Friday, May 25, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty

Good Reads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

My Rating:
Read the blurb before even attempting at this. It took me two tries to get a sense of things before folding on my personal commitment not to go into a book with its synopsis in mind (because let’s face it, sometimes there are inaccurate summaries out there.) Why my need for some background? The shifts from one point to another point were abrupt; there was no sense of continuity so that with each shift, I scrambled to remember to which a particular thing something else was connected.

And shifts between whom exactly? Hester was one and Syrenka was the other. Hester is everyday girl, directed, smart, and independent. Her story starts typically enough too: being sort of secretly in love with her BFF. Except that she’d got into her head that she shouldn’t feel that way; and not just about Peter but about anyone because there's this curse.

It’s that aspect that’s tackled later in the book that made this story more part mystery, part ghost story instead of just another scary mermaid tale. There’s a lot to take in, but it was Syrenka’s part of the story that touched on everything scary mermaids are said to be: beautiful, seductive…deadly. I still do wish we had more to go on. But it’s her part of the story that made the story a little scarier~ not because of what she was, (well, a little because of that,) but because of what happens to her, more specifically, what's done to her. Scary mermaid though they claim her to be, it’s not really she who acts monstrously (at least not all the time.)

I have a couple of issues with this book. As previously pointed out, there are the  abrupt shifts that had me confused. The second of course is how certain characters played up at first disappear along the way (I hate pointless characters.) Third would be how different Hester came to be because of him. If at first she’s independent and goes her own way, she’s not so much that person anymore where he is concerned. I sometimes even took issue with the odd flow of language from a couple of them. But in the end I did enjoy this mash up ghost story, mermaid tale and mystery: it’s got good parts- scary mermaids and scarier people. It’s got OK parts: a heroine that’s strong with a mind of her own, but it’s also got some not so stellar moments (see above.)


Thanks Netgalley!

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