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August 17, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous BeautyTitle: Monstrous Beauty  

Author: Elizabeth Fama 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Release Date: September 4, 2012 

Received: For review from publisher

Summary:  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.

Review:  Mermaids are one of my favorite mythical creatures to read about. I love them and I really like seeing all the different ways that authors can take them.

Case in point, I recently read Of Poseidon by Anna Banks and then I read Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. Now I did not go into these books thinking that they were going to be anything alike but reading them in the span of a few months showed me just how different two mermaid books can be. 

Monstrous Beauty switches from present day to historical times, each chapter (until near the end) switches between Syrenka's story and Hester's story, and while we know they must be intertwined it is slowly shown just how much as you continue reading.

Elizabeth Fama succeeded in writing a mildly scary book, it made me not want to go in the water. I think the reason she was able to achieve all this was because of the vivid and beautiful world she built. I could see the things happening and could imagine it being real.

I liked Hester as a main character. Though I thought her to be stupid quite often and wanted to shake her for some of the decisions she made I could see why she made them. I also thought Peter was a great character and I wish he had been in it more. 

Curses, mermaids, ghosts, and historical towns. What else could you want in a book?

The only thing I had problems with was that the beginning was a little slow and slightly confusing but once I started to be pulled into the story I couldn't look away!

If you are looking for a lighter mermaid book check out my review of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks


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