Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
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.
Cover Impressions: I'm really sad about the cover change. Even though I didn't think the original cover was that good, I certainly thought it was better than this one. I just...really don't like this one. At all.
Thoughts: Part of my Mermaid Marathon, round two.
The year is 1872, and Syrenka, a mermaid, falls in love with the gorgeous Ezra, and makes the deadly decision to become mortal and live a life with him. Flash forward to almost 140 years later, Hester Goodwin meets a stranger with the same name, who seems to be living in a cave at the beach. In Hester's family, love has always lead to death. After the women in her family give birth to a child, they always mysteriously die the same day. With Ezra's help, Hester discovers more and more about her family's cursed history and her connection to Syrenka. But she'll have to get past the powerful forces─both on land and under the sea─that are standing in her way.
The chapters in this book alternate from the past and the present. It's told from multiple points of views but mainly Hester, Syrenka and Ezra. Both the past and present chapters always kept me engaged. Although the present chapters didn't have much action until closer to the end, I still loved discovering more of the history of Hester's family, and the fact that there are also the chapters that take place in the past really help. I liked finding out that everything was connected in some way.
There wasn't nearly enough mermaids in this book, though. Not enough for me, at least. In fact, there are also a lot of ghosts and spirits in this book. Some of the characters from the past chapters become spirits in the present chapters. We don't really find out that much about the mermaid world until near the end.
Then we have the romance, which is the reason that I had to take away a star from the rating. Syrenka and Ezra's romance wasn't technically insta-love, I guess, since it took quite a while for them to really truly be together.
Hester and Ezra's romance, however, really bugged me. Right off the bat, when Hester first meets him, it's lust at first sight. She didn't even find it weird at all that this guy lived in a cave and was wearing 19th century clothing. And then all of a sudden they start kissing and saying they love each other and I'm just rolling my eyes. But luckily the romance didn't annoy me enough to lose interest in reading.
Was I happy with the ending? Sure. Were all my questions answered? I guess. Do I think the ending gave the possibility of a sequel? Nah, I don't think so. It was a decent ending for a standalone, and I really would have no idea where the story would go if there was ever a sequel planned.
Overall this was a very enjoyable book. I liked the characters, the supernatural aspect (even though I wish there were more mermaids rather than ghosts), and how everything in the story was intertwined. Although I do have to take away a star due to the unfortunate insta-love.
Still, I would definitely recommend this to you if you're looking for a great mermaid read. It wouldn't be my first recommendation, but it would be one of them if you're looking for several.