When Yara trusts a stranger to keep her safe from a hurricane, she never expects to wake up with fins. Stolen away and turned mer without her permission, Yara hates the merfolk and the handsome boy who turned her. Treygan doesn’t care about the feisty girl who does nothing but snap at him and whine about loathing his kind. All that matters is unlocking the gateway home so that his people can flourish again. The selkies want to return home just as badly as the merfolk do, but when Treygan falls for Yara, they have to take action to ensure that their love doesn’t stand in the way of them getting home, no matter who has to be sacrificed to see the gate open.
I had read this book before when it was still with the original publisher, but things were edited when it switched companies and I had honestly forgotten most of the story so I elected to re-read it. I noticed some changes, I know that some of the slang was removed and that some of the bratty comments from Yara were toned down. Unfortunately, the changes weren’t enough to make it a winner. It’s almost jarring reading newer fiction by an author and then reading their older works. You can see their growth and the differences in their skill. Karen Amanda Hooper has clearly grown since this was written. Her Kindrily series is so much better written than this was. That aside, it’s the book that you have to judge when you review something, not the other works you have read.
The story jumps right in. The plot takes hold by page 6 and so there is no time what-so-ever for any real character development or even a plot development. There is no build up. One minute Yara is a human trying to prep for a hurricane, the next she is trusting a stranger and being turned into a mermaid. The beginning of the story is annoying and repetitive. Yara goes on and on about how worried she is that her boyfriend will learn she is a monster and then she just stops caring. The switch between her emotions is far too quick and stunted. It’s a testament to the lack of character development that everything she feels comes across as shallow and unrealistic. The whole C-weed and Seagarettes thing was annoying and really didn’t need to be added into the story at all. I would’ve rather not seen that as a plot point. After 100 pages or so, the story starts to take off and shows real promise. I feel like the climax could’ve been better written, but it served it’s purpose well enough. The ending wraps up rather nicely, making you wonder why this is a series. It doesn’t need to be, but I can imagine what else might need to be told.
The characters are poorly written. Yara is intolerable. She spends the entire time whining and everything she feels is quick to change and really there for story progression more than it is to make her relatable. Treygan and Rownan were barely tolerable. Rownan is a horrible character. No depth and he was played as the boyfriend but his description wasn’t even swoonworthy. Treygan was slightly better, but not enough to save Yara. Their relationship developed too quickly with no substance to back it. I couldn’t believe in their unshakeable, undying love like I was supposed to. Pango and Koraline were the most interesting of the characters, and yet they were complete side/background characters. I wasn’t pleased with how the background characters felt better developed than the main characters.
Despite the poor development across the board and the slow to start plot, I did enjoy the book. It wasn’t horrible, but it could’ve been better. I’ve seen Hooper’s other work to know this for a fact, but everyone has to start somewhere and this was very entertaining for a debut novel. While is wasn’t the best Mermaid story out there, I am happy to have read it.
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