Drown by Esther Dalseno

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There’s only one word that fully describes the feel of this book: eerie.

From the very start to the very finish, it is cold blooded, beautiful, and bizarre.

Not quite a retelling of ‘The Little Mermaid’ as a ghostly expansion of the original, Drown shines a light into a new world of mermaids, one that is cruel to the point where feelings are fatal. Literally.

This book was written in such a masterful way I could not get enough of it. It never strayed from the uncanny way of each character, especially the mermaids. I loved the depiction of God as the sun. A part of me wished for a happily ever after, but a part of me hoped it would stay true to the original. I was not disappointed.

I loved and hated the prince. He was so broken, something you very rarely see in fairy tales or retellings. He acted like a fool and a child, but who was he to know better? He wasn’t prince charming, no. When he fell in love, true love, my heart sang for him. It truly was perfect.

Overall, wow. Usually, a ‘dark twisted retelling’ means blood and war, but this…this was so different. This was heartbreak until the last page, but not in a depressing way – in a cold and eerie way. It left me not sad, but in amazement, kind of like reading a Greek myth. Wow. Just wow.

 

Cross-posted to My Trending Stories.

The Little Mermaid by Jenni James and The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless

 

Another two-for-one deal! I am on a roll! This week I’ve decided to read about mermaids, because who doesn’t love mermaids?

Let me tell you, growing up in Russia, mermaids were a big deal. The Little Mermaid story was not just one of the most popular fairy tales, it was iconic. The Disney version was barely played. It was the anime that constantly showed on TV, along with the Russian live-action movie version. You can watch the anime here, but beware – it follows the true story. I loved it so much I knew every word to her song, but when the end came I would run out of the room so I wouldn’t cry. I bet if I watched it today, I would still cry. Mermaids hold a special place in my heart.

But, on to the books!

I’ve been wanting to read Jenni James’s retelling for a while now, so I finally got around to it. I have to say – wow. For a tale as old as time, this was a totally different take. Fresh and unique, I loved it. The best part was Jenni taking out the insta-love of the original. The story is definitely geared towards a younger audience, I’d say 10+, so it has a light tone and naive behavior, but it works well. I would absolutely get it for my niece. It’s so cute!

The Glass Mermaid, on the other hand, is anything but childish. It’s a heavy story but it’s also heartwarming. There are two POVs – the mermaid Kate and the artist Cooper. Kate is dying from heartbreak of being the last of her kind, and Cooper is dying from cancer. They meet, and you can guess what ensues. It was written wonderfully, impossible to put down. It’s not a retelling, but its own story. I loved it. It’s also written for adults, so there’s some innuendo too. The only thing that bothered me was the descriptions of how beautiful Lake Erie was. Let me tell you why.

Lake Erie is ten minutes down the street from my house. If I get it my car and drive, without making one turn, I will run into the lake. You’d think – awesome! Yes, it would be awesome, if it wasn’t for this.

I went to the beach yesterday to catch water Pokemon and there was a warning sign saying there are toxins in the water and to swim at your own risk. You would think ‘don’t drink the water’ is a third world country deal but no, right here in the great lakes, one of the largest fresh water sources in the world, the water is so disgusting no human or mermaid should ever set foot in it if given the choice.

But maybe in the world of the book, Lake Erie is clean and beautiful and isn’t green. I’d like that world. It would be nice.

Overall, these books are great and if you love mermaids, you’d love them too!

Cross-posted to My Trending Stories.

The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

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I think this book was mislabeled.

The 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner, The Mermaid’s Sister is supposed to be for young adults, and yet it reads like a middle grade novel. Maybe it was originally written as MG and then the author (or editor) changed the ages so it appeals to a wider audience. It get it, money matters, but it really didn’t work for this book.

Lets look at the facts. First, and foremost, the main characters are supposed to be 16-turned 17, but I would give them 12, 13 at most. Clara’s thoughts are that of a middle school girl with a crush (which to middle schoolers is OMG TRUE LOVE!). Oh no! But her crush likes her best friend, who is cool and pretty and why can’t she be more like her? Sound like every other pink covered MG novel out there, amiright?

Anyway, on to the next point. Unlike YA, this novel was completely event driven. And I don’t mean just to set off the plot, but constantly having stuff happen just to move forward. They waited an entire year while Maren was dying before actually doing something. As two children who can only sit by and watch? Sure, I can believe that. As totally capable teenagers? No freaking way. In the entire book, every action taken was a matter of necessity, not character. They were quite content with sitting around and wishing things would get better, like children do.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a bad book. On the contrary, this book was so well written I was green with jealousy as I read pages upon pages of gorgeous word play and lyrical genius. I can only dream of being able to write like that. The world is incredibly vibrant and so well researched. I could smell the spices and taste the bakery. Amazing!

As a MG novel, it’s great. I would get it for my 10 year old niece without a second thought. But if you’re an adult looking for a YA fantasy with developed characters, don’t expect much. It’s a nice short read, so worth it when you just want a simple magical story. I don’t regret reading it, but I do wish it lived up to the Amazon hype.

 

Looking for beta readers for a fairy-tale fantasy novella!

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After the Queen makes a careless bargain with the Fey Folk, her daughters are cursed to become Creatures of the Sea. But when the curse is finally over, they find themselves searching for a way back.

Sisters of the Sea is complete!

It ended up being a 37,000 word novella, and while I was hoping to make it to novel length, I’m not disappointed. So now I’m looking for beta readers to provide some constructive feedback – from style, to length, to overall story line. If you are interested, please leave a comment! Any help would be appreciated.