Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty
By Elizabeth Fama
Expected publication September 4, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In the 1800s, mermaid Syrenka falls in love with handsome Ezra, a naturalist who discovers her in the waters off the shore of Massachusetts. When she chooses this love over the immortal life she knows, dangerous consequences unfold. Over a century later, Hester is determined to avoid the curse that has plagued the women of her family. But when she meets a mysterious and attractive stranger named Ezra, avoiding the curse seems more impossible than ever.

I'm just going to put it out there right off the bat: I can jibe with pretty much any paranormal supernatural business you want to throw at me but mermaids are not really my thing. I'm not sure how to explain that as The Little Mermaid was basically my favorite Disney movie and I wanted to BE Ariel when I was little (what girl didn't??) but I'm always just rolled my eyes and snickered to myself when anyone has suggested that mermaids were going to be the next big thing in YA literature. That being said, this book sounded different and interesting enough that I didn't hesitate to graciously accept the ARC handed to me by the publisher as Midwinter. I am supremely glad for that. This is not your typical supernatural/paranormal romance. This book is lyrical and haunting and incredibly well-written. It is evocative and emotion-driven and passionate. It is unique and fascinating. It is basically every fabulous sounding adjective that I can think of. In the weeks leading up to my reading of this novel, I began to see a lot of buzz and praise around the internet for this book. I admit, it made me a bit wary to get reading myself. I should not have wasted time worrying. This book is absolutely gorgeous and such a pleasure to read. It is often atmospheric and dark and a bit disturbing, but also lovely and exciting. I think some readers will be put off, if only because they go into this expecting an entirely different book than what they will get. However, if those readers expecting a typical paranormal romance romp just persevere, they will find themselves richly rewarded. This is what a paranormal romance should be - deep and complicated and dark and devoid of melodrama. I hope this book is a huge success; it would be well-deserved.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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