After forcefully dragging myself through 62 pages filled with green, blue and purple typography I have to say: "Thank you, Captain Cow, for includingAfter forcefully dragging myself through 62 pages filled with green, blue and purple typography I have to say: "Thank you, Captain Cow, for including me in your blog's book tour, but though based on a nice idea the would-be young adult story (a 15-years-old heroine is entertaining the reader on primary-school-level) is simply too boring and cannot keep my attention. I have become so fidgetty that I fear for the paperback's future well-being. The best about the book is the drawing of the evil, exotic-looking mermaids I spotted on page 74 (I browsed through all the multi-colored pictures. They are quite fetching). I am going to send the book to the next recipient on Wednesday or Thursday and hope that it is not too late for her."...more
Maybe since reading Otfried Preußler's The Little Watersprite almost 30 years ago and certainly since reading Der Sommer als Nixe kam (translates as "Maybe since reading Otfried Preußler's The Little Watersprite almost 30 years ago and certainly since reading Der Sommer als Nixe kam (translates as ""The Summer Nixie Came"") by Evelyne Kolnberger two years later I have been mesmerized by the idea of mermaids, their mysteries and their underwater worlds. The beginning of the current mermaid trend in YA fiction and paranormal romance about two years ago consequently made me very happy and alert. In the meantime I have picked up as much disappointing stories as interesting ones. But I am determined to enjoy the wave as long as it lasts. And although I have stopped putting every new merfolk book on my wishlist, I still patiently sift through the debris in order not to miss the rare gem. Everblue”, the first book of the “Mer Tales Series” by Brenda Pandos, sadly belongs to the category of stones I am going to throw over my shoulder with some flip behind it. Yet, I am sure, some other mermaid fans stumbling across the book will decide that they have finally found what they had been looking for. I am going to try to explain in detail so you can decide, whether you would judge like me or like them:
First a description to make you familiar with what I am talking about: “Everblue” is told in the first person. Its point-of-view switches from chapter to chapter between the two main characters (usually a “plus” for me), High School senior Ashlyn and her best friend’s home-schooled twin-brother Finley. Ash, Fin and Tatiana live on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Ash has helped Tatchi to secretly apply for the admission and a scholarship at the Florida Atlantic University, where they want to spend their college years together, although they know that Tatiana’s parents, who do not even allow their kids to go to the local High School and who often disappear with the twins for days, will not exactly be thrilled about their daughter’s plans for the future. Truth is Ash doesn’t really know. Since the day several years ago when Tatiana’s dad smashed a glass vitrine because Ash had suggested a sleepover at her house, she hasn’t set a foot on the family’s premises. She remembers her own parents mumbling something sounding like alcohol-related problems, but she has never breached the subject. Another thing she does prefer not to talk about is her long-standing crush on Fin. Apparently a pity, because for Fin there has ever been only Ashlyn. But in contrast to just-waiting-for-the-right-moment-to-confess-Ash, Fin is set on forgetting the beautiful red-head next door, because his “carreer” has not been decided upon and he does not want to force an underwater-life on her. For Fin and Tatchi are mermaids, who are permitted to live temporarily on land, because their father is guiding a gate in the Lake that leads to their monarchic underwater country. When Fin’s family is summoned down by the capricious son of their present King, there is not even time to say good-bye. And while Tatchi tries to evade evil Azor’s advances and Fin tries to replace his longing for Ash by courting a mermaid who reminds him of her, Ash is on the one hand concerned because of the twins’ absence, on the other hand she basks in the sudden interest of the school’s – really nice - star quarterback in her and nurtures her crush on him, which had been slumbering in a corner of her heart. How will everybody get happy with the right partner, (how) is Azor going to be defeated and how can Tatchi get to live the human life she longs for?
These questions are not so easily answered because of the unquestionably unique mermaid lore - which is essential for “Everblue” and which is in large part responsible for me being repelled. To be fair: From a logical point of view there is nothing wrong with the construct. It is even very believable, because it fits into the pattern of merfolk legends and fairytales. But if I think of “Everblue” as a love story between girls and boys I am supposed to like - or at least understand fom a ""human angle"", the lore turns into a paranomal romance nightmare:
Mermaids are a different species. They are either born (alpha-mer) or made by a willingness to stay with a merfolk partner (beta-mer, who really stay second-class citizens). When daylight falls on their tails (directly or indirectly via mirrors) they morph into legs. Simultaneously something happens with the breathing apparatus, too. The most important things are that mer-blood has healing qualities (came in handy when mermaids encountered shipwrecks in former times) and that a kiss and one kiss only (between two mers or a mer and a human) mingles the two souls permanently and makes the two persons addicted to each other up to the point that the absence of one makes the other one go crazy. This explains why sea-faring men encountering mermaids after a storm or a swim went slowly mad, jumped into the waters and drowned or joined their tailed saviours and were never to be seen again. That these mermaids were kissing the poor guys in the first place does not need to always have been an erotic urge. A mer’s kiss is also reviving for a person whose life’s flame is on the brink of blinking out. For the teenaged merfolk in “Everblue” it means that regardless to whom you are attracted to or who you fell in love with, you first kiss – voluntarily, accidentally or forced - determines who you will eternally long for, who you cannot be without, whose body will turn you on without fail, who you “love”. To avoid random matings the mer-families do not approve of or which weren’t really planned by the hormone-laden teens all unmated merfolk is constantly heavily chaperoned. To me this once-press-the-button-guarantee of eternal, mutual infatuation (Tatchi and Fin’s parents are permanently making out) seems to be a thousand times worse than, for instance, an unwanted pregnancy or an old-fashioned arranged marriage (for both allow for several choices). It does not take into account that people change, that people have intellect, something in common or not in common, something to talk about or not to talk about. It is just some weird chemistry that traps a couple into an iron lock of inescapable bliss. Horrific, don't you agree?
As the story progresses the reader is in for a treat of how awful the mating-kiss can turn out. (view spoiler)[Tatiana is forced to kiss evil Prince Azor and feels compelled to stay with him and even shield him from her brother’s attack – in spite of her always having been the one willing to leave the merworld and become a full-time human for the sake of her personal freedom. (hide spoiler)] Brainless, naive Fin who felt only slightly inconvenienced (he wanted to succeed his father as the Lake Tahoe gate keeper, knew that his future lay in the hands of the all-powerful royal family) but never managed to see the real danger, (view spoiler)[feels kind of bad for his twin in the clutches of the slimy-tailed Dark Knight, but he (hide spoiler)] is more intent on assuring his lately acquired, giggling mate that he won’t have sex with her before turning her into an honest woman. I asked myself what the heck is wrong with that author? As if the question of premarital sex could be of any relevance when two teens are already infinitely bound by magical shackles. In addition the admittedly peculiar question stole into my head if the author thinks that lasting happiness can only occur, when both partners are brain-washed and paranormally forced? (view spoiler)[This notion would be supported by Ash’s change of feelings toward quarterback-boy after being kissed by Fin. What he says is simply not interesting anymore, his body looks less delicious and she doubts his devotion to her altogether. How convenient, but also how wrong! (hide spoiler)] It all made me personally very angry.
But should the mentioned concept of love (I don’t think that this kind of connection deserves to be labelled love) of the author’s mermaid lore cover you in happy goosebumps, because you simply cannot pass up the chance to read about sweet eternal obsession, do not mind my previous antics and buy the book!
Another aspect, which constantly annoyed me to pieces, were the two sets of parents. Tatchi’s mother – a beta-mer – never trusted her children and their ability to keep their mouths shut enough to let them go to school with humans or to have friends, but she promised her daughter the freedom of choice as far as her future mate was concerned. When the family moves underwater she changes her stance and her behavior so frequently that the reader gets the impression she has already gone nuts from her husband’s extended “business trip”. Ash’s mother is a over-the-top moody, sharp-tongued, unfair bitch, who likes to make her daughter feel unbelievably helpless and bad in various creative ways. Communication between her and Ash is only possible with Ash’s dad as a go-between, who advises his daughter to ""talk to her mom about it”, but does not initiate a family conference himself either. When Ash, whose confusion about her friends’ absence and her own accelerating romance with what’s-his-name finally wear her out, resorts to excusing herself from church under the pretense of feeling unwell, she is plagued by a mightily bad conscience and an enormous urge to come clean afterwards (which is later seconded by her indignant grandmother. Imagine! A good girl lying to her parents! *gasp*). That had me seriously wondering if the author is member of a strange religious cult. The real problem was definitely not Ash’s dishonesty, but her fear to ask monster-mom for permission! But faith is rather bluntly pushed at the reader throughout the book anyway.
I will count “Everblue” as “read” although I have to admit I stopped reading at 93%. But since I cannot imagine what glorious things could happen on the last few pages to pull the boat around, and I have read somewhere that the book ends on a huge cliffhanger anyway, I am not going to bother, since it only makes my skin crawl. One more down, how many to go? We will see.
Forgive me for not elaborating on the writinng style ecetera. It was not bad, but also not outstanding. The usual young adult, paranormal fair, you know?...more
“Forget everything you think you know about merpeople. Forget that freaking Ariel, think Silence of the Lambs, think Friday the Thirteenth."
How happy“Forget everything you think you know about merpeople. Forget that freaking Ariel, think Silence of the Lambs, think Friday the Thirteenth."
How happy I am that I still have not given up on mermaid books. The strong imprint of my childhood’s obsesssion is still keeping my hope up to find a gleaming mother-of-pearl-treasure among the ocean floor rubble now and then. Rare finds like Anne Greenwood Brown’s soon to be published Lies Beneath justify my unbroken tenacity: Skilled writing, danger, mystery, romance and under-water-action combined with unsettlingly inhuman creatures who - in spite of their inner and outer difference to mankind - do not muddle up the plotline into something illogical or unconceivable, but still leave plenty of room for the reader’s empathy and involvement.
Brown’s mermaids are hollow, envious creatures. Monsters. Like vampires are craving human blood these tail-bearing shapeshifters are addicted to human happiness. They drain couples in love or people enjoying to sail their boats completely of their aura and discard them dead and empty, because they have no means to generate their own bliss and resent their victims for effortlessly flowing over with it.
In addition, they are bound creatures: Physically bound to water – a day-long absence makes their skin crackle and split, visibly bound to their species – by a blueish ring etched into the skin of their necks, magically bound to their family and their family’s territory and mentally bound to fulfill given promises and agreed-to deals. Apart from the mentioned bindings the long-living, alluringly beautiful and super-strong beings are completely amoral and more or less uncivilized: Heroe Calder and his three sisters regularly return to their home, Lake Superior, but when they are not hunting human prey or seafood in the cold water, they sleep in unfurnished caves or drive to places in cars that are not more their own than the clothes on their skins. Calder takes up some work now and then because he prefers to spend his winters alone in warmer waters and needs some money for the plane fare. Calder’s yearning for a solitary life makes him a freak among his own kind. He more or less successfully explains his unusual disposition by the the fact that in contrast to his sisters he has been made not born: His mermaid mother chose to save his life and turn him when he was three. But the thing that really disturbs Maris, Pavati and Tallulah is Calder’s resolve to refrain from killing people as long as he can stand.
Calder’s new aversion to killing has to be quickly overcome, because this summer is the summer of the long-awaited revenge: The Hancock family, whose recently died grandfather is said to be responsible for Calder’s mother’s death, has returned to their house on the shore. Now Calder is supposed to lure one of the Hancock daughters into danger in order to make an easy kill out of their father. Parallel to Calder’s growing conscience his awareness for other aspects of human existence awakens. Partly responsible for Calder’s changing personality is Lily, the older Hancock daughter, who mesmerises Calder with more than just her peach-colored aura.
Contrary to my earlier apprehension I loved reading the story from the male mermaid’s point of view. It made me quickly grow fond of Lily and Sophy, it kindled my fear for Calder's capricious sisters, it offered the right pacing for the mystery around Hancock Senior and Calder’s mother to be unraveled and it drew me to Calder’s side, strange and unfamiliar as it was. I extremely enjoyed Calder’s observations when he ptetended to be a normal human boy, who already knows how to behave at a family dinner: “Lily scooped some spinach salad onto my plate and passed me the salt shaker. I looked at her gratefully and shook it liberally over everything.“
Also I keenly felt his distress and his inner conflict. If you do not look at him too closely, Calder could be described as an ectotherm Edward. Beautiful, torn, self-tormenting and slightly in love with the wrong girl. I liked Lily’s curiosity and fearlessness, which did not make her behave sillily. She represented a strong, spunky, happy and loving counterpart to the paranomal heroe who is constantly fighting depression and self-loathing. And am sure she will also keep the sequel from drifting into unbearably dark waters.
Apropos sequel. I would love to get my hands on it now. And I wouldn’t mind owning a physical copy of Lies Beneath. The blood-soaked streak of water following the live-like mermaid looks so fitting.
Thank you, Netgalley and Delacorte Press for making a mermaid lover happy. See my contented, apricot-colored aura? That is definitely thanks to you ... and certainly the wonderful author, Anne Greenwood Brown.
**** Review contains some spoilers **** "Why can't you just tell me?" It was my turn to reach out for him, to grab his hand. "Because you're not ready**** Review contains some spoilers **** "Why can't you just tell me?" It was my turn to reach out for him, to grab his hand. "Because you're not ready for the answers yet."
Does it sound familiar? It doesn't? Then this is certainly the right pararnormal teen romance for you. For me it is like a multi-echo-déjà-vu and therefore impossible to bear. I think it is probably not the author's fault or the book's. Perhaps I have just consumed too many stories of its "kind" in too quick succession and now this sort of brain-candy is not tasting juicy and exotic anymore, but sticky-sweet and artificial on the verge of causing nausea. The undeniable fact is: I am 65% in and I just cannot take it anmore. Some of you may rightfully tsk now and say "Could have told you so." My excuse for preordering the book with rather high expectations is that I have been adoring and unsuccessfully craving mermaid-themed stories since reading Evelyn Kolnberger's Der Sommer als Nixe kam for the first time as a kid - or even earlier, since delving into Ottfried Preussler's Der kleine Wassermann, and nowadays Urban Fantasy books featuring mermaids and other merfolk heroines flood the market and beckon my burried mermaid-obsessed inner child with supposedly unique settings, unforseen twists and unparalleled emotions. Plus, I have to stress that - although it might seem to be so, I am not yet fed up by the complete paranormal romance genre. Even now I occasionally encounter a story that boldly leaves the path of the mandatory plot-formula (yes, it is possible), or - though following it - plants a character set in front of us that is too life-like and too likable to be off the rack und thus saves the day. Alas, balancing matters of the mentioned sort or others are sadly missing in "Tempest Rising". What is mentionable are the accute descriptions of the weather - thunder storms, churning oceanic water and so on. The rest is "business as usual" clad in a sparkling - oh, pardon me, I meant fluorescent - skin of not-so-new mermaid lore: - There is a girl - with hidden powers and open affinities. Her mom, a mermaid, left her family for the ocean, puzzling her daughter with a cryptic good-bye letter that promised changes and explanations in abundance to come. - There is a boyfriend of the harmlessly cute and jealous variety. The reader is expected to like him but to let him drop with a sad, but short, sigh when the worthier - aka superhuman - angle of the paranormal love-triangle makes his glow-in-the-dark-tattooed-and-silver-eyed entrance and captivates heart and soul of the heroine with the forming of in instant connection/attraction/recognition/lust/tugging/whatever: “I couldn’t help the way I responded to Kona, though – every inch of my body (and most of my concentration) was tuned toward him like he was a lightning rod. There didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it.“ - Said supernatural love-interest is not immortal, but very old with an even longer life expectancy and thus very mature - opposed to the heroine - and very experienced in the pleasure-giving department. Certainly the heroine is not really mortal, too. - Said experienced, fluorescent instant-lover turns out to be filthily rich and - this comes as a shock (or not) - heir to a throne (how could he not, good looking as he is). By the way, there was one thing that bugged me: The heroine had to swim through a very, very tight dark tunnel to reach his not-on-human-maps castle and is told that it was the only way to get there, but then his room is full of old books, DVD and state-of-the-art entertainment-systems and everybody is clad in hip designer clothes. - The heroine herself is the long awaited daughter of a very influential person, and - because of an ancient prophecy that mentions her very name - the only hope to restore the peace to the merfolk-world. Her probable royal future inlaws therefore fall around her pearly, tattooed neck and declare she was worth the wait. Oh, yeah. - There is an evil, evil opponent with evil, evil minions who will be quieted or fought or converted by the heroine somehow. I don't care, but I can imagine perfectly well. - And finally there is the not to be missed page-consuming dance of secrecy around the difficult and dangerous and uncomprehensive questions of what-kind-of-creature-the-supernatural-guy-is and of what-the-hell-is-the-problem-down-here. Both questions are answered - after a lot of screaming and trust-me-pleading and it's-too-early-too-tell-repetitions - right according the lines every half-experienced reader had already guessed chapters before.
This will not be the last mermaid story I have tried to enjoy. And I believe it might be perfect for a lot of those paranormal romance fans, who do not expect diversity, but long for slightly different versions of what they already know and like.
One of my straying thoughts, which amused me a bit, was: "Poor Stephenie Meyer. You said you wanted to hop on the mermaid-band-waggon. But your fluorescent mer-prince-story has already been told. Now what? Talking budgies or a Persephone retelling? It doesn't matter. But you have to be quick. Trends shift as quickly as the incoming tides these days." ...more
I spontaneously give up after letting the already read 54 pages simmer for a while in my head. I truely cannot say that this first installment of theI spontaneously give up after letting the already read 54 pages simmer for a while in my head. I truely cannot say that this first installment of the Jane-True-series is unrecommendable or badly written, so don't be put off by this not very deep and serious effort to review. Maybe the mist of boringness would have lifted after ten more pages - who knows? Right where I stopped a supernatural investigator with hot Asian features stepped into the scene and grabbed the perplexed heroine to hug her to his hard and muscle-covered shell. Well. Too, late, Ms Peeler, I had already subconsciously pressed the button to get off this train at the next stop. Can't annoy the conductor, you know?
Besides being bored there are some vague things that might have added to my decision to let the book go:
- Mermaids are my favorite paranormal creatures. (view spoiler)[Jane isn't a mermaid. She is just a half-blood selkie who is an incredibly fast swimmer with an obsession of the sea and an inability to feel the cold. Booooh! (hide spoiler)] - The stressing of the completely stereotype homesexuality of the couple owning the "Read it and Weep" Bookstore (o.k., nice name), Grizelda and Tracy, got quickly on my nerves. Yes, Tracy is big and guyish and Grizelda is a girlish former porn star with a booming voice and the stage name Dusty Nethers, who likes to present everybody with sex toys, be it at a christening or at a funeral. After some lines I got the drift and was okay with it, but the author had to chew on that bone like a dog without teeth. - The absolute stupid behavior of the heroine when she discovers a corpse in the water. She apologizes, but that wasn't sufficient. - The unspectacular und unbelievable discussion when Jane is told the truth about herself and her mum. - The awkward way in which the authour tries to keep the mystery by feeding us pieces of Jane's fallout with the tourist town's regulars in irregular and illogical bites. - The funny parts didn't get me. At all. Don't know why. - And finally the blurb by the publisher on the backcover: "If you love Sookie Stackhouse, then you'll want to dive into Nicole Peeler's enchanting debut novel." Excuse me, Orbit. Do not tell me what I want. You think Jane True compares to Sookie only because some smalltown inhabitants shun/fear her for some obscure thing she did? You think Jane and Sookie are alike because they both lack a boyfriend in the beginning? Ha! Think again. Creating a likable heroine with spunk and flaws is NOT easy-peasy.
Oh. This turned into a rant. I am sorry. Reading 54 pages does not really qualify me for that priviledge. I know. ...more
Flashy-eyed women in Winter Harbor, grinning male corpses washed onto the beach, a dead girl whispering things into her sister's ear ... a stunning seFlashy-eyed women in Winter Harbor, grinning male corpses washed onto the beach, a dead girl whispering things into her sister's ear ... a stunning secret to be revealed. Wow.
Let's get this out of the way quick and dirty (after having endured 154 pages): I do not recommend this book, not even to mermaid-lovers, because ...
- The plot is so very disconnected. Things happen without the reader being "informed". For instance you switch from the scene in which Justine storms out of the beach house to the scene after her funeral and you ask "What? Somebody has died? Who, when?" After some frantic flapping of the recently read pages you calm down, because you haven't missed a word. You just have to fill in the essentials. Welcome to the world of Young Adult Sudoku. On the other hand you know looong before Nessa what those women around her are (the title, the evilness oozing out of their pores, their attractiveness to men, the bodies washed on shore, the flashy, silvery mirror eyes ... *yaaawwwwn*. Apart from the hair color, though, at least the cover fits, and I love it.)
- The characters are too uninteresting, too mean to be believable or too dumb to be comfortable to be around. (How can you not notice that your nymphomanic mom is hitting on your boyfriend, when she is practically crawling over his skin with her tongue?)
- There are sirens or - to be exact - decendants of evil man-eating/man-murdering sirens, no question. But: no underwater plot, no fins, at least I didn't spot them when I was flipping through the rest of the book. I understand that there is the necessity of saltwater getting mixed into your blood if you want to be a proper siren. That's it.
- The romance isn't even partially believable to me (I am glad that fellow mermaid-group-member Alyssa thought differently, although we seem to be on the same page as the rest of the plot is concerned): Nessa's sister dies. Timid Nessa, who was always completely dependent on that sister, mourns her for a bit and feels she has to bring light into the sudden death (the reader says "Yes, please. We don't even know the basics.") and - plong - she feels attracted to childhood buddy and neighbor Simon, brother of Justine's on and off boyfriend Caleb and - above all - a completely boring and geeky meteorology student, who says so often "Three minutes, please, I have to take a few measurements." (= water levels and such in the midst of a thunder storm or an investigation) during the first 150 pages that I wanted to stuff his equippment up his ... nose. But Nessa always patiently answers something in the vein of "Sure, want me to help? Global warming beats my sister's death and your brother's strange disappearance every day. Awful weather, isn't it?". And then she lusts a tiny bit after that future world changer.)
- Luckily my own life-story doesn't involve mourning a tragically departed family member, but I thought that Nessa and her parents were acting and reacting pretty strangely after losing of Justine. We are told that Nessa has problems falling asleep and she wants to find out more. But that's all. I compared Nessa to Kate Mercier, who loses her parents in Die for Me and I have to say Kate's numbness and hurt feel real, whereas Nessa feels "huh"?
Mermaids are my favorite creatures – always have been. Consequently I notice with glee all those merfolk novels that lately have started popping up leMermaids are my favorite creatures – always have been. Consequently I notice with glee all those merfolk novels that lately have started popping up left and right. And I am very, very grateful to Hartcourt and to Netagalley for accepting my request for a review copy.
Mermaids and other humanoid water-breathers can be tackled from completely opposite angles, because there is always a mystery around them: the "We-above-the-waterline-cannot-know-for-sure-factor". Thus opposed to vampires (getting sucked dry can only end badly) and other monsters they can be pictured as cutish and harmless glitter-girls living in pink mother-of-pearl cities, but there are also selkies, who are not to lose their seal skins, and legions of inhumanly beautiful and alluring, but cruel, calculating, heartless and cold-blooded hunters - out to mesmerize the male two-legger. Face it, the majority of the European legends and fairytales does not present us with with wavy redheads singing happily along with the starfish chorus, but with death-bringing voices luring Orpheus into dangerous waters (Homer), hairy Lorelai distracting seafarers by shaking her booty on her wood-splitting rock (Brentano and others), clever waternixies persuading millers' sons to accompany them underwater and sending them back completely spaced out and clueless three generations later (Grimm’s), fairy-like undines tricking men into getting them pregnant and thus gaining a soul (de la Motte) and – certainly – unhappy fishgirls who give their voices and their lives for a futile shot at gaining the heart of a rich jerk (Andersen).
Sarah Porter grabbed the siren-theme from the Odyssey, recreated the unforgiving and bleak atmosphere of the European seas by moving the setting to even colder Alaska, cooked up a plausible reason for women to use their enchanted voices deathbringingly and wove a modern retelling for a young adult audience from the strings:
Girls of all ages who die from being abused or reach the point when stomaching more abuse and violence simply isn't possible anymore, turn into magical creatures with superhuman strength, sea-serpent-like glittery tails, angelic, persuasive voices and perfect faces (picture Luce as Alice Cullen with a tail) – if they are coincidentally in the vincinity of any source of water. Being disappointed from mankind and enraged for having been mistreated during their childhoods allows their bloodthirsty enchanted voices, who have a mind of their own, a good leverage. The girls find a home within one of the matriarchic mermaid communities, but spend their days dreaming of wrecking the next ship, of enthralling helpless sailors and tourists until they kill themselves joyfully.
Luce (Lucette) is different. It becomes clear quickly, that her voice is unusually powerful, but more important is Luce's attitude toward her "killer voice". Luce's experience with abusive adults didn't last as long as that of many of her tribemates. After her father’s death – at sea - she had only spent about a year with her alcoholic uncle - who had beaten her often, but had tried to rape her just that one time when she decided to jump. Even the lack of friends didn't matter so much to her during her nomadic life with her thieving father, since she had always felt loved and treasured by him. In contrast to the other mermaids Luce does not condemn humanity as a whole. She still can distinguish between good humans, bad humans and indifferent ones. And – at the latest when manipulating newcomer Anais arrives, who did not really have a reason to become a mermaid and sets a wave of envy and back-stabbing into motion - she comes to the conclusion that her fellow mermaids' souls do not really differ from the humans’ they all hate with abandon and that without their orally transmitted code of behavior everybody would be at each others throats.
In the beginning Luce starts to "tame" her enraged, beautiful voice, gradually steering it to alternative uses, because she wants to shed her crave to kill with it. Later she notices that working with her voice also hones her singing skills as such. Her bottomless admiration for Russian Catarina, the tribe's ruling queen, secret code breaker and star singer, whose friendship she desperately seeks to win, hinders her from being open about her vocal experiments – until it is to late and the bullies' trap is asbout to snap.
Luce is – like Catarina and the orphaned sisters Violet and Dana, too – a strange and unfathomable character. Sometimes she is samarithian on the border to Sainthood, sometimes unreasonable fangirlish or naive, seeking approval and praise at all costs. When she has a real chance at acquiring a friend in depressive Miriam, she blows it without giving the possibility a thought. What puzzled me immensely was her quick acceptance of the so-called Larvaes’ fate: Larvae are abused infants who turned mermaids – and certainly do not age. If not for the code the older mermaids would ruthlessly kill the helpless, clingy babies, who end up in the orcas' jaws most of the time. Luce undertakes only one feelble attempt at saving a Larvae, before she capitulates. They could have easily fenced them in I thought angrily.
Sarah Porter's writing is beautiful, the setting well defined and easy to visualize, the story a little springy and frayed with a little too much stress on bullying and mean girl stereotypes. It also does not please me that the end was a complete hanger that even lacked a proper cliff.
Personally I like stories that do not avoid problems, but play a hopeful tune and end on a promising if not cheerful note. If you are into dark and evil modern fairytale retellings, which do not magic away the gritty and dirty parts like, for example, Sisters Red (Little Red Riding Hood) by Jackson Pearce or A Curse Dark as Gold (Rumpelstiltskin) by Elizabeth Bunce and you do not mind the complete absence of romance, "Lost Voices" might be just the thing for you. It is definitely an interesting addition the available selection of mermaid fiction.
A note to the cover designer: The cover is outstanding, but the tail is supposed to be much longer! ...more
I was skeptical after I read a ton of reviews and saw that Becca Fitzpatrick recommended it (very bad sign in my opinion), but I decided not to cancelI was skeptical after I read a ton of reviews and saw that Becca Fitzpatrick recommended it (very bad sign in my opinion), but I decided not to cancel my pre-order and have a go. Now I have to say: I really liked the book. And I liked the heroine and her love-interest (I mention only one, because that manipulative control-freak behavior of RetCh, the conscience-free faerie, cannot be counted as love-triangle worthy. He just used her loneliness and her craving of any kind of physical contact to reach his goal. There is really NOTHING to recommend or excuse him apart from good looks. So don't try to convince me of the opposite. Aprilynne Pike wrote in her blurb "...One won Evie's heart and the other won mine." I enjoyed Mrs. Pikes debut well enough to rate it three stars, but after this disclosure of her bad taste in evil guys I will be very wary of books to come).
After reading her story I can even understand Evie's girlish preference for pink, sparkling clothes and tasers and her motivation to give her Taser and her knife pet names: Since she turned eight she has been living underground, held like a dumb princess in an ivory tower, fed with only the information necessary to tag and bag random paranormals for the International Paranormal Containment Agency that is her "home" and shamelessly uses her unique gift of seeing beyond every kind of magic glamour. All her confidants are grown-ups. She is home-schooled by a permanently depressed female werewolf and High-School is something that happens on TV. If you were Evie, would you not jump at every possibility to shop with your otherwise business-like guardian for some ultra-girlish clothes, which resemble the stuff the actors on your favorite Teen TV Drama "Easton Heights" flaunt? Would you not try to be a little normal, to be a teenager? Evie does not own rhine-stone-studded hand-bags because she never leaves the Center outside of a mission. So she compensates by decorating her weapon and giving it a silly name.
Apart from the difference in age and that unhealthy degree of helpers syndrom Rachel Morgan has, Evie's personality reminded me a lot of this favorite urban fantasy heroine of mine. I don't excactly know why. But she was not at all how I had imagined her to be.
What I also liked were the various commonly known paranormal lores (faerie, vampire, werewolf, mermaid, elementals ...), their adaption and their integration into the book's world-building. Nicely done. I think I will pickup the sequel "Supernaturally", when it comes out in paperback....more
I've read 117 pages. The plot is is not uninteresting and the concept is very original, but I dislike the characters. As as reviewer here said, the reI've read 117 pages. The plot is is not uninteresting and the concept is very original, but I dislike the characters. As as reviewer here said, the relationships are devoid of positive emotions. And there is a lot of cold scheming, suspicion and loneliness in the mix that is not my idea of entertainment. But if you like books in the same line as The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory and do not mind that history has been tampered with by adding merpeople to the royal houses of Europe, this might be the next good read for you....more
It's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into tIt's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into the sea by a terrifyingly beautiful sea creature. Rather sad, but featuring a strong heroine and concluding on a satisfying note.
Later clarification on the sadness part:
The writing is good. I just do not feel well, when I am constantly pitying an almost angelic heroine - and screaming in frustration for her the rest of the time.
Adrianne's father had been stable master. He died and his wife fell into depression, leaving her 12-year-old daughter to manage the household including their servants. Adrianne did not know how to proceed and ran into debts by continuing to pay everyone instead of sacking them and selling the house. She got blamed for losing her family's house and fortune later by her mean aunt. Her mother never stood up for her daughter after she recovered. The mother and the aunt work as seamstresses and Adrianne works her ass of as a cow-shed-muckeress. The aunt sees to it, that good-for-nothing Adrianne does not get new shoes or dresses and shortens her food rations to punish her for her supposed nightly pantry-raids - which are in fact done by the pampered nine year old sister Cecily, who is the aunts favorite and who never admits she is to blame. Cecily's every whim has to be accommodated. Additionally Adrianne is ridiculed and gets threatened by the village boys and her old rival, pretty Cora Lynn, who tries to gain the affections of Adrianne's best childhood-friend Denn, whom Adrianne secretly loves. On top of all that Adrianne gets marked by a mermaid as her prey, when she saves her sister, who went to the shore to have a good sulk (Naturally mother and aunt sit at home wringing their hands as Adrianne braves the storm and the waves and are reluctant to pay the doctor, when Adrianne falls into a short coma.)
You get the drift? Cinderella comes in many shapes. ...more
I rate this mermaid romance, which I have impatiently waited almost a year for, 3,5 stars altogether. It was really cute, but very predictable. In corI rate this mermaid romance, which I have impatiently waited almost a year for, 3,5 stars altogether. It was really cute, but very predictable. In core it reminded me a lot of Something, Maybe and other regular YA which tell the story of a girl nursing a long time crush on a boy she doesn't really know that well. After 40 pages or so I was a tiny bit bored, but I held on tight - I was reading a mermaid-love-story! - and it got better again.
As far as I-am-a-mermaid-here-is-my-story books go, I liked both Teenage Mermaid (also predictable, because basically a retelling) and Ascension, which both offer a romantic plot, better. The last books of the Ingo-Series, especially The Deep, are also far more enjoyable, if it is the underwater world and the different thinking of the merfolk the reader wants to immerge in. Forgive my Fins has some interesting explanations about underwater breathing and the tolerance of the cold ocean water, but it stongly focusses on the romance part, the emotions, the joy and pain of teenage infatuation. Be it either high school spring fling or underwater castle: The text does not offer a lot of visuals. It rather feels like skipping the landscape pictures of a slide show and getting only glimpses of beautiful things until the family pictures come into view and are to be admired and scrutinized. So if you search for the next cute teenage romance with a likable heroine and a hunky hero who hides his feelings, choregraphed in front of a wet scenery for a change, you cannot go wrong by reading Forgive my Fins.
I, for my part, have decided against reading Fins Are Forever, though. I will await the next mermaid-themed book (The Forbidden Sea) I have on preorder now - hoping it will offer the perfect mix (mystery, love, thrill, a believable, well-depicted underwater world) and I heartily thank Tera Lynn Childs anyway for writing a mermaid book in times that clearly favour faeries, vampires and angels....more
Fred the mermaid is always so much fun! Forget the rather ordinary vampire queen created by the same author. Grumpiest mermaid ever and marine biologiFred the mermaid is always so much fun! Forget the rather ordinary vampire queen created by the same author. Grumpiest mermaid ever and marine biologist Dr. Frederika Brimm, her metrosexual best friend Jonas, her hippy parents, the Undersea Folk including hunky Prince Artur and his SciFi-loving dad the king entertain me to no end. Sadly this third part in the series is the last....more