Narrator: Soneela Nankani
on October 5, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Length: 11 hours, 16 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana's parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family's she's got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it'll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.
But wait, there's more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. But now the heat is on and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.
Rick Riordan (RR) mainly focuses on reading for middle grade, and normally that isn’t my thing with a few exceptions, his work being one of them. I have loved the stories he has mixed teenagers and mythos into like Percy Jackson and the Olympians focused on Greek mythos, The Heroes of Olympus is tied to all the Roman gods, The Kane Chronicles focus on the Egyptian lore, while Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is all Norse mythology. Daughter of the Deep diverges from mythos and has its roots in Captain Nemo and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This is the first story by RR using this different base for the story and so it read a little differently from all the other stories I’ve read.
Ana Dakar and her brother Dev live at a school focused on subjects surrounding the Oceans. Ana and Dev were orphaned years ago when there parents died on a scientific expedition; the school and each other are the only things they have right now. Harding-Pencroft Academy, HP for short (haha yes kinda like that other book most of us love) graduates the best Naval officers, marine scientists, navigators and more.
“I suppose I should get this out of the way. Harding-Pencroft is a five-year high school. We’re divided into four houses, based on the results of our aptitude tests. We call the academy HP for short. And, yes, we’ve heard all the Harry Potter jokes. Thanks anyway.”
As a freshman, Ana is about to embark on one of her first field trips. It was supposed to be their first introduction to using some of the tools the school has exclusive rights too. That is until their school is attacked and possible destroyed by Land Institute, a rival school. The freshman class has to be accelerated through the gentle introduction they were supposed to have and beat Land Institute to the base at the sight of the famous Nautilus’s resting site.
Ana and her class will learn that Captain Nemo was real, he invented a lot of great alt tech the school has kept under wraps for great reasons, and the Nautilus is more than just your average submarine and cannot fall into Land Institute’s hands. She will need to become the leader she never intended to be in order to save what is left of the students from her school. With the help of her friends and a frenemy turned bodyguard, they will find out how much of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island were real and how much was fiction.
“Yesterday was about shock, uncertainty, fear. Our world was shattered. Today, we have to figure out how to reassemble ourselves from the broken pieces.”
This was a bit of a diversion from RRs usual method of righting and I didn’t connect to Ana the same way as I did with the heroes in his other series, I don’t have a good explanation of why that is but we didn’t click in place like I did with other characters. I did come to enjoy Ana and her main crew at the story progresses but it took a good portion of the book. I enjoyed the take on a few classic stories and using them for the core of the story. I found all the cool tech interesting along with the take on a giant squid. The story did keep me engaged and while it isn’t my favorite RR book, it holds up well.
I listened to the audio which did have the addition of music to compliment the story at the emotional or tense parts of the story to help the listener get into the feel of the moment. I don’t see that a lot in a standard audio which is why I wanted to note that here.
Overall this is a fun story. I don’t think you need to have read Jules Verne’s works to really enjoy the concepts in this adaptation. The pacing is good and the characters are unique. I was glad that RR used so many girls in the story in STEM type studies. It was a nice swap up and I always like when authors don’t just automatically throw a dude into that type of position.
“I’m just saying that people are complicated. Nemo was a different man by the time Harding and Pencroft met him: older, bitter, disillusioned. That’s why he wanted his technology hidden away and guarded. HP was motivated by Nemo’s caution – paranoia, even. So you’ve got two completely different schools, Land Institute and Harding-Pencroft, inspired by different sides of the same person.”
Soneela Nankani has a pretty extensive catalog but I believe this is my first experience with her. I would normally listen at a 1.5x speed but had to go up to 1.65 due to the way she pauses and the pace of her narration to make the audio fit my needs. She fit Ana’s character well for the narration and I was able to clearly distinguish between all the characters. She is a good narrator but her pacing is a little under what I normally like to listen.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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