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How to be a Mermaid (The Cotton Candy Quintet Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 214 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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***** 5 of 5 stars *****
FTC guidelines require me to disclose that I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an unbiased review. All review comments are honest and my own.
Tara Porter has deferred college for a year to work as an aquarium/water-park mermaid performer, complete with a form-fitting swimmable silicone tail. She and her troupe—employed by the gruff but gentle ex-commercial-fisherman “Neptune”—are touring various aquariums, and the story begins during their stop in Houston. She’s doing a meet-and-greet with aquarium visitors, mostly young kids asking the cute kind of questions young kids ask, and then she and her troupe perform with some dolphins.
All her life, Tara wanted to be a mermaid. Her father, who has sadly passed away, encouraged such flights of fancy. Her mother, not so much; she’s not thrilled by Tara’s decisions to study marine biology and not to start doing so until after a full year off. So Tara gets to act out her dream in the mermaid show until an accident renders her unconscious in the ocean where she meets a pair of real mermaids! One is the hunky merman Finn (insta-attraction doesn’t bother me as much as other readers); the other is the eccentric but kind sea-witch Nereia, who does something magical.
Tara is gradually turning into a mermaid.
This was the part of the story I enjoyed the most. The transformation was drawn out over a few chapters, and that was nicely done as it built stakes in the plot. After her aquarium performance the next day, she discovers she has developed gills. This poses problems for her staying on land, as they’d surely be noticed unless she wore turtleneck sweaters, which would make performing underwater a challenge. Since the troupe is leaving Houston in a few days, the only way to reverse the change is to venture back underwater to find the sea-witch. But before long, Tara’s growing scales and her legs want to zip together into one mermaid tail. Loved these parts of the book.
The rest of the story is fun and quick to read, though mostly predictable. With the notable exception of a snapper fish named Ponce, few of the supporting characters stand out. Tara becomes involved in a plan to save a royal dolphin from the aquarium to prevent a war, but I didn’t feel the same urgency with this part of the story as I did when Tara first started changing into a mermaid.
Tara as a narrator is mostly interesting. She tells the reader a lot, but is enthusiastic about it. Though she ultimately makes very noble choices, she doesn’t always come across as mature. That’s not really a problem since her character is eighteen and seems to have lived a relatively sheltered life, but it makes classifying this book difficult. I don’t think it’s YA even though older teens could definitely read it as there’s nothing steamy beyond some kissing, but I’m not sure if that’s enough for a New Adult (NA) novel since I don’t read enough in that genre.
But still, it’s short and light and frothy, and perfect for a quick beach read. Author Erin Hayes has this book both a part of the Falling in Deep collection and her own Cotton Candy Quintet, which connects some of these characters to witches, fairies, and other magical beings. That could be interesting, especially since they seem about the same length. Until then, How to Be a Mermaid is in clear water at THREE AND A HALF STARS.
I absolutely love the concept of professional mermaids. I could never do it, personally. Having my legs squeezed into that fin and breathing through a hose doesn't sound even remotely appealing. That just makes the whole story just that much more incredible! It's a whole world I know very little about, and I was excited to learn more. I hope to see some mermaids in person one day!
If you were a fan of The Little Mermaid growing up (or hey, if you're still a fan... no judging) then this will be a nice reminder for you. There are quite a few similarities between the book and Disney movie, and also some really unique differences. The sea witch isn't quite so evil as Ursula, and I have a feeling that she has a very interesting back story, which I would love to hear. There will be a spin off novella with the upcoming Witching Hour Collection. I'm really curious to see if that story will touch back with these characters.
I really like the author's style and I loved most aspects of the book, but the under sea parts were a little far-fetched (even for a story about mermaids.) It depicts a world where all sea creatures live and work together, more or less, and pretty much ignores the food chain, except to make a joke here and there.
It's a fairly quick and short book and, although a bit fanciful, it was a good read. The characters were all really well developed and interacted believably. They were really brought to life.
What a lovely story! Each character is as realistic as may be, and as an animal activist (not PETA), I was very happy with the writer's treatment of the issue of aquariums for profit. The publisher's blurb gives an extensive recap of the plot, and there is no need for spoilers here. Relax and enjoy the read!
Claire White is remarkable as the narrator!
I got the Whispersync on the cheap.