Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: The Mermaid

Title: The Mermaid
Author: Christina Henry
Genre: Adult | Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: e-Audio

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.
P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.
Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he's determined to hold on to his mermaid (goodreads).

The Mermaid was a beautiful story that examined human nature and the bigotry of polite society. 
Plot: I went into The Mermaid expecting something different, but I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. Christina Henry's storytelling was whimsical with a questioning tone that translated well into a tale about a mermaid trying to find her place in 19th century United States.  

I absolutely adored this story; by having a non-human character, Henry was able to observe the actions of men and truly question why some behaviors were seen as acceptable. Amelia's rightly spoke out about the injustices that she saw, and it was fascinating to watch the American characters try to justify certain actions.

Characters: Amelia was confident and had no hesitation when questioning tradition and the status quo. She had a quiet voice and I reveled in seeing the world through her eyes. I was surprised that P.T. Barnum wasn't as villainous as I had expected he would be. There weren't any "good" characters to combat the "bad" characters, just messy characters who made decisions based on what they thought was best.

Worldbuilding: The United States through Amelia's eyes was a wondrous and terrible sight. Christina Henry took her characters to quiet Maine, intrusive New York City, and the tumultuous South. Each region came to life and the people had distinct differences, especially how they received Amelia. 

Narrator Performance: If you have the option of listening to the audiobook of The Mermaid rather than reading a physical copy, I highly recommend that you jump at the chance. Cassandra Campbell breathed such life into Amelia that I couldn't imagine I would have the same reading experience if I were to read the hardcover. Cassandra's narration conveyed confusion, wonder, and frustration at all of the world's injustices. I'm on a mission to listen to as many of her audiobooks as possible now!

Short N Sweet: The Mermaid was beautiful that will make you question everything that is prominent in American culture. 


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