Daughter of the Deep

by Rick Riordan

Hardcover, 2021






Disney Hyperion (2021), 352 pages


In this story inspired by Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Ana Dakkar, 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, makes astounding discoveries about her heritage and puts her leadership skills to the test against deadly enemies from a rival school.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

352 p.; 8.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member hcnewton
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
So here's the thing—the events and characters of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island are based on actual events and people—but Verne was given a few skewed details. One hundred-fifty
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years later, descendants of these people are running rival schools their ancestors founded, the Land Institute and the Harding-Pencroft Academy.

Students at HP are only told about their origins at a certain point, and their mission is to graduate future leaders in a variety of disciplines to guard the science that Nemo developed and slowly, carefully introduce it to the world.

Land Institute students are told their origins earlier and their mission is to rush that science out into the world—even if by doing so, it'll unleash societal upheaval, economic trouble, and will upend established science for years.

The two schools are in sort of a cold war until the Land Institute launches an attack on HP, and the freshman class has to head to sea to try to survive. While on the run, the class is told about HP's origins and our central character, Ana Dakkar, learns about her family history, forcing her to take a leadership position and more.

Can Ana and the rest of the freshman survive the Land Institute*? Can they utilize Nemo's technology in ways no one else has? Who will control Nemo's heritage?

* It is unfortunate that the ocean-going HP Academy is rivaled by the "Land Institute." It feels a little too-on-the-nose, even though it's named for Ned Land.

Because this is aimed at the MG crowd, I can buy the whole "a bunch of preteens/teens outsmart and outperform dangerous and super-smart older teens" nature of the plot—it's pretty much a given in the genre.

Also, the whole Land Institute teachers/administrators allowing students to start killing people is a pretty hard pill to swallow. For some reason, I had an easier time buying competing mythological figures setting teens against teens.

But hey...if it's in a universe where everything in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is based on reality, and that Nemo's tech worked (and still does!)? Well, hey, I can buy a little less-than-plausible High School actions.

I had a lot of fun with this. A goofy premise, but well-executed. I dug the characters, the action was solid and the pacing was good—enough to keep the reader engaged and entertained, while giving enough breathing room for a little character development.

And there's a giant cephalopod—every undersea adventure needs one of them.

If this is the beginning of a series (and it feels like it), there's a good chance I'll come back for more. But honestly? I think it'd be better as a stand-alone.

Either way, this is a fun ride—and one that'll hopefully spur the target audience into giving Jules Verne himself a try.
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LibraryThing member AlbaArango
If you love Jules Verne, you’ll love this book. I like Jules Verne, and I liked this book.

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at the Harding-Pencroft Academy. While she and her classmates are en route to their freshman trials, they witness a horrifying event, one brought about by their school’s rival, the
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Land Institute. Ana will learn that the rivalry goes much deeper than a simple competition, and that her ancestry is a huge part of it. Now Ana and her mates are competing in the greatest race of their lives to save the world, and she will discover the true leader inside of her she never knew she had.

What I liked: great cast of characters. Interesting plot, very reminiscent of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. I love that Ana’s character shows tremendous growth, and I appreciate the dynamic of the relationships, both with new friends and old ones. It was a fun read.

What I didn’t like: honestly, it was my least favorite of the Riordan books. It lacked the quirkiness of the mythological gods that all the others have that make them so great. It also took me a while to connect with Ana, and though I did eventually, I never fully connected with her, like I have with other protagonists in his books. I know it isn’t fair to compare, but it’s hard not to when I have loved all his others books so much.

However, despite it not being my favorite, it was still a good book, and a must read if you are a Jules Verne fan.

3.5 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member Anniik
CW/TW: Familial death, injury, violence, scary situations
REVIEW: Ever since the first Percy Jackson book came out, Rick Riordan has been one of my favorite authors. This book changes nothing. Based on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this book follows Ana Dakkar, Captain Nemo’s
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direct descendent as she finds the Nautilis and learns about her past while attempting to safeguard her future.

This books, like all of Riordan’s, has a diverse cast of unique characters and I found myself really liking and feeling for Ana. I hope this is the first of a new series because I am looking forward to reading more!
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
Set at a school called HP that has a focus on oceans and marine life, Ana and her older brother Dev are still processing the death of their parents two years earlier. Ana and the rest of the freshmen class are leaving for a training mission when the school is attacked and destroyed. Then begins the
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action in this adventure where the students suddenly find out that the writings of Jules Verne are based on fact and that Ana is the last living descendant of Captain Nemo. They soon are on the hunt for the Nautilus and the amazing alt-tech Nemo developed. They need to find this and survive before the students at Land Institute (who destroyed their school) get their hands on it for their agenda. Told from Ana's point of view she leans into her friends and the skill sets of her amazing classmates (and their animal friends) to outwit and outmaneuver their foes to try to survive. This felt like a Rick Riordan adventure.
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LibraryThing member LynnMPK
Like a love letter to Jules Verne!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of my favorite books as a kid. I had an illustrated children's edition that I would read over and over. I eventually read the unabridged version as an adult and loved it still. I grew up near the ocean and always loved being on
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This book does a great job of being almost like a third book in the series. It's very meta and I love that it references both 20,000 Leagues and Mysterious Island. It even has the techno jargon and science facts that I love about Vernes' books! Because of all this it felt familiar and comforting, but also fresh and exciting.

I think you could read this and enjoy it if you haven't read 20,000 Leagues and Mysterious Island, but you would definitely miss some things. I would recommend to at least read a cliff/spark notes or a Wikipedia summary of those books if you didn't want to read the full novels. Even just an abridged or children's version would hit all the major plots points you would need to understand the references.
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LibraryThing member BarnesBookshelf
After reading all of the Riordanverse books, its nice to enter a whole new universe with his writing. I loved getting to know Ana and her friends, and I had to know how they saved the day. The reveal of the traitor was a little predictable, but it was still a good pay off. I also really appreciate
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that Ana didn't have a love interest. Other writers would have shoehorned one in, but the story didn't need it, so I'm glad it didn't have it. I'd love to read more of the HP Crew's adventures, if Riordan chooses to make this a series.
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