I gave this standalone (dark) little mermaid story a 4/5 stars. There’s no HEA with fireworks folks. This is the third book in a row I’ve read where a man has forced himself on the woman. I’m so tired of it. Either women have still drastically silenced themselves about how frequently we’ve all been harassed/abused/manipulated or assaulted in real life OR the majority of female authors have a tendency to write about how terrible men are. It just sucks. It’s in sooooo many novels. The frequency ratio of how this represents real life just makes me so sad for our species. Come on, men. Just be better.
Here’s my live thoughts while reading:
I’m reading this because a beta reader for one of my works in progress mentioned it as a possible comp. So far the 15 year old mermaid wants to go to the surface to see the other world. It’s almost a word for word replica of the Little Mermaid. My story is a gender reversal where Eribelle is a human wanting to leave her island for another to chase her dreams of becoming an artist. Axton is the merman who lives under the sea with the dirt to protect his queen. There’s definitely a lot of similarities though, such as the mother that left when the heroine was an infant, the father parading his daughters around for their beauty, and the main character forced into an arranged marriage.
I’m curious whether Gaia’s interest in going to the surface will be to find her mother or just to simply see what lies beyond her world.
Are the Rusalkas and Salkas like sirens?
So one thing I’m glad I changed in my storyline is that the heroine doesn’t fall for the first different guy she’s exposed to. And she has has relationship experience in the past.
Anyways, I’m not liking that she and Olivier are age 15 & 21.
Their father is skin-crawling terrible. Such an egotistical asshole who is so insecure that he needs praises to feel powerful and threaten all the females around him.
Well. Zale is a disgusting pig. Even worse than her father. Though I do find antagonists more enjoyable when they have some positive quirks in there too so they seem more humans and relatable.
In chapter 7 I don’t want her resigned to her fate. I want her fighting against these demands put on her and looking for an escape route.
Her grandmother is slightly contradictory in her advice but I wish she was more of a positive role models for women’s rights despite having to stay quiet. She’s reenforcing all the toxic messages to her granddaughters.
At the halfway mark, it’s a bit depressing. Like I’m not sure if one positive encounter has happened to this poor girl. At chapter 15 it’s getting a bit monotonous. Things go from bad to dreary to worse. There’s no relief. Nothing gets better. There’s no funny characters or banter. All the personalities are heavy and weighed down in some way. This is a sad world.
So her speech in the last chapter is finally giving me a reason to have stuck out through so much gloom, but it took so long to get there. And I don’t like her last choice/action shown because it’s like: sure, let’s add on even more self sacrifice to “fix things.”
Overall I feel like she learned the lesson so late in the story that it doesn’t give the reader any joy. And it’s so close to the original Little Mermaid (not Disney) that it’s almost like- what’s the point of writing this story if it didn’t defer at all?
I wish there were more scenes with George because yes apparently all men are the devil, but also, not all men are the devil. So… idk this book just left me feeling deflated and hopeless. I wanna point out that in my gender reversal little mermaid retelling, the heroine doesn’t give up her voice. The merman gives up his sight and he needs to truly “see” and understand the heroine in order to gain his sight back.