Woohoo, my first rambling from the new house! With the triple digit heat I thought I would ramble about a summer book. The book is The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble. I got it as an e-book a while ago and totally forgot I had it until my fire station book group were all going through our e-books to see what we wanted to swap. This book checked off my love of fantasy, mermaids, adventure and family. As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
World Building - The world is a mix of medieval Europe with a bit of magic and fantasy thrown in. The world itself if fairly generic but provides a good setting for the story. The best part of the world building is Dr. Phipps show which is in turns interesting and horrific. Not a whole lot to say about the world other then it was a pretty solid canvas in which to tell the story.
Story - The story was very well done. I felt it was original, detailed and all flowed together in a layered complexity that gave the story depth without confusing the reader. I like all the elements that came together in the story, mermaids, adventure, family, love, hate, anger, sadness, heroism, everything that makes a good rollicking tale to tell. I also like that while it had all the elements of a typical fantasyish book, the story felt wholly original and fresh without straying to far from a comfort read territory...not sure if any of that made any sense...but...yep
Character - The characters in this book I felt were very strong. While they were mostly written to fit the tropes (dutiful sister/daughter, brazen young woman, heroic boy, enigmatic yet motherly hedgewitch, etc) each character seemed to have personality quirks and sparks that made them come alive past the cut and paste basics. It is nice to see a writer who can nod to the classics when it comes to characters and yet still make them individual and vibrant. With the new trend in subverting all known tropes, it is refreshing to see a classic worked in such a well written matter.
Editing - The editing was good. The story was just the right length. The book was readable and followed through with all of its promises. The voices were clear and consistent. Editing was good, with nothing about it that took me out of the story.
Mermaids - I love mermaids, after dragons they are my favorite supposed mythical creature so I enjoy reading any decently written story that involves them. For the most part I very much enjoyed how the author dealt with the mermaid aspect of this story. Pretty much Maren was the only mermaid we really dealt with so we did not get...or need to know the whole history of this worlds mermaids. I liked watching this feisty girls transformation from a passionate young woman to a happy and free mermaid. The description of her transformation was interesting and pretty and her love of the sea from the very beginning was very clear. The only thing I wanted to know was why Maren was human at all in the first place. Is it something that all mermaids start as humans then transform? Was there special circumstances in Maren's case? How did Auntie know that she was always going to turn? Other then that I loved all the mermaid parts.
Traveling Peddlers/Shows - I have always liked the idea of traveling shows and peddlers. The idea of people traveling all over the place, collecting stories, artifacts, acts and people. I like that these
Family - I think my favorite thing about this book is the concept of family. Not a single one of our good guys is related by blood and yet they all consider themselves family. They love each other as sisters, as mother and daughters, as father and son, as uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews all sorts of familial ties. This really drives home the point that you do not have to be related by blood to be family. I love this sentiment, especially in this world of blended families, surrogate families and people just needing people to count on. In stark contrast we have the Phipps family, who are a family in the traditional sense and they mostly look out for themselves and terrorize each other. I like that the author is able to point out that family is family either by blood or choice and that just 'cause your family doesn't make your relationships perfect and that if you are not related by blood it does not make you any less family.
Overall the book was pretty good. Not spectacular, but still very solid. It made a great summer reading book and with the acknowledgement of a few raised eyebrow moments in the traveling show I would recommend it to anybody over the age of 12 who wants a good original story to sit down and read. I give it 7 out of 10 pearl tears and am very glad I found it on my phone just in time for summer. Happy Reading Everybody!