Monday, January 26, 2015

Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea by Varla Ventura

Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea by Varla Ventura
Book Type: Collection of Short Stories and Ocean Facts
Author: Varla Ventura
Pages: 238

From Homer's 'Odyssey' to 'Pirates of the Caribbean', mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries. This is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticised mythological creature.

My Review:
I received this book as a surprise from my selkie mom, and was so excited to read it that I nearly squealed like a seal pup! Sadly, my squeals of excitement turned to moans of frustration and boredom.

Boring Stories and Odd Tidbits:
I began first with a mermaid tale that was Irish in origin... then another Irish legend, and another! The stories in this book lack diversity. About 75 percent of the stories in here seem to have an Irish background, but I wanted other stories from other countries, not just one! I also found the language in these stories to be antiquated, and I wish Ventura updated them for modern mer-readers. I also had another problem while reading this book; there weren't any breaks between the author explaining a subject, and a story being told, and this made me confused as to when a story was stopping and starting.
I also found the small facts in this book to be out of place and not needed. For example, Ventura put in information about pirates and nautical terms, but if this is a mermaid book, why was this added? I felt that this was just "fluff" as they say, used to just fill the book. The last story had nothing to even do with mermaids, and was so boring that I had to stop reading it! :(

No, No, No!:
Selkies are also briefly mentioned in this book... but have blond hair! This seems incorrect to me, since many legends about selkies mentioned beautiful black or brunette tresses. And I should know!
Only two mermaid performers, named Hannah Fraser and Mermaid Mizuko are mentioned, and I think this was wrong of Ventura. There are so many brilliant mermaids swimming nowadays who have different causes, and although I respect what they do, Hannah and Mizuko aren't the only ones. Mermaid Raina also teaches young children to respect the ocean through demonstrations and lectures. Eric Ducharme was also mentioned in this book, and Ventura even recommends his store if you want your own custom tail. However, from my online searches I have seen that he has had a lot of negative feedback as to how he conducts himself and how his tails turn out. I think Ventura should have also added in FlipTails and Merbella Studios; both of them make INCREDIBLE tails!

Bad Mer-Reccomendations:
Towards the back of the book, Ventura recommends some good movies, such as Splash! and Mr. Peabody And The Mermaid, but also recommends Peter Pan and Harry Potter, which only involve a few minutes of mermaids, not a whole movie! I was surprised that H20 wasn't mentioned, something I plan on reviewing myself in the future.

In conclusion, I feel that Ventura really missed the mark on this book. There seemed to be a lack of real research into creating a diverse and well thought mermaid book, and this was disappointing. Unfortunately, I give this book (**) 2 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

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