Friday, June 1, 2018

Backlist Mini-Reviews: Little Mermaid Retellings

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon (2011)

A retelling of the classic Little Mermaid story that stays very close to the original fairytale, Mermaid is the story of Lenia, who rescues Prince Christopher from his sinking ship.  She leaves him in the care of Princess Margrethe, who she believes to be a nun at a nearby convent.  Margrethe and Christopher's kingdoms are at war, but she believes she can heal the rift by marrying him.  However, Lenia also goes to great lengths to get back to the man she rescued and has fallen in love with.

I didn't expect that this "retelling" would be so close to the original classic fairytale; there were only a few slight changes.  However, I think those changes were enough to make it feel new.  The story had a moody and gothic feel, which I loved; this wasn't the happy, music-filled Disney story from my childhood (although I love that one, too!).  It didn't shy away from pain and sadness.

Although I didn't really care for the prince, I enjoyed the relationship between Margrethe and Lenia.  I was rooting for both of them, although I didn't know how they could both "win" - they were rivals, but there was no villain here.  Lenia was fighting for her life and salvation, and Margrethe was fighting to save the people of her kingdom.  4 stars


The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (2015)

After an accident in her native Tobago leaves her without a voice, Elyse flees to Oregon with friends.  She spends the summer falling in love with Christian and trying to recover from her accident.

I think this is going to be a case of "it's me, not you."  This book has such good reviews on Goodreads, so I was excited to read it, but unfortunately I wasn't wowed by it.  The writing got very poetic and lyrical at times, which isn't my favorite kind of writing.  The pacing felt very slow, and the book felt so long.  It didn't seem like a whole lot happened for the page count.  I couldn't really get behind Christian as a character; although we are told many times he is a player, when he meets Elyse he seems to fall for her and become devoted very quickly, so those things seemed at odds.  Elyse's accident is teased throughout the whole book, and we finally find out what happened near the very end.  I wish we had found out sooner, especially since it involved her twin sister and was the reason she left the island.  The payoff wasn't enough.

However, I did like Elyse's growth throughout the book.  Her accident caused her to become very withdrawn, but she slowly realized that even though she lost her voice, she didn't have to lose herself.  She comes out of her shell as the book goes on.  I also liked her girlfriends; they seemed very fun and supportive.  The small-town Oregon setting was so lovely and atmospheric, and it made me want to visit this little beach community.  3 stars

27 comments:

  1. Ooo I love retellings!! And I love The Little Mermaid! Adding these to my TBR right now. I like the covers, too. Really beautiful.

    Glad you enjoyed both of these overall :)

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  2. I am so here for Little Mermaid retellings! The first one looks right up my alley, so I'm definitely going to check that one out. Great reviews!

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  3. These are both on my list! I love the cover for the first one, and Sarah Ockler is amazing! Have you read Twenty Boy Summer? It's one of my favorites!

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  4. I always hear such great things about Ockler, sorry her book didn’t wow you, perhaps next time. The Little Mermaid retelling looks interesting.

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  5. First one is new to me I will have to check it out. I own the second one and agree it seems to have very good ratings on Goodreads. Sorry it wasn't great for you. Great reviews!

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  6. I've had The Summer of Chasing Mermaids on my TBR for a really long time. After reading your review, not sure I'd really like it too much. I finished To Kill a Kingdom not too long ago which is a Little Mermaid reimagining of sorts. I'd recommend that one.

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    1. I'm keeping an eye out for that one, hoping my library gets it soon!

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  7. I love the story of The Little Mermaid, whether it's the Disney version or the story by Hans Christian Andersen but I've struggled with finding actual good retellings of it. May have to check these books out!

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    1. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess, but I haven't really come across that many Little Mermaid retellings.

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  8. How different these are, even though they're a mermaid retelling!

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  9. This both sound like a lot of fun! I love retellings, but haven't read any of The Little Mermaid.

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  10. I had no idea there were so many mermaid retellings out there! I'm not sure the second one would be a good fit for me, but the first one sounds wonderful.

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    1. The first one is something I think you would like.

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  11. I am an Ockler fan and really enjoyed Mermaids. I loved all the women, who were there to support Elyse, and Christian surprised me, which is always something that endears a character to me. Sorry it didn't work for you.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely think it was me, so many other people seem to love it!

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  12. I've got a couple of Little Mermaid retelling related books on my TBR coming up, but I haven't heard of these two! Mermaid sounds like something I would really enjoy especially.
    Great minis!

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  13. Oh I'm sorry you didn't fall in love with Ockler's book, I loved it so, so much but I completely understand that not everyone can love it. I'm sorry it didn't work out well for you! :/

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!