Mera: Tidebreaker is a beautiful book with a fantastic story. Stephen Byrne and Danielle Paige make a fantastic pair at crafting a story that is perfect for all ages. With an ethereal feel in the color work and a plot based around underwater, it’s the perfect combination.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court, and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown….
When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control of her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry–the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?
An astonishing story that explores duty, love, heroism, and freedom…all through the eyes of readers’ favorite undersea royalty.
From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera -and-Aquaman story that explores Mera’s first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.
Tell me about it!
Tidebreaker at its core is a love story. It has all the trappings of one, and it executes it really well. One of the main plot points that the entire book is centered around is the fact that Mera is caught in the middle of a love triangle. It starts with her being forced into a marriage she’s not a fan of, and as her journey goes on through the book, she falls in love with somebody else. It’s really well done in that Mera doesn’t feel like she’s got no choice in the matter. Everything within this book revolves around Mera’s choices and her struggle between duty and love.
The other main theme of the book is duty versus love. Mera’s whole quest begins as a way for her to take control of her own destiny and instead take the power from the patriarchal figures in her life and place it into her own hands. She undertakes the mission to get ahead of the man who has been promised the throne if he kills Arthur so that she can rule instead. The book even starts with her taking action on her own against the Atlantean occupiers by vandalizing their property instead of doing what she is supposed to as Xebellian royalty and taking it politely. She also learns responsibility through the book as at the start she is creating more tension between her home and Atlantis but by the end builds a way forward and accepts her actions. The entire book is very much about how male patriarchal figures shouldn’t dictate a young girl’s life for her and should instead allow her the agency she wants and needs.
Steven Bryne’s art throughout this book is brilliant. It’s simple yet ethereal. Every scene underwater takes a blue tint to give it the magical look it deserves; the only color that really pops out is the bright red of Mera’s hair. The whole book takes that muted color palette that accentuates Mera’s hair and brings the focus of every panel to her, as it rightfully should. All of the faces throughout the book are expressive and done really well by Byrne. I can’t fault the art in the slightest except for the curious decision to give Arthur black hair rather than his usual blonde.
Overall, Tidebreaker is a really great book about a young girl taking her future in her own direction rather than being controlled by the patriarchal forces that are trying to dictate her life.