Cover Image: Deepwater King

Deepwater King

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Member Reviews

It's a brilliant follow in on from the first book the characters pulled my in again, and the at atmosphere the author creates is breathtaking. I can't wait to read more
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There wasn't enough world building for me to feel fully invested in this one, perhaps because I've not read the first one I'd missed it? The story was enjoyable, the writing style took a while to come round to - again I should have probably read the first one first!
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This was an interesting read with a great sense of world building, and the cover is quite stunning! I love the general vibes of this book!
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I loved Monstrous Heart so I was looking forward to Deepwater King. The world gets a little muddled here with a lot of new threads thrown in. I'm not sure I know where McKenna is going with all of this but I really really did enjoy the ride! I'm definitely continuing with this series because for all her faults I still love Arden as a character and this world McKenna shows rather than tells you about is so intriguing.
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In the Deepwater King Arden is coming to terms with the loss of Jonah and finds herself with a boat two young lads one of which is hiding from the authorities and the other one might be a traitorous wretch.  She has no idea what to do other than a special rite that will send Jonah’s soul to his god. The problem is no one knows how to do the rite and everyone who did is dead. Problem. 
I love these books, they are totes emo 🖤 lots of gnashing of teeth and melodrama, everyone is totally over the top and I’m here for it. Arden hasn’t got a clue in this book she floats about with absolutely no direction, the only time I felt she took charge of herself was on her death march across the island and that was ruined by that dude that was Jonah but not Jonah. I missed Jonah in this book. With Arden being flotsam we needed someone to give it direction but seeing as this is a middle book I shall make allowances and put Arden’s pack of decision making skills down to grief and temporary insanity due to her foostie hand grommets.
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Thoroughly obsessed, Deepwater king is an addictive page turner from the very first page. There’s a great romance, action, tension and a lot of suspense, whilst I loved this it didn’t quite make the same impression the first book did on me, that’s not a criticism I just adored the first so much I think it was hard to live up to in my head.  Definitely still a favourite for me as it’s addictive enough to keep me reading ‘even though it’s darker thanMonstrous Heart. I think this book perfectly sets the reader and story ready for the last book and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s in store.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Having enjoyed The Monstrous Heart I couldn't wait to catch up with the characters in Deepwater King. Described as an oceanic steampunk fantasy, I wasn't sure if this series would be for me but I soon got swept up in the magic and intrigue. Arden is a fantastic protagonist and I love Chalice as her support act. As before the #sexytension scenes were a bit much for me but I am a little prudish when it comes to reading that kind of stuff!

I can't wait to see how the trilogy ends!
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kay done, so when I first signed up for Deepwater King I didn't realise that it was part of a trilogy. Nor that it was the second book in the series. So to read in time I had to do some fast reading to catch up. And I am so glad that I did, as I have fallen in love and cannot wait for the final book.

You definitely need to read the first book to get into this one, otherwise this would be a mess of a book. Even with reading the first book and moving straight into this one I struggled a little bit. This is definitely a book that you need to binge read.

There were lots of mythical aspects that I enjoyed and I kind of wished that we had dived into the mythology in more detail. The idea of the blood magic and the law surround the use of the same made for an intriguing read.

I also loved the characters, especially Arden who is such a strong female lead.

I am curious to see how this series concludes and cannot wait for the next book. Deepwater King was just a taste of what is to come.
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Deepwater King is the second book in The Monstrous Heart Trilogy. Within its pages is a story of magic, sea monsters and intrigue. Arden is a sanguis, descended from a family who can ignite flame with their blood. After the events of the first book, she embarks on a difficult quest to fulfil a promise and escape the fate that has been planned out for her.

I found the first book confused in what it wanted to be and the story it wanted to tell. Going into this book, the plot felt stronger and more focused, with a clear set of characters. Unfortunately, while Arden is a fairly strong character at the start, she kind of loses the plot about half-way through; her obsession with the love interest, Riven, taking over any personality she might have had. Luckily for the book, the secondary characters, led by the delightful Chalice, make up for it.

We get to see more of the world in this book and learn a bit more of the magic. I’m still not quite sure how the magic system works, but I do feel like the lore is starting to fall into place and fog is lifting. I really enjoy the sea setting complete with sea monsters & isolated islands blended with industrial tones. I did find the way that the author chose to present an example of Arden’s other blood-gift a bit frustrating: more awful men obsessed with and lusting after her, unnecessary sex and yet it served to only confused me more as to how the gift worked.

At about the half-way point, we get to see some other character’s perspectives and these were my favourite parts of the book. I really enjoyed these pages and when the perspectives ended, it felt too soon. I do feel like the author was missing a trick by not focusing on these characters instead and having Arden as a secondary character/sub-plot. It was great seeing more of Bellis and those around her, and the world they’d created for themselves, and how each tried to survive.

There were some good parts of this book, and it does make for entertaining reading. It has an intriguing world and some good characters, but is lacking in places. I feel like the series would probably be enjoyed more by those who like romance-focused fantasy, such as Sarah J Maas’ books rather than V.E. Schwab which is what it’s being compared to. I don’t think it was quite the series for me, but, if the first book was something you enjoyed but weren’t fully sure about, it’s worth giving Deepwater King a go. And, if you loved Monstrous Heart, you are bound to love this book too.
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As with Monstrous Heart, the world this is set in is complex and fascinating, and makes for a compelling read as the storylines intertwine with abilities, subterfuge, twists and magic
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Sadly this one was a bit of a disappointment. I do really appreciate the seafaring steampunk world that this book and its predecessor are set in, as well as the folklore elements and magic system woven in. McKenna is a strong writer and the language she uses is at times poetic, and really enriches the world she's created. However, I found that this book didn't live up to the first in the series, the plot didn't particularly grab my attention, and I wasn't that fond of either of the book's antagonists. That being said, I'll still pick up the last book in the trilogy when it is released to see how Arden and Jonah's story ends. I also want to praise whoever designed the book covers for this series, they're both truly beautiful. 

(Many thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.)
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Fantasy isn’t my go-to genre but I was intrigued by the idea of a gothic tale of romance and sea monsters. This was a good step out my comfort zone.

This is the 2nd book in the Deepwater Trilogy. To prevent spoilers that might ruin the 1st book, Monstrous Heart, this review is based on the series as a whole. 

This trilogy is perfect for fans of steampunk fantasy - full of industry and magic, of Old Gods and ancient rites. The vaguely Victorian feel to the characters and the society they inhabit, is reflected in the skilful and ornate writing style; it reads like a 19th Century novel with some anachronistic sex scenes thrown in. 

There are some dark themes at play too. Not only is industry powered by blood letting but even body parts and sex are used as sacrifices to the Old Gods. There’s also the Eugenics Society, concerned with protecting useful blood talents and keeping out dangerous shadow abilities. 

Monstrous Heart is a page turner from the start. I was drawn in by the unlikely romance, the determined heroine and the brooding and misunderstood hero. There’s a good dose of suspense in the cloak and dagger motives of many characters that kept me captivated until the end.

Deepwater King didn’t quite hit the same highmark for me. The romance element that was key to my enjoyment of MH, felt more tormented and less believable. Arden, who began as a strong character, fell into more of a damsel in distress role, constantly walking into danger and having to rely on random strangers to help her out. Despite her strength of character and magical abilities, the only power she wields is sexual. I also missed some of the supporting characters, notably Chalice, Arden’s assistant with a secret, and even the vile Mr Justinian, who I loved to hate. 

Definitely absorbing enough to keep me reading ‘just one more chapter’, but DK just felt overall more bleak and harrowing than MH. I’m hoping that this was intentional, to give us a more satisfying resolution to the trilogy. The ending perfectly sets up a story for the 3rd book and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s in store for our lovers next.
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This struck me as a complicated book that was hard to follow, given all the characters involved. This may not have been helped by the fact that I hadn’t read the 1st book in the instalment, but I note other readers reflected an experience that was similar.
The magic, lore, various religious orders and aspects surrounding these was hard to discern, so I found this was a book requiring high concentration to follow. The sea fearing aspect with mythical creatures made for exciting and tense battle situations, which McKenna describes in bold and brutal detail. So this will not suit those that do not like too much gore. 
Arden the protagonist is likeable and bold. She carries her own cross to bear and risks much for her presumed dead husband as she tries to fulfil a to complete a dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.
Most definitely a steampunk Victorian esque adventure in a strange land. I would have liked more world building to create a more vivid background that this fantasy inhabited, as it was at times hard to sufficiently conceive, but my imagination did its best to fill the gaps.
A great sense of tension and danger throughout. It felt like no characters could be truly trusted. There were lots of twists and turns that kept it edgy and immersive. The dialogue was convincing and had a good cadence. The ending did disappoint, but still made for an enjoyable read.
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Deepwater King is the second book in a series. You really need to read the first book, as this book begins not long after the first book ends.
Has a very steampunk feel with lots of references. It's a really fun and enjoyable read.
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I got this book as an eARC from netgalley in return of an honest review.

When I saw this book advertised I was first intrigued by its cover and then the indication it had for covering the sea, sea myths and legends and was advertised as fantasy.

After reading the first book in this series, Monstrous Heart, I wanted to see how the story would continue in this second instalment.

This second book, too, was a stimulating read. But not so much for me as an avid fantasy reader, but for me as a writer. As this book offers ample opportunity to make up your mind what works in a story and what does not work and how to mix genres or maybe not.

From what I can see, this book works for some readers and they like it a lot, for others, like me, unfortunately, in the end this book did not really come together.

Possibly the main reason is that this book is not really fantasy. There are so many genres coming together in this story and each one holds some strands within the book but makes the book in the end more of a compilation of various strands than a whole. 

It is as much fantasy, as romance, as contemporary, as gothic steampunk, exploring female longing, fixation and sexuality in a way I have not ever seen written about before in fantasy.

When I later checked on the author's website, I found that she summarises her books as writing 'Strange romance, dark SF and epic fantasy'. And this possibly makes the point quite nicely.

At the beginning of this second book we finally get some background information on how this current world came into being. there are many bits and pieces that feel like our current world, but then there are these added magic elements that turn it into something completely steampunk fantastic.

After this beginning that felt like solid fantasy writing, we then dive into the deep end and go to the darkest of dark places, where it seems the dregs of humanity are merely or not even scraping out a living in an entirely polluted environment, physically as well as emotionally and mentally and where we are wading through morally deep dark waters.

And then we follow the main character Arden onto a mad dash through these islands, that she does not seem to know at all, and yet, the moment she is there she seems to know everything about them, and that is where this book started to fall apart for me.

Also, Arden's motivation for her journey to this abysmal place is still somewhat a puzzle for me, the love that came in the first book was too instantaneous for me and her character too inconsistent than what she does in this second book does make sense.

The only explanation I have come up with is that she gives into an urge within herself that cannot rationally be explained but has to be followed all the same.

I was looking so much forward to meet this deepwater king and the mythology created for it, but oh boy, was I disappointed. Nothing is as it seems in this book and that may well be true.

As with book one, I nearly DNFed this book at around 20% but somehow made it through. And then the book trailed for quite a while.

When Chalice resurfaced into the story I was disappointed, the pacing and timing was not right and Chalice's story got summarised in a few paragraphs and was done with. This felt like the story was being cut short. In addition, the relationship these two women have is something beyond my understanding.

I had hoped to get some deeper insights into Arden's and the other magic that is at work and play in this world, but the magic system did not get further explained or further elaborated, and so this part of the world building remains in a rather misty place where one constantly wonders what this all is actually about and how this magic now really works.

What I also struggled with was the language. Using old words, that is words, that were in use a few centuries ago in parts of the world at that time in order to give the story a specific flavour is not sufficient. As in book one, it felt to me that most of these old words just had been put in due to their obscurity but not really due to a precise and clear understanding and sense for the language and world building. 

I was thankful throughout that I got to read this book on kindle, so my dictionary was always only one finger tap away and I could check out the obscure words easily. Otherwise, I most likely would have DNFed this book.

Specially at the beginning I found instances of negative stereotyping where the authors own prejudice showed quite clearly and got reinforced by being represented as negative. And that is not something I want to find or read about in a novel.

And then there are the references to what seems to me an absolute random compilation of aspects of our current actual world where civilisations, myths and geographical areas are brought in. They are so all over the place, they just do not make sense.

What I missed in this book were the prehistoric animals of the sea that were so unique in book one. In book two they mostly disappeared or you can say, got reduced to a representation as the cloak Arden wears is made out of their hides.

What I loved were the scenes towards the end when we get into the more mythological places of the story. There, the author conjured a paragraph or too, painting a picture that was just genial.

So, in short, should you consider to read this book because it is fantasy, then you might be rather disappointed. But if you are interested into reading a book that is different and rather unique, then this book might well be for you.

There, too, should be trigger warnings for this book, it would behove it well.
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A lush dark fantasy sequel to the Monstrous Heart, which I loved. There’s a lot going on here and the world expands as we move to the Sainted Isles. I enjoyed the world building as much as last time and the prose is to die for. I felt as if Arden had slightly less dynamism this time. She still had agency, she still made choices, but it felt as if she struggled more. This makes plenty of sense n terms of a character’s arc over a series but I imagine some readers may find it a little frustrating. That aside this was an epic follow up. I can’t wait for book three.
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You'll need to read the first book in the series, 'Monstrous Heart' before reading 'Deepwater King' as it begins shortly after the first book ends. I enjoyed 'Monstrous Heart' and the developing relationship between Arden and Jonah up to the dramatic and disturbing climax of the opening story in this, I believe, trilogy. This was a huge part of the enjoyment of the first book and sadly, for me, it was missing from 'Deepwater King', however saying that, there was plenty of dark drama and action to hook you into the narrative. 
There's great worldbuilding, like book one, and the setting is a huge part of the books enjoyment - I really enjoy Steampunk vibes and loved this element. 
There's some great characters, both principal and minor - I did feel Arden lost the drive in this book - but after the ending I hope the Arden/Jonah will build up again to the level of 'Monstrous Heart'. 
The story builds and builds to a dramatic, the tension started to shoot up high and the ending - well, I need the next book!
I enjoy this series and look forward to its conclusion.
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I have been looking forward to this book for a while after really enjoying Monstrous Heart last year and I was excited to see where the story would go. I definitely found Deepwater King a lot quicker and easier to immerse myself in, I think that is because I got used to the author's style from the first book and because I was armed with a lot more knowledge of the world this time around.

I have to admit I was quite excited that this story started with a look at the history of some of the characters, I remember having a few questions in my head after reading Monstrous Heart that I was hoping would be answered and I was pleased that this was addressed so quickly. The change of scenery was also refreshing because there was a lot of talk of the Sainted Isles in the first book so it was great to get to experience them and to see the differences between the mainland and the islands and also to get a more in-depth knowledge of the Deepwater people.

I feel that Deepwater King is a lot darker than the first book and the characters are put through a lot of suffering, this did make for compelling reading and really upped the stakes in terms of the tension but I did feel that some of what had really caught my attention in the first story; e.g the budding relationship between Arden and Jonah, and the strong friendship between Arden and Chalice; wasn’t carried over so much in this book so there wasn’t quite the same attachment to the characters that I had previously had. However, as I got further into the story I found I was as intrigued by what was happening with the plot and was curious to know how it would all pull together.

Strangely I feel that in this book Arden lost a lot of her strength, she came across a lot weaker in this book, now she does have a lot thrown at her and I admire the fact that she makes it through all her challenges but sometimes I felt especially more in the first half of the book like she just becomes a woman that has to be rescued rather than a woman trying to find her way out of a bad situation which was what I was expecting. Having said that she does start to come back to that in the second half of the book and starts to really understand herself and her power which was fascinating to read about. I already can’t wait to see how this develops in the third book and what the next change of setting will throw in Arden’s path.

I have to say that I am already looking forward to the next book, the ending of Deepwater King sets up the third book in such a way that I feel like it is going to be a magnificent and possibly quite an explosive conclusion and I just can’t wait to read it.
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I loved the first book, Monstrous Heart and couldn’t wait to read this next volume and now I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy. Deepwater King picks up not long after the first book ends with Arden determined to perform the ritual to return Jonah’s spit to the court of his Deepwater King. After what happened in the first book it doesn’t take a genius to realise it’s not going to be as simple as that with so many forces aligned against Arden not least his wife Bellis, gone mad with power determined to bring the whole world to it’s knees before her or Jonah’s cousin, the only person Bellis fears. I loved the impressive world building in the book which carries on from the first book. I had a great time with this book.
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I do have to admit, I was not a fan of Monstrous Heart so I was surprised to get widget for this, but, I found myself unable to resist. Monstrous Heart was an intriguing book and so different from any other I'd read that even though I found a lot at fault for me, I admired what McKenna was writing. This sequel is a vast improvement on the world-building from book one but there's still a lot we need to know to make it a smoother read. Since the focus was more on the characters, it was easier to ignore the gaps or confusion about the world.

I am definitely interested in reading the finale to this trilogy with that last chapter in Deepwater King, and I'd love see more of Jonah and Arden, especially given their current situation and location by the end of the book.

2.5/5 rounded up to 3. 3 stars for creativity and premise, and for the character development from book one! 2.5 due to the still lack of clarification in the world of Fiction.

Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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