Friday, August 17, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago

Mermaid books are always interesting to read, though they are not always as original as would be hoped. This one was a fun read, but it did suffer a bit from that lack of newness that didn’t quite make it stand out from other mermaid books I’ve read.

The story goes back and forth between the past and the present. The historical parts give the book a bit more depth, setting an ambiance that works well with the book’s genre. The small, fishing-town feel is always interesting to read about. The main problem I saw, though, was that some scenes moved too quickly. There’s one in particular, an underwater scene that happens towards the end of the book that didn’t have the pacing it needed. It felt like it never happened and it is a pretty crucial turning point in the plot, so it leaves the reader feeling rushed, yanked forward into the rest of the book.

The characters were nicely done for the most part, although Syrenka was a bit flat. We don’t see the reasoning behind her actions, and since most of these actions ripple through the different generations down to the protagonist’s time, we do miss some things that should have been explained more clearly.

It is a story that I do recommend if you like mermaid books, but if not, then you might want to read something a bit more original.  

1 comment:

The Inkies said...

I love some mermaids. But it is an overused concept, I do agree. Lovely review, though!