Caroline's Reviews > Mermaid

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
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Jun 27, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: mermaids, fantasy, fantasy-romance, fairy-tales, three-star, retellings
Recommended for: Fans of mermaids and fairy tales

Turgeon's interpretation of the original Little Mermaid is an entertaining, interesting read. At its best, it is intriguing and original, in that it delves not only into the perspective of the mermaid, but her rival, the princess. However, as entertaining as the book can be, and at times, even a little touching, it falls short of being really good with typical pitfalls.

Again, the exploration of Margrethe's--the princess whom the mermaid's beloved prince is supposed to wed--perspective is original and at times lovely. Margrethe begins with promise. She's sensible and interested in the mermaid--one could argue that her relationship with Lenia, the mermaid, is far more important than either of their love stories with Prince Christopher. However, Margrethe's instant love for Christopher and complete acceptance of his shortcomings annoyed me. On the one hand, I suppose that a princess would almost expect her betrothed to do what he did. On the other, I found the fact that she wasn't even that irritated, merely sad, frustrating. Her forgiveness of Lenia, I could understand. But Cristopher? He deserved a bit less fawning and a bit more consternation.

Of course, Christopher's character is somewhat problematic. He really annoyed me. I didn't see the girls' love for him, as he basically did nothing but have sex. He wasn't supposed to be a fleshed out character, I saw that. Lenia and Margrethe were rightfully more important. But... He could at least be more tolerable, and not falling in love with every other woman who worshipped him. The fact that he found Lenia's muteness a turn-on was actually kind of disgusting. Whoever ends up with him, the reader figures, doesn't really get a happy ending. But Turgeon doesn't seem to realize that.

Lenia, I forgave a bit more for her naivete. She's a mermaid. However, the innocent mermaid deal does become a bit tiresome. I actually found the novel's sensual aspects refreshingly out of the norm for the genre, and one of its strong points. The scenes weren't romance novel explicit, either, and thus did not disrupt the flow of the text, which I found charming and suitably fairy-tale like.

Again, Lenia and Margrethe's relationship was a strong point. Their lack of rivalry was a nice change of pace, though the over-used of the word "shimmery" whenever Margrethe thought of/saw the mermaid got a little boring. Still, I really enjoyed the re-tooling Turgeon gave to that part of the story. Really, their few scenes together were the most touching of the entire book.

It's worth reading if you're a fairy tale/mermaid lover, though the characters will get on your nerves. A sexed up, flawed, and nevetheless somewhat-fascinating take.
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