Friday, August 8, 2014

Forbidden Sea - Sheila A. Nielson

Summary: A mermaid haunts Adrianne's dreams . . . is she coming to warn her, save her, or drag her down into the depths of the briny sea forever?

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song. (Picture and summary from

My Review: You know how you're just reading along and thinking "Hmm…I think I may be too old for this book" and then the next thing you know, you're all "But what happened to the pretty green mermaid!?"

That was totally me.

I've read quite a few books in this new genre that rehashes fairy tales for JFic and YAFic, so I'm no newcomer. I enjoy the retelling of the stories, and sometimes I really like the fun twists. This one does not disappoint. First of all, it's got a really old school fun feel; think more along the lines of Keturah and Lord Death than, say The Lunar Chronicles. And I liked this style, actually, because it's fun to have that old-timey feel when there are mythical creatures and deep-seated lore involved. Also, having it take place on an island gave it a feel of isolation and fear from a secluded population who know that they're just sitting there, waiting to be captured by the mermaid.

The author is a children's librarian and you can totally tell that she knows her way around a good story and is a really competent writer. I've found that sometimes authors feel they have to dumb things down for kids or make the writing more basic than it needs to be. Not in this case. The author writes clearly and accessibly both for kids and adults alike.  It is clear, concise reading, and I also loved that the love story was age appropriate. I'm totally over the whole "I'm 16 and he's my destiny!" scenario that so many books, especially in YAFic, sport today.

And mermaids! How fun is that? I don't think I've read a book about mermaids yet, and we all know there have been quite a few mythical creatures marching around in book land these days.  I liked these mermaids, too. I wish I could tell you more about them, but you're just going to have to read it.  There is so much mythology and lore surrounding mermaids in many cultures, and although this book gives a nod to those, it also takes its own path to create some really cool new mermaid lore.

The story is fun—it's got all the elements of a good story. Strong characters. Plenty of opposition. Nearly impossible odds. A good ending. Really, it's something you should read if you like this kind of thing. My book club just recently read it and we all enjoyed it. It's a fast, fun read, and due to its depth and thought-provoking themes can be enjoyed by old and young alike.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is squeaky clean.

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