Pete Tarsi's Reviews > Immerse

Immerse by Tobie Easton
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it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, mermaids, favorites
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Author Tobie Easton emerged on the YA mermaid scene with her debut Emerge, an engaging tale (tail?) about mermaids living among humans because the famed Little Mermaid—yeah, that one—caused a curse, taking away their immortality. Main character and narrator Lia Nautilus is a direct descendent of that mermaid, and her adventure was both fun fantasy and teen story. And like any good YA novel, she makes mistakes and break the rules along the way both to be with her crush—a human boy named Clay—and to help protect the Mer community.

With the sequel, Submerge, Easton dove deeper into the characters and their world. I wrote in my review that Lia as a character had grown and was dealing with holding herself accountable for some wrong-but-for-the-right-reasons decisions she had made. I thoroughly enjoyed the added depth and felt that this second part was stronger than the wonderful first part.

Now her Mer Chronicles has a third part, Immerse, and due to a hectic work schedule for me, I wasn’t able to read it as soon as it was released, which was my original plan. It took me a while to start, and like many final parts of trilogies, I won’t deny that I entered with some trepidation. I’ve been burned by third parts before—I won’t name any other trilogies here—but they usually follow this pattern: First book strong, with a story that could stand alone. Second book better, with a mind-blowing cliffhanger. Third book not as strong, often with a disappointing ending.

I’m overjoyed to proclaim that Easton’s Mer Chronicles is NOT that kind of trilogy, because Immerse is undoubtedly the best book in the series for several reasons.

Note: no spoilers for Immerse, but to continue, I must mention some plot points from Emerge and Submerge.

After Lia and Clay’s love broke the curse in Emerge, the Mers got their immortality back. Their reward to Clay was wiping his memory of the existence of mermaids. Lia fixes that in Submerge, but their relationship hits a dilemma. Since she’s immortal and he will age, the only solution is to make him Mer. That’s the springboard point for Immerse.

When I opened to Chapter 1, I saw the subtitle “Lia” to indicate that it would be told from her point of view. Immediately, I assumed that there’d also be chapters from Clay’s point of view—with him being on land and her in the water, both trying to find a way to make him Mer. She could research Mer magic (which she does), and he could research folklore in human libraries and the internet (which he does), but he’s not the second point of view.

Imagine my shock and surprise when I got to Chapter 2 and learned that the alternating narrator was Melusine, one of the antagonists from Emerge, who sirened Clay to put her nefarious father’s plan to be the savior of Merkind into motion. This is such a bold, gutsy choice, and Easton utterly and completely made it work wonders for the story.

Hearing events from Melusine’s point of view inserts such vibrancy into the story, preventing the third part from being one of those disappointing series-enders I referenced earlier. Honestly, she’s my favorite character in this book because of her complexity. She’s at times nasty and at other times sympathetic, but she’s always such an intriguing perspective. The chapters alternate between her and Lia, and Easton uses this device in fun and interesting ways. Their narrations sometimes swim in parallel, as in consecutive chapters when they are both discussing their prior transgressions with other while maturely holding themselves accountable, and sometimes crash into each other, as in one chapter ending with an encounter between them and the next chapter continuing it and flipping the scales. I’ve read books with multiple narrators before to know when it does and doesn’t work, and here, it’s brilliantly and near flawlessly executed.

One of my other favorite parts of the book—well, the whole series—is how it utilizes events from the original Little Mermaid fairytale in unique and surprising ways. The first book dealt with the consequences from those events, but after that in the next book, Melusine magically gets her voice taken away just like the original mermaid, and here, it’s all about events at the ending of the original story. Not only that, but the clever use of details from the previous two books to accomplish tasks in this one shows how well-thought-out and planned this series is.

Tobie Easton’s Mer Chronicles is an immersive series, with an extensive world and engaging characters who not only face darker dangers but also mature as the series progresses, with this final book being a fitting culmination of excellent stories. As a series, it feels complete, but since it’s referred to as “Chronicles” instead of a trilogy, I wonder—and desperately hope—that there are more stories to tell in this world.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 26, 2018 – Shelved (Kindle Edition)
October 26, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read (Kindle Edition)
June 9, 2019 – Started Reading (Kindle Edition)
July 4, 2019 – Finished Reading (Kindle Edition)
July 13, 2019 – Shelved
July 13, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 13, 2019 – Shelved as: mermaids
July 13, 2019 – Shelved as: favorites

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