Zara Zyon & A Maelstrom of Secrets by Melissa Ann Peters

Zara Zyon & a Maelstrome of Secrets - own pictureZara Zyon is a young mermaid in hiding who is dragged into the political war of her people; the story is fun, fast-paced & full of mermaid magic. I was lucky enough to be sent a signed copy of Zara Zyon & A Maelstrom of Secrets by my Twitter pal Sarah as she had ended up with two copies; I was so excited because I’ve always loved mermaids & y’all should know by now that I love reading middle grade books.


I absolutely loved the plot of this book; it’s unlike any mermaid book that I’ve read before, & this is because the mermaids all end up living on land in order to protect themselves from the political war taking place under the waves. I found it interesting that Peters brought the very current issue of the reefs of our oceans dying & tied it into her story, & I hope this might encourage some younger readers to educate themselves more about the creatures that live in the Earth’s waters. The book was also full of normal teen drama, with bitchy school mates & heart-thumping crushes – & of course, a whole maelstrom of secrets woven into the mess of high-school.

I enjoyed the group of girls of whom the story followed; there wasn’t any secrets being kept between them & they had pure & real friendships, which was wonderful to see. A lot of the time we see characters keeping secrets from their friends or having arguments over small plot points, but this book demonstrated a more positive outlook on friendship groups & it was so refreshing. The girls have all teamed up in order to help each other & their people, & each of them was full of true support for the others. My only issue with there being so many characters mixed into the plot of this book, was that the girls didn’t have majorly different dialogue patterns & sometimes I forgot which character was which – which was a real shame. I hope that Peters develops her characters more in the sequel because I think there’s a lot of space for it!

Speaking of development, the lack of it is my complaint about this book. Peters has created an incredibly interesting concept & I just want to know so much more about it! As I’ve said, I loved the plot, & I also loved the world-building that was being set up, but I feel like Peters could have made the book a lot more. Now, I know this is a middle grade book & that a lot of MG books aren’t as complex as teen or YA books, but ZZ&AMOS felt too underdeveloped, even as a book for younger readers. The plot also moved very quickly & I think certain scenes could have done with a lot more detail or explanation.

Having said that, this book is aimed at readers younger than I & it’s totally plausible that the more snappy plot points & fast pace could be exactly what a younger reader wants. The truth is, quite a lot happens in this opening book & if the book was more detailed, & therefore longer, it may not be as appealing to middle graders!

Despite my quibble with the development of the plot, I will be picking up the sequel because I was really sad when this book ended. World-building is something very important to me & this book had some amazing world-building, which has left me wanting sooo much more! I think this book is great for boys & girls alike who are interested in mermaids or the ocean – it’s definitely a book I’ll be keeping to read to my future children.

If you fancy buying a copy of the book you can use the links below; if you choose to use Add to goodreadsthe Amazon (UK) or Book Depository link I’ll receive a small affiliation fee so please consider doing so!
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Wordery

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