Daughter of the Deep

Daughter of the Deep Rick Riordan


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

Young Ana Dakkar attends Harding-Pencroft Academy, which produces some of the world’s best naval officers, marine scientists and ocean explorers. But when tragedy strikes, she’s called upon to lead her class on a dangerous adventure.

Plot Summary

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy—an institution that produces some of the world’s best naval officers, marine scientists and ocean explorers. Her older brother attends the school too, which makes him both literally and figuratively Ana’s closest living relative: They lost their parents in a research accident two years before. That makes Harding-Pencroft just about the nearest thing that Ana has to home.

Then, just like that, it’s gone.

When the freshmen class leaves for their end-of-year trials, an attack blasts the academy off its perch on the California cliffs and into the sea. The freshmen escaped the disaster, but they are stunned and grieving. They immediately suspect their rival high school, Land Institute, must be to blame.

Dr. Hewett ushers the freshmen onto the school’s vessel, the Varuna, and sets sail. Once on board, Hewett admits that when he worked at Land Institute, he helped design a high-tech submarine that must have sent Harding-Pencroft tumbling into the ocean. He also explains that Jules Verne’s novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, aren’t as fictional as everyone believed.

Cyrus Harding and Bonaventure Pencroft, featured in The Mysterious Island, promised Captain Nemo they would keep his advanced technology safe from world powers by revealing it only a little at a time as the world was ready. Ned Land and Pierre Aronnax from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, however, founded the Land Institute to try to recreate and steal Captain Nemo’s inventions.

More surprising still is that Captain Nemo’s real name was Prince Dakkar—which makes Ana his direct descendent. Much of Nemo’s technology can only be unlocked with his DNA, making Ana a top target for Land Institute.

And that’s not the only thing that Dakkar DNA can unlock. It’s also the key to finding a secret island—the island on which Ana’s parents died.

After a failed mission by Land Institute to capture Ana, Dr. Hewett’s health gives out, and he is carted away to the sick bay. As acting captain, Ana unlocks the map. They sail toward the island, knowing that Land Institute is desperately trying to capture them.

Ana knows the very future of the world rests with her.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Ana is Hindu, and the Varuna is named after the Hindu sea goddess. Another character, Gem Twain, is Mormon. Reincarnation, karma and a Ouija board are also mentioned.

Authority Roles

For the most part, the teens in this book don’t have a lot of authority figures. Dr. Hewitt is briefly in charge, but soon goes to sick bay. Ana assumes the role of captain, and her classmates elect to follow her orders. Luca and Ophelia, two adults on the island, direct the high schoolers once they arrive.

Profanity & Violence

There are mentions of characters cursing but no actual nasty language. One character, however, does exclaim, “my god.”

Ana’s father drinks wine in a flashback.

Harding-Pencroft Academy is torpedoed off the side of a cliff. In other altercations with the Land Institute, individuals shoot at and punch each other. Harding-Pencroft uses rubber bullets, knives and electric guns that shock adversaries. Submarines shoot torpedoes at each other. Characters are injured, but no fatalities are mentioned except those who died when the academy was destroyed.

Sexual Content

Characters flirt, and we hear an innuendo when the crew encounters a giant octopus. There are also several mentions of menstruation.

Discussion Topics

Would you want to be the captain of a ship?

Do you think it’s harder to be a leader or to follow orders? Why?

Read Hebrews 13:7, John 3:30 and Matthew 20:6. What qualities are important for godly leaders? Why are godly leaders important?

Who are some leaders God has put in your life? Do you follow them as well as you should? Why or why not?

Get free discussion questions for books at focusonthefamily.com/magazine/thriving-family-book-discussion-questions.

Additional Comments

While lacking originality, Riordan’s latest novel is nevertheless a relatively clean, fun adventure that sci-fi fans are likely to enjoy.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected].

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Rachel Pfeiffer

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