by Mindy Tarquini
Publication date: September 25, 2018
Paperback: 324 pages
“Tarquini spins a haunting lyrical fantasy dealing with love, loss, and political turmoil…” ―Publishers Weekly
For fans of Paulo Coelho and Neil Gaiman comes a magical story by critically acclaimed author Mindy Tarquini.
In Panduri, an enchanted city seen only at twilight, everyone’s path is mapped, everyone’s destiny decided, their lives charted at birth and steered by an unwavering star. Everyone has his place, and Matteo, second son of Panduri’s duca, is eager to take up his as Legendary Protector–at the border and out from under his father’s domineering thumb. Then Matteo’s older brother pulls rank and heads to the border in his stead, leaving Panduri’s orbit in a spiral and Matteo’s course on a skid. Forced to follow an unexpected path, resentful and raw, Matteo is determined to rise, to pursue the one future Panduri’s star can never chart: a life of his own.
Brigadoon meets Pippin in this quirky tale of grief steeped deep in Italian folklore and shimmering with hope–to remember what helps, forget what hurts, and give what remains permission to soar.
Hidden in a world of twilight and magic lives the land of Panduri. Full of sprites and mystical characters, Panduri spins out of orbit when Antonio, Matteo’s older brother, decides he no longer wishes to be Pandora’s duca- leaving the unanticipated job to Matteo. Struggling to do what is now expected of him, Matteo sets out to create his own life. Will the stars be charted in his favor? Or will Matteo forever resent his brother and the path he was forced to travel?
This genre is out of my typical realm of choice. This read had me feeling so many of the feelings I felt when I read Circe- I loved it, but I was completely out of my element. Though some parts were a bit muddled for me in regards to the transfer of character perspective and plot, the lyrical quality is gorgeous, and Tarquini is an expert at her craft. One of my favorite times to read is when the afternoon light is shining in through my window in a golden glow; I felt this glowing feeling throughout Deepest Blue. I loved the Italian folklore tribute and the comparison between past and present through Panduri and Outside. I also loved the juxtaposition of modernization and simplicity- particularly when referring to the Outside.
The sibling relationships were very relatable- particularly Matteo- in that family can bring so much grief, pain, and frustration. Ultimately, however, you make allowances for their shortcomings and the strife they caused, and you forgive and love them. There were layers upon layers of familial drama, as well as personal battles between what is expected and what is preferred. Tarquini does a beautiful job of evoking the emotions from her characters.
Sometimes I wish author’s notes were situated at the beginning of novels instead of the end to help a reader better understand motivation and background- this was one of those times. I found the “notes” fascinating. For instance, Tarquini states that the apples woven within the novel were a nod to Isaac Newton, whereas I found them symbolic of Adam and Eve in that they were “poisonous” depending on who ate them and where (Panduri or Outside). I also would have loved to carry the Italian folklore theme with me throughout the novel, as oppose to telling me self, “ohhh, now I see where that came from…” after reading the note at the end. Especially in such a complex novel, it would have helped simplify ideas for me.
Overall, this was a good read. I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, mysticism, and thought-provoking text.
Thank you, SparkPress, for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.