Thursday, October 11, 2012
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Title: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
Monstrous Beauty on Goodreads
Monstrous Beauty on Amazon
Elizabeth Fama's Website
I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this book. Maybe some cheesy mermaid version of Twilight? Something along the lines of a more well written <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12425532-of-poseidon">Of Poseidon</a>? I don't know.
I definitely didn't expect THIS.
This book is a masterpiece. It was the epitome of hauntingly beautiful. From page one I was sucked in and I couldn't put this book down all day until I finished it, which is the best possible feeling ever when reading a book (as everyone knows).
Syrenka is a monster, but you end up feeling so much for her. By the end, by the time I really understood her, I was shattered. Though she does some truly awful and unforgivable things, her motivations make sense by the end and you can't help but feel sorry for her and root for her.
Hester is an interesting girl. Seventeen and an old soul who discovers the secrets of her past as she tries to figure out what the mystery surrounding Ezra and Syrenka. I love the way she speaks - it's so realistic and, at times, amusing. The conversation with her and the boy in the cave (the first time she meets Ezra) and between her and the boys at the village who are hitting on her were both hilarious.
My only issue with the story might be the insta-love. While I understand why it happens, it was still a bit jarring.
While the characters absolutely shine and drive this novel into complete awesomeness, the mermaid lore can't be overlooked. I LOVE Fama's mermaids. There are no Ariels in this world! The mermaids are feral and beautiful and scary and fascinating. Her descriptions were so vivid I could imagine exactly what they looked like, and I LOVE they they're not just women with fish tails.
I can't believe this is considered young adult - it's that incredible. I really think adults, even those who may not necessarily enjoy paranormal books, would still like this one. It's a character driven story with some paranormal aspects.
Elizabeth Fama has written something truly incredible with this book and I will definitely be following her work from here on out. Outstanding novel!
5 out of 5 stars.
Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: