the rift between the daughters and sons of Earth is so complete.  They have been told for so long that the earth dwellers are the enemy.  

Rosebud is the sole heir to the throne of Peros. Her mother is gravely ill and Rose is poised to take over the kingdom someday when her Father is no longer able to rule. Rose believes in the stories of merpeople and air dwellers. James, her best friend, thinks they are all made-up stories told to keep people safe. When an unexpected event happens while on a voyage home from across the Sea, Rosebud’s world is tipped upside down. Now all she wants is to prove she can be the ruler her country needs. 

The two characters long for something they don’t completely understand. In a moment of pure emotion, these two characters connect.  Now Orpheo must decide if he should risk everything for what he wants. He makes a deal with the Sea Witch, but when he appears on land, Rose doesn’t recognize him. 

This is a great and refreshing take on a story we know so well. K.B. Hoyle is a master of building worlds you would want to visit, and characters you wished were real. Both main characters have relatable struggles with expectations put upon them by family or outside sources. Both characters also have a curiosity and desire to know more about people they have been told are savages/enemies. Orpheo and Rosebud are open-minded to learning more about the world they live in. It’s a great commentation on how young people can really change their own worlds by putting in the effort and sticking up for what they believe in. 

You can see the original tale woven into the story without it feeling like you’ve been caught in a repetitive loop. There is enough emotional pull behind the characters' desires that readers can’t help but be curious about both characters, grieve with Rose, and root for the two characters to succeed in the end. It is a captivating tale that will draw you in with every page you read.

I devoured the book in one sitting and was amped to go back and start from the beginning right away. It has the potential to become a modern classic for you as well. If you are someone who loves retellings of classic fairy tales, if you love fantasy worlds where mermaids coexist with humans; or are just in the mood for a feel-good family story that could become a new favorite, Son of the Deep might just be the next book to push to the top of your to-be-read pile. 

Buy Son of the Deep at Amazon

Elisabeth Scherer is a lifelong bookworm who loves discovering new favorite authors. She is a watercolor and mixed media artist who lives in Minnesota with her husband and two children.

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