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.
When I first picked this book up, I was pretty excited to read it! I was interested in how the historical fiction and the mermaid themes would intertwine. The artwork on the cover also enticed me to read. There were some elements that I liked about the book, but other elements... I just didn't expect it. Let's take a look at some of the plot elements of Monstrous Beauty.
Breathtaking, Gorgeous, Aching Love! What I Loved:
When I started the prologue of the book, I loved the vivid imagery Fama was able to create. I felt the pain of Syrenka's first love, and I instantly felt a connection to her. I also loved the longing-for-true-love vibe; I have felt this woman's pain before! Syrenka the mermaid is described as having very fish-like qualities. She has sharp teeth, and very sharp, spiny fins with scutes instead of scales and a dolphin's fluke. Cool!
|These are scutes on a sturgeon,|
which is what Syrenka's tail looks like!
Later on in the setting, Hester starts to discover her family's dark secret. As she continues to unravel her family genealogy, it starts to become a thriller. I loved how the book jumped back and forth from historical fiction to thriller that excites the reader! I also loved the romance; it was beautiful and sweet.
I must warn you, mer-readers, the book is very graphic at times.
Tormenting and Painful To Read! What I Hated:
I would just like to warn some readers that this book contains many graphic scenes that made me wince. The first scene that surprised me involved a very graphic rape, followed by a very graphic death scene. But that's not the end of it. This book involves a lot of death scenes that are described and at times were very painful to read, especially when it involved children. I just felt that it wasn't necessary. The ending was a bit weird, and not to spoil the book, but the ending was depressing and left me saying, "That's it?" It just left me wanting more for Hester!
Overall, this book was pretty good, but I found the graphic scenes a bit unnecessary, especially the way they were described. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie