Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth FamaTitle: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Published: September 4th, 2012
Pages: 304
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Netgalley

What can I say about this book without giving the entire plot line away? Not much really. Except that there are mermaids. I’m not talking about the typical red-haired Ariel type Little Mermaid ones either. No. I’m talking about the mermaids from all those stories that no one wants to tell children before they head off to bed. The ones that tell of the true nature of mermaids.

I absolutely loved the way this book was written. It was told in two point of views. One in the past and one in the present. This book is not your typical YA paranormal book. It’s a little bit darker than others in the genre, in my opinion. There are some gruesome parts (that I loved!) and some tearful parts (yes, I cried).

I admit that it did take me a little bit to get into the book and it did drag at some points. It started off slightly slow for me, but I stuck with it and I’m telling you to do the same. You will be happy you did.

This was the first mermaid book that I’ve read and I’ve heard there are some horrible ones out there. So if you’re looking for a mermaid book that sticks with the true legends of the mythical creatures, I suggest you give this one a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

How hard was it for me to come to this rating? Hard, I tell you. Hard. I completely loved this book, but it also completely devastated me. It was beautiful and dark, eerie and lush.

The writing was basically flawless for me. I could tell that the author really did some research on the topics that she was writing about. I could see what I was reading. I was transported to each setting and each time-frame.

You see, for me, Mermaids have always been known as evil sea creatures. They have. I grew up on an island and the things I heard growing up basically made me afraid and raised the hair on the back of my neck while piquing my interest, if that makes any sense. I mean, it’s this scary, unknown, mythical thing, but it’s also exciting.

Luckily for me, I’m a girl. And Mermaids mainly aim their beauty at men. So yeah, I wasn’t too worried. Much.

So whilst I deviated from my actual review there to ramble on for a bit, just know that it was all for a very good reason. I’m trying to paint a picture here for you – the reader – with my less than stellar review of this book.

I’ve had months to think over this review and basically all I could come up with is: This book exceeded all of my expectations. I expected what I expected, but damn, this author really killed it. This is so not your typical Fantasy YA romance story. Trust me when I say this. This was… beyond. I would have given it 5 stars, however, there was probably only one inconsistency for me which made it lose points, but oh man, you will not regret reading this. Mermaids, I tell ya. Evil Mermaids.

*cue scary music*

This story is told from different points of view and it goes back and forth from the present to the past about one hundred and forty years or so where we get the very beginning of Syrenka, the mermaid’s tale. We learn how unfortunate she is, how hard it is for her to find love and then so easily lose it. it’s a hard knock life for beautiful Syrenka.

She’s different from her mermaid sistren, she’s actually good – unless you get her angry then, well, she’ll rip you to shreds and eat your insides. Yep, no joke.

The story mainly focuses on Syrenka finding and falling in love with Ezra in the late 1800’s. Their love was not an easy one. People in the town thought Ezra was a little flighty, even though he was super intelligent, so they never questioned why he would go down to the shore and take notes in his journal. He was only warned of the creatures that lurked below the surface, other than what he was investigating.

Then it cuts to present day and Hester. Well, Hester doesn’t have it easy either, and it has nothing to do with love and boys, really. Well, it kind of does because basically the women in her line are cursed. Doomed! Doomed! It was rather sad actually, but I found it refreshing that Hester wasn’t all boy-crazy. She was smart and had a plan for her life. A plan that didn’t include a family of her own when she becomes an adult. Although I would have to say that her nerd-y guy friend was super attractive to me, but my heart? Well, it belonged to Ezra.

Sweet, love-sick, Ezra.

I have to admit that I figured out early on what would happen, but that didn’t spoil it for me. I just kept reading because I needed to see it play out for myself. I also realized about less than halfway through that this was soooo not gonna be your typical happily ever after, either. This story cut to the bone, it was just that good. I was left feeling bereft and melancholic after reading it. I felt for these characters and ached when they did.

So if you’re looking for a original take on mermaids in the mature YA genre, then this is for you. It has restless ghosts, a seriously scary – and evil – mermaid queen, a haunted church and graveyard, a boy who gave his heart for the one he loved, and a girl trying to break a curse and save the women in her family line while finding love, and so much angst that you wanna throw the book against the wall and cry your eyes out, then you need to pick this book up come September. It’s a must read for 2012.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
This entry was posted in 4 Stars, 4.5 Stars, Book Review, Heather's Reviews, Lisa's Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.