Mermaid May! Some mermaid related books I want to read for a themed reading month. (Also some extra books for book clubs.)
'The Mermaid' has immediately gone onto my favorites list, so I can tell you right away that this book is an absolute treat.
When I grabbed my early copy of it at Emerald City Con at the weekend, I hadn't heard it was coming out, so I certainly didn't harbor any expectations for it, and to be honest, I'm not even a big fan of fairytale retellings. Plus I had to dispel any recent images of killer mermaids I still had in my head after reading 'Into the Drowning Deep’ by Mira Grant, and I thought this would be the perfect way to do that.
'The Mermaid' is a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who wasn't content enough with life in the ocean so she decided that life on land, with a man called Jack, who she feels is the love of her life, was where she needed to be. Amelia was able to come and go from the sea as she pleased, and it seemed as though her life was everything she needed it to be...until Jack grew old (and she didn't). She was then discovered by the great P.T. Barnum. The same P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus Company, who is famous for coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute."
That's where Amelia's life completely changed, and the story of the mermaid becomes loosely based off the 'Feejee Mermaid' hoax that Barnum orchestrated. Author Christina Henry obviously did a lot of research to include details about Joice Heth and Tom Thumb (reading the novel will make this all clear!); I found all of this, and all Barnum's various 'humbugs' to be absolutely fascinating (and shocking).
Through the eyes of Amelia, who is essentially a stranger, 'an alien' to this foreign modern world that is New York circa 1840, she questions all sorts of things: why wear all the silly trappings of clothes, why are women not afforded the same rights as men, why are animals treated so poorly, why are people who are not white or Christian 'savages', and so on. And she dares to question her new 'employer' Barnum*, who basically is raking in the dough with her mermaid exhibit.
*I have no idea what to make of P.T.Barnum as a person or character, but Henry does say this rendition is the one that suits her story.
There is so much to love about this book: the wonderful characters who fit within the actual mold that was cast, but who now have been brought to life, the writing of Henry's that seems to flow so beautifully and seems so befitting of the time, and all the questions and ideas that spring off the pages through the character of the mermaid Amelia.
And then there's the idea of the mermaid herself, something we think we have an idea about, and here it is done again; I felt like what I was reading was subtle and ethereal, and in the way that that Amelia was trying to show her reality within the book to others, I was being made to believe it too. There are also themes of sadness, loss, and longing, new love, and acceptance, in the book, and I felt those emotions from the characters clearly. It was wonderful to read all of that and move along with the feelings like waves.
Absolutely wonderful book. I already want to own whatever special edition is made. And the Funko Pop.
I received free books from Penguin Random House in exchange for this review. Thank you!
Title: The Mermaid Trials
Author: Cameron Drake
Release Date: February 22, 2018
Katriana has been waiting for this moment her entire life.
Once a century, the Royals hold the Trials. Every Mer of a certain age must participate. The contests are brutal. Survival is not guaranteed, but for the victors, the prize is unimaginable.
They are allowed to walk on land.
She is forced to work for her evil stepmother while ignoring the taunts of her spoiled half-sister. She’s desperate to escape. So desperate, she begins the Trials without armor or even a helmet.
Not one to give up, Katriana gives the Trials all she is worth, even catching the eye of a mysterious benefactor who is more than he seems.
How much will she sacrifice to become one of the elite? And if she wins, will she be able to halt mankind’s destruction of the sea?
The Mermaid Trials is a new series from author Cameron Drake.
I exhaled, closing my eyes before I was surrounded by cheering Mers. I struggled to be free of them. I had to help Starla and Dane. If they were killed by the octopus or the falling rocks—or even the net—I would never be able to forgive myself.
“Let me go! I have to go back!”
Strong arms closed over my shoulders as I fought my way back to the finish line. I thrashed until I heard the familiar voice shouting my name.
“Stop fighting me, Tri!”
I turned and saw him, his handsome face obscured by his helmet.
“Tri! Tri! You can’t go back!” He shook me slightly. “It’s over. We’re here.”
“Only the first hundred made it through to the obstacles. The rest of us were told to return to camp. They didn’t disqualify anyone. Only the first hundred are in the running to be Messengers.”
“I’m not sure. I think the race was to weed out the fastest and most wily. And you won.”
I had won. It wasn’t a dream or a wish. It was real. It was just sinking in. I had won and my friends were safe.
The crowd cheered as another Mer crossed the finish line. It was someone I hadn’t seen before. Dane led me away, through and then finally out of the crowd. I saw Starla waiting for us on the tiered seating that flanked the finish line. Most of the crowd had rushed forward when I crossed the finish line, so it was empty at the very back.
She waved as we swam closer.
“How did you get here so fast?”
Dane laughed, his white teeth gleaming in the sun. He guided me to sit on the bleachers with Starla.
“The race was a large circle. We just cut across the middle.”
“So you guys are all right?”
He nodded, and Starla gave me a thumbs-up. I exhaled sharply. They were okay. They were . . .
“Hey, you are bleeding.”
I looked down numbly. I was bleeding. Not a little bit either. I put my hand to my head, feeling woozy. I heard Dane curse as I slumped to the side, nearly falling off my seat. He caught me.
His worried face was the last thing I saw.
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Cameron Drake is an emerging author of fantasy fiction. Vampire Princess is Cameron’s first book, now available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. Look for the third Vampire Princess book coming soon, along with the third book in the Dreamshifters series, a collaboration with young adult fiction author Kara Sevda! Also keep an eye out for the second book in the exciting new Mermaid Trials series! !
Kate is a mermaid and is the last. She buried her (mermaid) family decades ago. She lives as a human, collecting beach glass to sell, and hasn't been in the water for a 100 years. Cooper was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He opted to move back to his childhood home. He notices Kate on the beach. This was nice, short and sweet. The epilogue was important, otherwise I would have thought this had a completely different ending. A little more explanation would have been nice, but considering the length, didn't happen.