Recently I was contacted by D. G. Driver, asking if I would be interested in reviewing her novel Cry of the Sea. Unfortunately, due to my current schedule I wasn't able to offer a review - but the concept of her book did sound interesting so I offered her a guest post to let her talk about it. For those who love mermaids as a concept, this book sounds right up their street - though I've been told it is NOT like The Little Mermaid.
Anyway, I'd like to hand you over to D.G. Driver now so that she can talk to you a little about her novel. Enjoy!
Real Mermaids Don’t Grow Legs By D. G. Driver
I didn’t know there was a mermaid boom going on in Young Adult fantasy when I was cleaning up my novel Cry of the Sea to get it ready for publication. I had written the original draft of this book almost a decade earlier, when the 10th anniversary of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill was all over the news. An idea popped into my head during that time: “What if mermaids washed up in an oil spill?” I put it aside that early draft for a long time. Inspiration hit me a couple years ago, and I pulled out that story and started it over again. In February, it was published by Fire and Ice. Now it is number 60 on a Goodreads list of 117 YA books about mermaids (https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/7878.YA_Mermaid_Novels#20870266).
117? And I’m sure that’s not even close to being all of them. How could there possibly be so many books about mermaids? And could they possibly be different enough to warrant reading more than a couple of them? Sorry mermaid fans, I hate to share this with you, but a lot of mermaid books are really similar to each other. That list mentioned above is ranked by number of votes from readers. Of the top 30 (that’s as far as I waded into the pool) all but four of them were about a girl who discovers that she is actually a mermaid. More than that, most of those girls wind up not being just mermaids, but princesses of underwater kingdoms. Two of the “different” books were about mermaids who turn into girls. One was a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” (a mermaid turning into a girl), but from a different point of view. And one was about scary sirens (that I think actually stay sirens the whole time) that call people to drown themselves.
If I went to that list wanting to pick a mermaid novel I hadn’t read before, I would find it ridiculously difficult to choose. I’d have to go by the reviews, love for the author, the quality of writing, because the stories are simply not that unique from each other. However, if you love that plotline, most of the books come in series and there are plenty more to read when you turn the last page of your current one.
As an author on the list with a mermaid book, how can I possibly have Cry of the Sea stand out?
Well, I’m here to tell you that Cry of the Sea stands out because it is nothing like those other books. There are no shape-shifting girls. No hidden kingdom under the sea. No sad mermaids longing to be with a prince on the shore, and no girls discovering that they are going to change into sea creatures on their sixteenth birthdays. (Question: why don’t parents ever tell their children in YA novels that they are going to magically change into something else when they turn 16? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that plot.) My mermaids don’t have magical songs. They don’t even talk.
In fact, the mermaids in Cry of the Sea aren’t even the main characters of the book. The main character is Juniper Sawfeather, a 17-year-old daughter of environmental activists, who discovers three mermaids washed up on the beach during an oil spill. These creatures are how I imagine “real” mermaids would be:
“From their facial features and upper torsos, they looked kind of like women, but all three of them had silver-colored skin. They were bald, with strange ridges marking their skulls. None of them seemed to have ears, only holes in the sides of their heads. No nose was visible, not even a bone or nostrils filled that space between their eyes and mouths. Although their mouths seemed to be moving, they were actually breathing through what looked like gills in their necks. And if that wasn’t weird enough, instead of legs, their upper torsos stretched out into long, scale-covered, silver fishtails. If I had to say what these things stranded in front of me, plagued with a thick coating of oil, appeared to be, I’d say mermaids. And no, they didn’t look like they’d start singing songs or granting me wishes. They looked a little bit scary – but fragile too. Most of all, they looked like they were going to die, and no handsome prince was there to kiss them and keep them from turning into sea foam.”
Juniper tries to save these poor creatures and winds up in the middle of a complicated struggle between her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, the popular clique at school, the media, and the oil company over the fate of the mermaids. Can she keep them from being exploited? Or killed?
I like to tell people that Cry of the Sea is more X-Files than Little Mermaid, and I hope you can see why. If you are looking for a mermaid tale that offers something different than the same old story, give this one a try.
Sample the first two chapters:
Learn more about D. G. Driver:
Buy links. Available in print or ebook:
Thanks for stopping by! Guys, please check out Cry of the Sea and support this wonderful author.
Till next time...