Deepwater King – Claire McKenna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The follow up to Monstrous Heart!

The sensational follow up to MONSTROUS HEART; a magical tale of intrigue on dark waters and a love story for the ages. The perfect gothic, gaslamp fantasy – ideal for fans of V.E. Schwab and China Mieville

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

I’d forgotten how much I liked Monstrous Heart until the email for Deepwater King came in and I’m so glad it did.

Initially I was a bit confused by the flashback scenes but soon settled into the story and the origin of Sanguis Orientis and Sanguis Mandatum was brought to life. The other flashback is that of the Rivens and Bellis Harrow. This filled a nice little gap in our knowledge from the first book.

Finally, we launch back into the story with Arden on her hunt to perform the Deepwater Rite for Jonah. Thinking that Jonah is dead, Arden is on the run from the Lions as well as suffering from the effects of the coins in her hands. They are slowly being rejected and soon she will end up gravely unwell like her uncle should she not get treatment.

** Spoilers Ahead**

Stuck on Jonah’s ship the Saudade, Arden tries her best with the help of David Modhi and Sean Ironcup to keep Saudade afloat. After a collision, the boat is rendered useless and Arden is forced to accept the help of passing pilgrims. Little does she know that one person among the pilgrims is none other than her very own Storm bride, Challice Quarry. Challice is determined to get Arden back to Clay city to the Lions.

They agree to head to Equus and its dangerous town of Burden to find information about an elusive figure called Miah Anguis. Miah is the one person whom Bellis fears and this is information that Arden needs. From here Arden gets more than she bargains for. She is forced to make some difficult decisions that will have disastrous consequences. She is such a stubborn character and analyses everything, while she is good in this regard, sometimes she can be a bit naive. I think after the first book Arden gets a big dose of courage and starts to fight everything she knows. Her meeting with Jonah has tipped her world on its head and she will now do anything to see the man she loves properly buried.

Miah Anguis is an interesting character, reminiscent of Jonah and a bit of an outcast has the ingredients of danger for Arden. Forced into a deal that may see her very self lost, Arden goes above and beyond in order to help Jonah. Little does she know that Jonah is very much alive in the hand of Bellis herself. Bellis is mad, that much is clear and she has a bit of a vendetta against Arden. It was good to see how her story started and how that has turned her into the person she is today.

Miah is Sanguis Mandatum and his closeness to Arden and her being a Evalescendi is further exacerbating Miah’s obsession with her. All Arden wants in Jonah and Miah will do anything to see Arden back to him.

There is no disguising the fact that the world Arden is in, is bleak. Lions take what they want and play games in which they don’t know the consequences for until its too late. I’m glad Arden has some reprieve from the bleakness in this book but that is sadly short-lived, poor Jonah. The Deepwater King’s costs are indeed high.

The ending promises a beautiful conclusion with the pairing of Bellis and Miah. They are going to reign hell on Clay City and Arden is in their crossfire. It’s going to be a hell of an ending, I can’t wait!

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