Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Between the Sea and Sky

Title: Between the Sea and Sky
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books
Published: October 25th 2011
Source: Publishers for review

For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren-the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood, a dashing young man named Alander, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alander band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

Esmerine and Dosinia are the first two sirens in the Lorremen bloodline, holding prestigious titles that will gift their family with special magic forever. When a mermaid becomes a siren, they receive a belt from which they can draw power, but it can also be their undoing. If a man were to steal that belt, they would forever be his property and lose their tail to legs. When Dosinia mysteriously disappears after speaking about her two human male friends, Esmerine makes it her mission to find her sister and to discover what happened. Not only can a man steal the belt but a mermaid can offer it while in love, pledging their faith to the human race forever. So which category does Dosinia fall under?

One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was its merfolk and siren lore. I liked that sirens were specifically chosen for the job and that they were tasked with diverting warships, sinking boats which went over their fishing limit, and motoring sea traffic. They didn't simply sing to seduce and kill men, but pledged to protect their kind from humans while disregarding their own desires. In a historical world that's aware of the supernatural, seeing Esmerine transform into a human is an wonderful sight. In constricting dresses and feet which hurt with every step, Esme is out of her element and doesn't know how she will traverse the bustling town of Sormesen. While I was interested in Esmerine's travels and search for her sister, I didn't get the feeling that this novel had a large conflict or climax. It was more of a journey over the entire book, rather than anything with a real complication.

While on land, Esmerine gets word that her best childhood friend, Alander, may be working in a bookshop. As children, the winged boy (a fandarsee) would teach her how to read and write, sharing tales which depicted princesses getting their princes and young girls embarking on magical journeys. Both were devastated when Alan had to attend the Academy before he was to become a messenger. Contact was lost for four years and their reunion was not at all like Esme expected. Nowhere to be seen were the tight hugs and reminiscent conversations she imagined, but an unfriendly man who was only interested in the academic side of literature. When Alan agrees to fly Esme to the mountains for the search, their relationship slowly rekindles while swooping over the colourful landscape. Small moments of tenderness are seen and it's all very sweet! I wouldn't call this an epic romance with a ton of depth, but it's nice if you're looking for something light-hearted.

Between the Sea and Sky doesn't market itself as a serious fantasy, but as a quick, fresh and fun read with a fairytale feel. If simple and innocent relationships do it for you, you'll be delighted with the love Alander and Esmerine share. I enjoyed the nice escape it provided me with but won't be shelving it as a favourite. I love novels with substance, so it was a little difficult for me to be thrown into a world where everything seemed a little too easy and without large consequence or conflict. With more character and plot development, this could've been a great novel! Nevertheless, you'll be pleased with the sweet conclusion that gives everyone their happily ever after.

I'm really excited for some upcoming mermaid books! Seems like 2012 is the year ;)

Find Jaclyn on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Between the Sea and Sky from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
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