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I loved Christina Henry’s Alice duology and then enjoyed her Peter Pan retelling, Lost Boy, so I was keen to read The Mermaid.
I’ve read my fair share of Mermaid retellings but never one about PT Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid hoax.
I enjoyed this generally but it lacked some of the whimsical and magical flair that the authors other books did. I had hoped to see a little of the Barnum circus setting but sadly this took place before that in his museum. The setting ended up being a little drab and dull. Barnum was money-focussed, callous (even towards his wife), and always looking for a way to trick people. Levi was kind and sweet, and his love for Amelia was touching. Amelia herself was the star of the show here, in the storyline as well as the book itself. I loved her frank personality, her fearlessness and her ability to love so deeply. Her love of Jack felt so genuine and raw, even a decade after his death.
The story was quite slow and I’ll admit there were a few parts where I got a little bored, but the writing was still fantastic as in all of Christina’s books.
Not my favourite of her books, but still an interesting new spin on a tale of old.
It was a nice book, but after reading her other work was excited to get some more of the suspenseful, dramatic and gritty stuff that you got from the likes Alice and Red Queen. If you are expecting that I can tell you you’ll be disappointed, because it just isn’t there at all.
Like I said it’s ‘nice’ and if you persevere it does pick up momentum towards the end.
Just a bit like buttered toast, no marmite found here.
This was a quaint retelling of an old legend, but was let down by the characterisation and the ending.
The characters felt shallow and apart from the seascape, descriptions of time and place were missing. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to look up and look around, to find out where they were and what it looked like. The ending was trite and really sealed this as three stars, for me.
However, the descriptions of the mermaid in her native state were novel and vivid. I enjoyed the strong female lead and the underlying themes of exploitation and desire for freedom, which ultimately kept me reading.
If you’re a quick reader and you already enjoy the genre, then by all means buy this book. But if you have limited time or a limited budget, then I recommend you read Sealskin (Sue Bristow) which is a more mature and better executed retelling of a similar legend.
This is the third Christina Henry novel that I've read, the first two being The Chronicles of Alice. Unlike The Chronicles of Alice, The Mermaid is NOT a fairy tale retelling. It's a semi-historical novel, retelling the Fiji mermaid hoax.
I liked bits and pieces of the novel - seeing the world through the eyes of Amelia was unique and wonderful. I enjoyed Amelia, Charity, and Caroline. The women and girls in this story are strong and fleshed out (as much as they can be in 316 pages).
The writing was lovely, but the plot felt rather flat. I didn't feel as if much happened. There was a lot of redundancy in the plot, if we're honest. Barnum and his character felt. . .not evil, but not normal. He felt like a by-the-numbers-"evil"-businessman. The love interest and the love story were woefully underdeveloped. A lot of this, as others have said, felt very rushed. The story just wasn't developed enough for me.
This book is a fictional story of the Fiji Mermaid at P.T. Barnum’s museum; only instead of a monkey with a fish tail sewn on its a real mermaid. It was ok, not a terrible book but nothing amazing. The story goes how you think it will and Barnum is probably more like he was in real life than in The Greatest Showman, ( no Nice Hugh Jackman and showtunes). Not sure I would read again but I’m a sucker for mermaids so I had to give it a try.
I'm torn on how to review this book. At face value, it's well-written and entertaining....an easy read that keeps you wanting to find out how it ends (even if it is a little bit predictable). Based on that alone, I'd give this book four stars. BUT....the reason I love Christina Henry so much is because her stories are so different from anything I've ever read before. I LOVED the Alice series and Lost Boys book. LOVED THEM. She changes our childhood tales into violent retellings meant only for adults. And they are amazing! Unlike anything I've ever read before. I could read them forever. But The Mermaid is sort of .... just okay, by comparison. And in this light, I'd give the book 2-3 stars. But it doesn't seem very fair to rate a book by comparing it to the author's other books....thus my reason for being torn on this review. I was so excited as I waited for this book to be released that didn't even download the sample when it came out....just bought the book straightaway. I don't necessarily regret that -- I'd support this author anyway -- but my excitement slowly dwindled with each chapter because it wasn't the adult retelling that I'd come to expect from this author.