Sunday, June 1, 2014

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Alternating between the 1800’s and the present, Monstrous Beauty is a dark mermaid story about love and family. It is woven together with beautiful, elegant writing, the entire book holding a pleasant, calming feel. This is the kind of story that I used to dream about as a kid on our vacations to the ocean.

Though not the most exciting plot, it flows very well between the point of view of Hester, a girl trying to figure out her ancestral history, and Syrenka, a mermaid trying to live a human life, back in the 1800’s. Throughout the story, their connection is discovered, as Hester researches and Syrenka comes upon troubles in her life. There is a bit of a mystery aspect of it for Hester, but we learn things before she does through the narration.

The mermaids of this story, which is what I was drawn to, were creepy and dark. Along with the addition of ghosts and graveyards, it was perfectly eery, while still holding the air of a touristy seaside town. The characters helped accentuate the mood and feeling of the story, which was very refreshing.

Hester was a pretty good main character. She was easily relatable and likable. As a person, she is smart, driven and logical. She thinks things through, without making rash decisions, and knows what is important in her life- which is her family, and friend Peter.

Though somewhat predictable, this story was still very enjoyable. There were a few twists near the end, which spiced it up a bit. Hester’s encounter with the mermaids was unexpected and strange, but a pleasant addition to the story. A simple summer read, this was a nice books about not only mermaids, but love, history and family.

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