Book – Sea Lover
Author – J.K. Pendragon
Star rating - ★★☆☆☆
No. of Pages – 100
Cover – Nice!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – No
Genre – LGBT, Fantasy, Merman, Trans, Romance
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
This is a strange one, for me, mostly because the plot is almost exactly the same as another book I've read recently. Unfortunately, that other book was longer and the story read better, for that difference.
Sea Lover is a great concept with intriguing characters, but it fell flat for me. The emphasis on Ian being trans and S'mika being childlike was just overdone for my liking. The situation between Bobby and Mike was overly dramatic and unbelievable, while not really adding anything to the story except a secondary way for Ian to mention how much people leave him.
I was actually shocked to find that a story of 100 pages had not one single chapter heading. I like to stop to process or write notes when a new chapter crops up, but this book left no opportunity for that and the scene changes were impossible to determine, so I couldn't anticipate when I could stop for that processing moment.
The blurb made it sound like there would be a build up to Ian finding S'mika the Merman, but it actually happens in the first sentence of the story, which surprised me. I was also surprised by how long the story was, considering that not much happened after the halfway mark. Most of the end could have easily been removed and the story wouldn't have been impacted by it.
I didn't find Ian a particularly likeable character, especially one that is the sole POV. He's a little racist when he first meets S'mika (His hair and skin were both dark, too, and Ian wondered briefly if the tail was some sort of cultural attire) while being really whiney and selfish throughout. Despite what S'mika says about it, that's not always a good thing. The one thing I did like was that he never grew angry or fed up with S'mika's constant childlike behaviour and learning. I do, however, have a problem with how easily he and others accepted the whole Merman thing, while also wondering just why we never got to find out what really happened to S'mika to send him to Ian and resolve that issue for him.
Overall, there were editing issues throughout, a lack of attention to detail and characterisation that didn't allow me to properly relate to or care about the characters, and the plot was weak for a story this long. I didn't like the characters all that much or how they were represented, but the overall plot and concept was great and it had a lot of potential. It just failed to deliver.