Book Review – Florence by Ciye Cho

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.

Ciye kindly asked me if I was interested to read his book for a possible review and I thought, why not, I had never read a mermaid book before. I read the synopsis and thought it seemed like a pretty conventional storyline but you never know what surprise you may get. The more I read the more I wanted.

Florence starts out as the conventional “invisible” teenager who’s pretty much ignored by her schoomates because she moved only a few years ago and never really made any friends. You feel bad for her because she seemed close to her father who died and now she’s stuck with a mother that doesn’t really seem to care. Once she gets “abducted” and brought down to Niemela, a place hidden in the deepest part of the ocean where mermaids and mermen live, you’re almost relieved because of the unfulfilling life she left behind and almost hoping for her to stay in the new world that you’re discovering along with her.

♥ The first thing I really loved about the book was the beautiful descriptions. Since it was my first mermaid book, you can assume that I don’t often read about deep oceanscape and aquatic wildlife. Cho’s way of writing about the scenery is so vivid and detailed that you can’t help but having crystal-clear mental images of everything Florence is experiencing, and from what I’ve seen of coral landscapes in pictures, the world of Niemela seemed dreamlike.

♥ The story was sprinkled with funny  bits, like the part where Florence is presented to a bunch of mermen: “Haralo, Juren, Piriko… it sounded like she was reading from an Ikea catalogue”. I laughed. There was also some well thought out and almost lyrically-rendered info that really helped us imagine what was life like for a mermaid: “It seemed that smelling things in Niemela required one to taste the particles that drifted in the current”.

♥ The Oceanarium was definitely my favorite place in Niemela to read about. A giant sort of dome and passages made out of corals where all sorts of marine animals lived in complete harmony, with themselves and with the merpeople. You can hop on a whale to take a tour, light up the corals with a single mood and request certain actions from animals with your thoughts. My explanation doesn’t make it justice, but the whole concept is really cool.

♥ Maybe one last thing that I liked was that there is a total turnaround about a duo of characters, and I totally didn’t see it coming. Not that it was meant to be a big surprise, at least I don’t think so, but I really appreciated that twist in the story.

Also, if you like action, you’ll have a lot of it in the last third of the book, as alliances are broken and what is called “The Darkness” threatens to take over Niemela. I gave it 4 1/2 stars ! The sequels are called Luminaire and Darkness.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Peril, The Legend of Sedrak says:

    This sounds like an interesting one. I’ve never read a mermaid book myself. Think I’ll give this one a go.

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