BBNYA Blog Tour Review: Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen

Hey everyone!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for BBNYA finalist Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen. I am excited to be sharing my review with you all!

Title: Beneath Cruel Fathoms
Author: Anela Deen
Release Date: 365
Publisher: 17th May 2019
Page Count: Fine Fable Press
Buy It Here: Amazon UK (affiliate link), Amazon US,

Book Blurb:

After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.

As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.

As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.

My Review:

*I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.*

Despite my typical book choice being thrillers or horrors, I am an absolute sucker for a good book set at sea. So I was very excited to be assigned Beneath Cruel Fathoms not only in round one of BBNYA, but also in rounds two and three, which meant that in round three I got to read the whole book!

In round one, I was given the first 2,000 words of the book to judge. The story opens with Isaura aboard the Visundr, sailing through the Failock Sea. The Captain does not allow her on deck, but the ship is quiet, and the only people up on deck are the night crew who have become accustomed to Isaura sneaking out there when no-one else is around, and are happy to turn a blind eye in exchange for her healing expertise. But the calm night suddenly becomes stormy, and Isaura could never have prepared herself for what was to come. The ship is destroyed, and she’s the only survivor, her only option is to wait and hope to be rescued. The opening chapter is exciting, and really grips you. It makes you desperate to read on and find out more about Isaura, her life, and what she’s about to face.

The story then switches to a different view point, and we are introduced to Leonel, the last remaining of the merfolk, carrying out his duties as Guardian of the Sea. During his patrol in the southern deep of the Fathoms, Leonel can feel that something is out of place. The sea is telling him that there is blood in the water to the north, and a storm rages. This is the beginning of Isaura and Leonel’s stories intertwining, and from this moment, there is no looking back. Leonel risks everything to rescue Isaura, and now they are connected, whether they like it or not. The author introduced the pair brilliantly, and did a fantastic job of immediately weaving their stories together.

Honestly, I would love for merfolk to be real. They’re probably one of my favourite types of mythical creature! They just sound so magical, otherworldly, and profoundly beautiful. Wouldn’t it be incredible to see something so special? Who knows, maybe they are real… There are probably so many creatures in this world that we haven’t discovered. One can dream, can’t they?

There are some great characters in this story. Isaura is super intriguing and mystical, and a little sarcastic. She’s definitely my sort of person, someone I would really like to be friends with. She has been through some difficult times, and her backstory is pretty sad, but she doesn’t let her past hold her back, and she still has a fiery spirit which I love. Jurek is so fiercely loyal and full of love. He would do anything for the people he cared about, and I really liked his character. Leonel was most interesting of the bunch though. He is genuine and kind-hearted, but he has a fight in him, and regularly puts himself in danger to protect Isaura. His life at sea is particularly upsetting, and I feel so sorry for him. The way he is treated by his family is absolutely disgusting, and I was desperate for karma to hit them.

I loved watching the relationship between Isaura and Leonel form, and blossom throughout the story. I also really enjoyed watching them tackle their language barrier. As most of you know, I’m not a big fan of romance, but because of the struggles of their relationship, I became so invested in their love story.

The tension and excitement of the story builds from the very beginning and doesn’t let up. The book is so full of action that it doesn’t even seem to take a breather, and you’re constantly on the edge of your seat. It all leads to an unbelievable climax, with twists and turns that you would never expect. It’s explosive and unexpected, and so completely satisfying at the same time. I’m not going to give away any details of what actually happens here, instead you should all go and read it and find out for yourself!

Pirates, merfolk, what more could you ask for? This book has it all! I knew from that very first 2,000 word extract that I was going to love this book, and that gut feeling couldn’t have been more accurate. I loved this story from start to finish. The publication of book 2 in the trilogy is set for June this year, and I can not wait to get my hands on it already!

I give Beneath Cruel Fathoms a 5 star rating!

About The Author:

A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest.

After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.

To hear about the latest releases, giveaways, and other fun Sci-Fi/Fantasy stuff, sign up for her newsletter:


BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or twitter

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group The Write Reads.

Disclaimer: My posts often include affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission for any purchase made through my links, but with no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my blog.

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