Author: Ciye Cho
Publication date: June 28, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
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Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.
Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.
Ever since I read a rather poorly written mermaid book a couple of years ago, I've been avoiding the whole mer-people subgenre. Yeah, it was that traumatizing. But after reading an excerpt of Florence, I just couldn't stop. I needed to read the entire book.
And I'm so glad that I did because this story totally restored my faith in mermaid books.
First off, let's talk about Florence. I loved Florence. She was such a strong and brave character, but her strength didn't come from charging into the unknown and doing crazy, dangerous things. It was a quiet strength that wasn't very apparent at first, but as she is tested again and again by the reality of a mermaid civilization, it is impossible not to see how strong Florence is as she adjusts to being away from everything she's known and doesn't let it break her. Florence is a wallflower, but she's also loyal and insanely brave. I really enjoyed seeing those latter qualities manifest over the course of this novel.
As for Rolan and Kiren. Sigh. HOW do I even begin to describe these two mermen who have both stolen a piece of my heart?? I think what I loved most about them was their character development, their various layers, and how they both had story arcs independent of Florence's. There is a lot more to the princes than meets the eye. Rolan is stoic and cold, but underneath all that you discover his protective and gentle nature. Kiren is the golden boy, seemingly care-free and always cheerful, but underneath that is a guy with his own troubles. Reading the synopsis, I had expected the princes to each be one side of a love triangle so I was very pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the relationships between the three was much more complex.
I don't want to give too much information about Niemela away, but the world building in this book was phenomenal. Ciye Cho's writing has created this vivid and colorful underwater civilization that is just beautiful!
All in all: This was such a good story! Florence's narration pulled me in from the first chapter and