Monday, March 21, 2016

Shadow in the Sea - Sheila A. Nielson

SummaryWhen sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade's quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals' dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood's ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn't fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago. (Summary and pic from

My Review: Well. I really wanted to like this book. A lot. I had such high hopes, you see, because I really enjoyed the first one, Forbidden Sea. I, like you, I’m sure, have read and heard about a ton of paranormal romance novels featuring all kinds of mythical creatures—vampires, werewolves, ghosts, elves, fairies, etc., and a whole plethora of made up creatures as well. No stone has been left unturned when it comes to mythical creatures and their goings-on in YA fic. Some of these books have been decent, others have been lamelamelamelamelame. You know what I’m talking about.

When I read Forbidden Sea, I hadn’t read a mermaid book yet. There are since some other ones I’ve seen (but not read), but this was the maiden voyage (see what I did there?). It was interesting, I really liked the folkloric aspect of it, and I appreciated the nods to the many diverse cultures that have mermaids or mer-creatures and their fun stories that come with it. That was cool.

Now we come to Shadow in the Sea. First of all, I hate the cover. It’s stupid. I can’t decide if that Kristen Stewart lookalike is supposed to be in the ocean or just drowning in her own sorrows in a bathtub. I’m thinking the latter. But we don’t judge a book by its cover now, do we? [I do.] But I was willing to give it a chance. The story itself was okay, and it had some compelling bits in it, but really, it was just a lot of hyped-up teenage drama and angst with the main character being all “It’s all my fault and no one should love me and they’re all blaming me and I can never live up to that mythical creature’s beauty and he’s my destiiiinnnnnyyyy and there’s so much greatness in His world I reaaaallllllyyyyy want to be a part of but I would rather just give up and drown in a bathtub so now I’m just going to go sacrifice myself and endanger everybody else at the same time cause I’m young and probably just stupid.”

I think I could stop there. That would probably sum it up.

But I’ll go on.

It is entirely possible that I am just super curmudgeonly and not really into paranormal romance as someone, say, half my age. But that’s just it—I’ve read a lot of paranormal romance and some of it I might even admit to enjoying.(Look, I admitted to liking the first book.) But this seemed really, really cheesy. And the drama was just way over the top, and not in a fun way. It was in a whiny way in which you start thinking the main character really does deserve all the badness that she’s claiming for herself. It surprised me that Nielson’s writing went downhill as compared to the first one. I thought I could rely on her to not get all over-the-top and teenage angsty on me, but I guess not. Also, the names in the book were so stupid it was killing me every time I read a new one. The mer-people names were especially lame.

This book’s destiiiiinnnnnnyyyyy is two and a half stars.

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean, although there is some mild violence. 


Unknown said...

Yeah, I blanched at the cover too, because it's really not doing the novel any favors. Anyway, I'm really sad that this book turned out like a lot YA Urban Fantasy books. The whole, "I'm not good enough or beautiful enough and I'm low-y" human thing has gotten old really quick. *sigh*

Sally T. said...

Snicker. Best review, and most honest, I've read in a long time!


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