Welcome to my stop on the tour for Beneath Cruel Fathoms!
You know that feeling when you read a really good book and you turn those final pages, close it, and softly scream inside because it was both so satisfying and good AND you want the sequel?? Me, right now. With Beneath Cruel Fathoms. This whole book was such a breath of fresh sea air (shh I can use ocean puns; the book asked for it), so I’m absolutely going to convince you to read it. Your TBR will thank me, I know it will.
Beneath Cruel Fathoms is the first book in The Bitter Sea Trilogy, an Adult Fantasy series based on Norse ocean mythology where merfolk, violent storms, restless seas, and dark magic stirs the mysterious Failock Sea. It’s also out now!
THANK YOU TO MTMC TOURS FOR HAVING ME!
Beneath Cruel Fathoms (book #1) by Anela Deen is out now.
After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
1. Gods And Merfolk And The Sea Aesthetic
I’m slightly in love with the ocean 😍 I live 5 minutes away from the coast and walk there every day and it is just about my favourite thing. So books that just give life to the sea, with the salt and storm aesthetic of the waves…agh, I’m sold immediately. Plus we have Leonel, the last of the merfolk and ostracised in the underwater gods’ court because of being a bastard and a mortal. And the gods are based of North Mythology and they are mean. You know what they say about family: can’t live without them, can’t turn around in case they stab you in the gills. 😌👌🏻
2. It has the best trope ever: paranormal creature finds the human world awkward.
Leonel will just about steal your whole heart with his wholesome naivety. Merfolk can shapeshift to having two legs, but he does NOT do this often — until he meets Isaura. But he thinks human things are so odd and he’s constantly perplexed but them and afjdskald I just love this. I will never get tired reading about the magical powerful protector fish man of the sea…being like: “These are very cute little bowls you use to carry around liquid.” He can fight the underwater undead but he, himself, is defeated by pants.
Leonel: why do these pants have so many small shells???
Isaura: …..those are buttons
Leonel: why are there so many????? did you give me these pants because you don’t like me?!
She put up with so much, so graciously (because she LOVES this dumb fish boy).
3. The romance is just so utterly heart melting. I will never be over it.
Leonel and Isaura together…I can’t even say how much I love them. They have culture clashes and he is terse at first and she is grumpy back. But he saved her from drowning and then she, as healer, takes care of him later on. They slowly agree to be friends, and then slowly agree to be friends who kiss sometimes. 🥺 And I just appreciated the sweet tentativeness of it. Leonel has no idea how to be loved and Isaura is struggling with feelings of brokenness after discovering she’s infertile and having that fact end her first marriage. They both believe they are unworthy. And they slowly see those lies for what they are.
4. Absolutely excellent quips!
I really love books that add in humour and this did it so so well! It had me smiling with Isaura’s quips and Leonel’s being softly confused at human culture. Isaura’s family also made my DAY — her aunt is so funny, her dad is blustery and soft and gentle, and she has an adopted brother who pretends he doesn’t need tea cakes…but he really needed tea cakes.
(Also Jurek and Isaura call each other “heart brother/sister” because he’s adopted.🥺Again, I MELT on you. Every relationship in here filled my heart.)
5. The plot has both magical mystery and high stakes.
It honestly was enthralling. There are mysterious magic-infused storms murdering sailors and destroying ships, and Leonel wants to stop this before it hurts too much of the ocean. He protects the ocean so hard. And he and Isaura team up to unravel clues. There’s also locked up gods and twists in the underwater court. The pacing was utterly perfect for it too — never a dull moment, but also infused with the soft sweet ones. It also got bloody, wrenched feels, and ended with me needing the sequel. This book!!!
Beneath Cruel Fathoms is an exquisitely heart-capturing book of lonesome brokenness, relearning your own power, and unravelling the darkness and cruel delights of gods and magic under the sea. I fell wholly in love with it and was so hooked to every page!
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which books about the sea (mermaids a bonus!) do you love? 👀tell me if I’ve managed to convince you to try this one!