eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

Shea MacNamara's life just got complicated. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he's never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.


Series: Son of a Mermaid #1
Author: Katie O'Sullivan
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Publisher: Wicked Whale Publishing
Page Count: 338
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: Cape Cod Scribe, K.R. Conway
My Rating: ★★½

Descent (Son of a Mermaid Book 1)Descent by Katie O’Sullivan
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


It was like things suddenly snapped into place.
He had a mom.
He had mermaid blood.
He had a tail.
Nothing felt impossible. Not even saving the ocean.

Something about this book didn’t click for me. I’m not sure if it was the writing style, the characters, the premise, the insignificant climax, or a little bit of each. While this is undoubtedly a quick and easy read, I felt that I breezed through it without a whole lot sticking with me. 

We meet Shea, a fifteen-year-old growing up in Oklahoma. When a tornado hits, he discovers that his father died in the storm. Forced to pick up his life and move to Cape Cod where is only remaining family lives. He instantly feels out of place, clearly seeing that his life on the farm is long ways away from the ocean.

One day, while walking on the beach, he meets a mysterious girl, who slips away before he can find out more about her. Through a series of events, he discovers what, and who he truly is. His new-found identity does not come without consequence. Shea quickly learns that he’s stepping into a political battlefield that has existed long before he has. 

I’ll start off with the things that I liked:

#1 In tales likes these, there’s always a sense of whimsy. Being fantasy, I’d say it’s a must! While I felt rather unimpressed by the rest of what was going on, I did get that necessary sense that the fantastical was happening to Shea.

#2 I liked that the protagonist was a boy who turned out to be a merman! I think every merfolk-related book I’ve read had a female protagonist, which minor references to mermen. It was good to see the male gender being represented in this genre and reminds readers that merfolk aren’t just for females. 😉


Things I didn’t like:

#1 I thought the writing style itself, and the voices given to the young adult characters were a bit juvenile. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it seemed this book would fit more appropriately in the middle-grade genre. Many times their deliberations and interactions with one another (including the adult characters) were childlike.  

#2 I’m not sure what it is about these mermaid books, but apparently insta-love is a must. I think the targeted audience needs to see examples of infatuation vs. actual love because these lines are being blurred something fierce. Beyond physical attraction (the culprit for the majority of insta-lovers) there’s nothing to ground Shea and Kae’s relationship. If these two characters are going to dive into the sea of love, (HA! quite literally) I need more explanation as to why than, “We both have green eyes and…oh yeah! We are merfolk.”

#3 The climax was completely and utterly underwhelming. I’m not even sure what happened there. There was hardly a plot to be foiled. Anyone could see that the antagonist was aiming for the crown. I simply wanted more to the entire scheme.

#4 To say a little more about the characters, I felt that some were wildly unused! For example, there is a dark sorcerer, Zen, who does next to nothing but Demyan’s bidding. I feel like his reasoning could hang over his head for a little while, but not for years and years. A person with that much power doesn’t normally sit behind someone less powerful than himself. I think he would have made a better and more sensible antagonist than anyone.

I’m not sure if I will continue on with this series or not. I’d like to see the growth and development of the writing style. However, I’m afraid it will remain the same. I guess we will see.

Vulgarity: I don’t recall any.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: There actually were some rather grotesque scenes in here. There wasn’t over-explanation, but more than I expected.

View all my reviews

I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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