I have to admit, I was drawn in initially by the cover of this book. I mean look at it! So fantastical and mesmerizing. Then when I read the description.. knowing that it was a book about mermaids.. I hesitated. Did I really want to dive into this book when so many other mermaid themed books left me drowning in frustration? But I braved the muddy waters of -what had been a lackluster theme for me- and came out pleasantly refreshed !
"For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air."
Through the first few chapters I could not help but compare Esmerine to Ariel in The Little Mermaid. The oddball of not only her family, but her village, for her unnatural interest in all things human. Most specifically Books and her Fardasee ( Winged race ) friend Alander. Other things that I felt were "Little Mermaid-esk" were the way her village engaged in theatrics and singing, I could picture King Trident Swimming up on his chariot waiting for his daughters to sing. Sigh... While at first these connections irked me, I grew to love it
This is not a "modern day mermaid tale" in fact it is more of a historical. The author weaves a wonderful tale of a girl in search of his sister in the human world, only to be distracted by all the new wonders surrounding her. After spending your entire life with a fin, and swimming around topless, I'm sure I would have found the boning in the dresses of that time quite irritating as well. Not to mention the twist the author puts on a mermaids ability to transform her fin into human legs. They can do it at will, easy peasy, but they will endure pain with every step they take on their human feet. Most mermaids/mermen do not care for walking on land, but Esmerine and her sister Dosia embrace it so that they can interact with their new friend Alander as he brings them books and teaches them to read and write.
I enjoyed the fact that much of the story is spent on land as Esmerine learns of the Wonder and Quirks of the human world while searching for her sister, and learning what has become of her childhood friend. I have to say.. I did not like Alander one bit when Esmerine saw him again.. But you learn why he is the way he is, and you grow to understand and adore him, at least I did :)
The one thing I disliked most about this book was the ending. It all happened to fast! I won't give out spoilers.. I just wish the author had spent a little more time on the twist she gave at the end. It felt rushed. and while I don't think this book needs to be a series (it holds it's own as a stand alone novel), I wish she had taken an extra chapter or two to give a bit more added detail.
That being said.. I adored this book. I would say the reading age for this one is high Independent reader- low YA. But at the same time Older readers could appreciate it as well with the wonderful way it pulls us back to classic fairy tales.
“You ought to use a little of that siren song on Alan, my pearl.
The boy needs to loosen his cravat.”
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