by Vanessa Garden
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
In a glittering underwater world, where danger lurks behind beauty and power...For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret—a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren.In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to dowith Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie—Marko’s personal guard.However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...
Okay, that cover is pretty gorgeous, I’ll admit. But as I was setting up this post (while Under the Sea was going through my head the entire time), I noticed that Goodreads had different covers. Check out the Australian cover – words cannot describe how gorgeous this cover is! And mermaids? Can I have it now????
“Say it, then. Declare your love for me.”
Blood pounded in my ears. My cheeks burned. He stood there, waiting.
“You first,” I said, my voice trembling. “How do I know that you’re not pretending?”
He raised his brows and said, “Fine,” before snaking his arms around my waist and locking eyes with me. “I love you, Miranda.”
It if wasn’t for his strong arms holding me, I would have melted to the floor. No boy had ever said that to me.
“Good. I … I love”—I cleared my throat— “you, too.”
Marko grinned and kissed me again.
Character Interview with the Author!
Captivate Character Interview with Marko and Miranda by author Vanessa Garden
Marko and Miranda are seated beside one another. Miranda is wearing jeans and a fitted t-shirt with embroidered robins flying across her chest. On her right hand she wears a ring she keeps touching. Marko is wearing head-to-toe black and knee-high boots with daggers strapped to them. He notices me eyeing them and takes one out, offering me a closer look and warning me the blade can split hairs. I take it, feeling giddy to be touching something of Marko’s. It’s beautiful. The hilt is silver, highly polished, worn with use and studded with golden crystals. I lean forward to hand it back and as I do I notice a scar on Marko’s forehead. I make a mental note to ask about it later.
Author: So, great to have you here today, guys.
Marko nods and clears his throat.
Miranda: No problem.
Author: So, let’s get right to it then.
What makes the underwater city of Marin special? Miranda, you go first.
Miranda: First of all, the city is so beautiful it takes your breath away. It’s lit up by these gemstones called light-crystals, the city’s energy source, and as a result the entire city glitters. But what makes it special is not its beauty. For some reason being in Marin, and away from the real world, helps me to see my true self. I don’t put on any masks in Marin. It’s all me and I like being able to come clean, faults and all, on who I really am as a person.
Marko: It’s my home. I love every square-inch and could never imagine living elsewhere.
Author: What is your most treasured possession?
Marko: Possessions aren’t as important to me as people, but, if I had to choose, it would be my grandmother’s ring and my father’s dagger. (He taps the hilt of the dagger he showed me a moment ago)
Miranda: My mother’s laptop. It has all of her screenplays on it. She kept a daily journal there too. I like to read her thoughts whenever I’m feeling a bit lost or just when I miss her. (She opens her mouth to say something else but then closes it and instead gently caresses the ring on her finger with the pad of her thumb)
Author: What is your idea of happiness?
Marko: (his grey-blue eyes flicker over Miranda before turning back to me) To love and be loved in return.
Miranda: (blushes and shifts in her seat while Marko stares at her intently) Happiness is where I stop losing my loved ones. I want to be able to love without fearing loss.
Author: Okay, while on the subject of fear, what is your greatest fear?
Marko: The destruction of my kingdom.
Miranda: Never seeing my sister or grandparents again (she glances at Marko from out the corner of her eye) I’m also worried about making the right choices. I want to know if I can trust my instincts.
Author: What trait to you most dislike in a person?
Miranda: Dishonesty… and deceit.
Marko: I agree. Especially when the treachery is committed by a blood relative. To betray a family member is the most despicable of acts. (Marko’s cheeks flush with quiet rage and he grips the chair arms until his knuckles turn white)
Author: Okay… let’s lighten things up a little. What would I find on your bedside table?
Miranda: (visibly relaxes and smiles softly) A bottle of perfume given to me by somebody special.
Marko: (releases a deep breath, releases chair arms and dips his head to hide a cute grin) A well-thumbed book – ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck – most recently read by somebody very dear to my heart.
Author: Marko, do you read often?
Marko: (stares wistfully into space) I used to love to read. But as time passes and (his grin disappears and his eyes seem to lose their sparkle) my responsibility to Marin grows, I find I don’t have that luxury anymore.
Miranda: I’ve always got my head in a book. I love, love, love to read.
Marko smiles at Miranda’s exuberant response and she smiles back.
Author: Okay, last question. Any regrets so far in life?
Marko: (sighs and rubs the back of his neck.) I have a great regret which has tortured me in my sleep since I was ten years old (his blue eyes turn cold, the colour of steel) Because of this I have vowed to live with no regrets from here on (he looks at Miranda, pointedly)
Miranda: (shifts in her seat) I regret not telling my parents ‘I love you’ enough. I regret what I said to my best friend at the beach, one winter’s night over three years ago, and… (she bites a nail before tucking her hands beneath her thighs) I regret not telling a certain someone, very recently, how I truly feel about them. But I hope to change that soon.
Marko stares at Miranda, eyebrows raised but she doesn’t meet his eyes. She thanks me and stands to leave. Marko immediately rises and gets the door for her. He is much taller than her. Her head reaches the middle of his chest. They’d make a cute couple.
Author: Thanks for coming, guys!
Miranda smiles over her shoulder. The smile is mysterious and her wide brown eyes sparkle with deep secrets.
Marko nods and gives me a wink before following Miranda out the door. When the door closes, I remember about the scar on Marko’s face, but it’s too late. It will have to wait for next time.