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Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale Paperback – March 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In Turgeon's surprisingly dark retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, two women pine for the affections of a prince: mermaid Lenia, who pulls Prince Christopher from the sea, and Margrethe, the princess of the rival kingdom, who witnesses the rescue from the convent where she hides from the war raging between their two kingdoms. Lenia, who falls instantly in love with the prince, sacrifices the sea, her voice, and her health to be with him on dry land. Meanwhile, Margrethe believes that marrying the prince would unite their kingdoms, but when she arrives to arrange it, she finds him already enraptured with Lenia. While he remains unaware that the girl he loves is also the mermaid who saved him, Margrethe recognizes her rival immediately and puts into motion a plan to send the ailing mermaid back to the sea and save her own ravaged kingdom. Turgeon has done a superb job of creating compelling characters and conflict from a story already familiar to readers. (Mar.)
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Turgeon refashions Hans Christian Andersen�s beloved classic, The Little Mermaid, into something altogether darker and more foreboding. When two women from two decidedly different worlds fall for the same prince, what else can ensue but heartache and misery? After rescuing a human from the sea, mermaid Princess Lenia falls hard for Prince Christopher, even agreeing to give up her beautiful voice and to endure the constant pain caused by her new legs in order to pursue him on dry land. Meanwhile, Princess Margrethe has also set her sights on the handsome prince in hopes of uniting their two warring kingdoms. With Lenia�s life on the line and war looming on the horizon, the prince�s choice is bound to have catastrophic consequences. More robust than a fractured fairy tale, Turgeon�s brooding retelling gives voice to both women, fleshing out an essentially tragic tale of destiny and desire. Not exactly a cozy bedtime story, but guaranteed to keep you guessing who�if anyone�will live happily ever after. --Margaret Flanagan
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Top Customer Reviews
Now for the cons:
After the first hundred pages, the story was beginning to feel rushed. The mermaid made a drastic decision to change herself without putting any thought into it. The princess acted spoiled and bratty half the time and noble and wise the other half. This bi polar disorder behavior was beginning to annoy me. I just couldn't like the girl. The mermaid was constant with her behavior, always despairingly hopeful, naive, heartbroken. I won't lie, I felt bad for her and wanted her to end up with the prince throughout the whole book. But then I realized I really didn't want any of them to end up with the prince. He was a shallow selfish @$$ hole who didn't think how his actions would hurt or ruin SPOILER the mermaid. He gets her pregnant then right after his daughter is born, doesn't mind marrying the princess and never seeing the mermaid again.
What I really hated was the last two pages of the book. I think the author had 5 min to write it or something. I hated how she made it so negative saying how everyone just SPOILER forgets the mermaid ever existed and the princess and prince raise the mermaids human daughter as their own who never becomes a hero or queen or anything and never sees her mermaid mother again or even questions her real mother because she's raised to think the princess is her mother and the princess doesn't have the audacity to tell her the truth so there can be some kind of an reunion or something. I would have loved an ending that made it so the mermaids actions of giving up everything, almost her life, to be with the prince, ended with something a little better off than never seeing her child again.
Also, there were some pretty interesting characters that were never developed such as: Sybil the sea witch, theres hints as to her past but not too many clues, Agnes the woman doctor, hints here and there but she should have really been developed more. Overall, I was waiting for these characters to be developed because there was SUCH potential there! There were by far the two most interesting characters in the book yet they maybe got a couple pages each towards their name!
Okay last point, King Erik..the princesses father, is the war hungry king who all of a sudden changes his mind and allows his daughter to marry the son of his enemy. THIS IS SO RIDICULOUS AND WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!!!!!!! I don't know what the author was thinking but it makes me SO mad that she would change character personalities and traits just to make the ending that much more predictable. I wish she would rip out the last half of the book and make a better ending thats twice as long so its well thought out and the characters actually respond how they would and the endings not so fake. I'm actually considering writing a better ending just to calm my mind.
Overall, if you love mermaids and wonder what it would be like to live as one, go to the library and read the first hundred pages of this book then put it down. Don't bother paying for it or renting it, you'll just be disappointed.
If you like mermaids but also want a good story, don't read the book.
The most basic issue is that the story has serious problems balancing science (meaning all aspects of the real world, including biology and history) with magic. And neither are used to full advantage. At times, the undersea world is made to feel very realistic, while at other times, it borrows too much from the Disney movie. Why (and how) would merpeople have their palace (which looks like a tropical ocean paradise) in Arctic waters? How would a cauldron be feasible underwater? Also, where and when is the story supposed to take place? On the one hand, the internal clues suggest that it takes place in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages (mentions of Vikings and obvious Catholicism). But on the other hand, the geography and history of the story doesn't resemble the geography and history of the real Scandinavia. We aren't given sufficient clues to be able tell if the story is actually meant to be set in an alternate universe or if the story is set in the real world, with the author conveniently ignoring reality whenever it suits her.
Other small but worrisome errors suggest the latter. For example, how can you grow anything useful in a garden during a time of year (or in a climate) that requires you to dress in furs in order to go outside? The author seems to similarly play fast and loose with time: the princess seems to spend only a few weeks in the convent after the prince leaves, but after the same period of time, the mermaid has reached her 19th birthday (it was her 18th when she rescued the prince).
All in all, I couldn't help feeling that author had just done a sloppy job. And that made me feel sad, because I wanted to like this book, for the sake of the awesome ideas that formed its framework. Too much frustration puts this book at 2 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw where this was heading as soon as there were two princesses, although the ending did surprise me a bit.Read more