C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Surface Breaks

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill
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bookshelves: retelling, read-2018, magical-fantasy, young-adult

Wow so in other news this book would like to say hello, and then follow up with "men are trash" and like, where is the lie? Also the second thing that is very important to note is: THAT COVER. This was 50% a cover buy and 50% I liked Only Ever Yours by this author. That was a really difficult read, and this one isn't quite so brutal: but it's seriously a call out to our patriarchal society and how it treats women and it gets VERY disgustingly sexist. I found that hard to read.

Like I can't sit here and say "yeah I enjoyed this book" because it's not enjoyable. But it's important.

Except for the last chapter. LET ME JUST SAY: 50000000% ENJOYABLE. I AM LIVING, I HAVE GROWN TALLER, MY SKIN CLEARED, MY EYES GLOW IN THE MOONLIGHT, I AM EMPOWERED.

So this is a Little Mermaid retelling but it's 97% the original version, just fleshed out. I do prefer retellings that tug at boundaries and take new twists. To Kill a Kingdom for example! LOVED how it reinvented the Little Mermaid but spun its own tale. (Or should I say TAIL. Lol lol just kidding pls someone show me out.) This one is more predictable and for that I did chaff because Gaia was frustrating to read. Like???? She went from one abusive male situation right into another. Although I get it. That's common. Sad and heartbreaking, but common.

Also all the merman were horrible and abusive and disgusting. Gaia's sexually abused by her suitor (she's 15 and he's in his 60s). Her sisters are all raised to be pitted and nasty to each other. All anyone cares about is how beautiful they are, that's their SOLE purpose. And if you were expecting something different from the humans? Lmao. No. I just...can't even.

But we stan the sea witch, our feminist icon. Love her so much omg.

And as much as I absolutely agree with the messages, sometimes it felt this isn't a story, just the message. If that makes sense. The characters/plot didn't have the chance to be dimensional because it was a vehicle to tell this story about the abuse women face in everyday life.

So this is beautiful and also terrible and really points to the rubbish women put up with. It's more like the Aesop Fable at times. Everyone has fins and pretty hair and there's magic...but you know we're not talking about mermaids. Also it is very dark but not graphic. But it doesn't shy from telling you how these girls get treated throughout the book.

BUT THE FINALE? BADASS.

I'm beginning to wonder that if, when we call a woman crazy, we should take a look at the man by her side, and guess at what he has done to drive her to insanity.


"I live in the dark because I can be true there, and living true is the most important thing any woman can do."


And what is wrong what being unruly? What's wrong with being different?
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Reading Progress

February 15, 2018 – Shelved
February 15, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 16, 2018 – Started Reading
September 16, 2018 –
page 130
42.07% "I appreciate that this is just a call out of sexism but I'm t i r e d

her father just said he would've married her if she wasn't his daughter

this will only be ok if all the merman DIE HORRIBLE DEATHS BY THIS POINT UGH THERE HASN'T BEEN A SINGLE GOOD ONE"
September 16, 2018 – Shelved as: retelling
September 16, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
September 16, 2018 – Shelved as: magical-fantasy
September 16, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 16, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Bee (new)

Bee Okay so the cover is gorgeous but I don't think I could handle a book so negative. 😩


Sigourney 'But we stan the sea witch, our feminist icon.' YES YES YES.


message 3: by Aphelia (new) - added it

Aphelia Beautiful cover, but I totally understand what you mean about the message. I felt much the same about Children of Blood and Bone - it's an important book, but not necessarily an entertaining one or one that is easy to read. The parts don't always work, but the overall message is more important than the characters or really the story. It's so hard to know how to rate in these situations!


message 4: by Celise (new)

Celise I haven't read this book yet, but I appreciate your review. It's given me something to mull over. I think I'm going to read this but I'll definitely need to be in a different state of mind than I thought, in order to get through it.


Sarah Smith I agree with every point you made :) Just finished this.


message 6: by Milly (new)

Milly Judge Ok so why is this cover much better than the version I just bought? So much regret...😪


message 7: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz Are those quotes at the end from the book?


message 8: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Liz wrote: "Are those quotes at the end from the book?"

Yep!


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