Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon

Completion Date: May 18, 2011
Reason for Reading: Enjoyed her first book, Godmother.
The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart... It is a cold day at the end of the world when a young woman, a princess in hiding, looks out across a Northern sea and sees something she could not have seen. It looks...it can't be. It looks like a mermaid's tail. And, as she looks more closely, she sees that the mermaid is dragging a drowning sailor in her arms. Because, only hours before, another princess, the daughter of the sea queen, has decided to risk everything and take a look at the world above the sea: the world of mortals. And there she finds a storm, a shipwreck, a sailor, and sets in train events which will change both women's worlds forever.
I don't know what to think about this book. I read it a while ago now and still haven't entirely made up my mind. I had the same problem when I read her first book. There is something about her so far that just puts me off from full-out loving her books. I like the ideas behind them, but maybe parts of the execution turn me off. This book is also partly because I was never crazy about the original version of this story, so the retelling would have had to be amazing for me to love it. I have to say that I enjoyed her first book much more than I enjoyed this one. The idea of what a woman will go through for a guy has always turned me off. No guy is worth that torture. I had hoped that Turgeon would rewrite that part, but instead she made it even more graphic. I repeat, no guy is worth that torture!

I have always been a bit curious about mermaids, though. They are one of those mythological characters that do not get written about a lot, so I was curious to see a book with them having a staring role. And, it said it was a twist on the classic tale, so that had lots of possibilities. I had recently read aspects of this story in a Charles de Lint short story. I did not make the connection at the time. It turns out de Lint retold the original story as well. This novel has a contrast between a human princess in hiding and a mermaid from an entirely different world. A twist of fate brought them together, and even though they were technically in competition with each other... they became friends. This aspect of the story was one that the original lacked, so it appealed to me.

I wouldn't jump up and recommend this book to everyone, but I will say that it has some interesting points. I have seen positive reviews of it, so I know that other people did enjoy it. I just couldn't get passed the idea behind the book. In the end I suppose the author redeems the original story by taking things in a different direction, but overall this story just bothers me and I cannot seem to get beyond that.

This book counts for the Once Upon a Time challenge.


  1. It sort of drives me crazy when I can't quite decide how I feel about a book. I wish it didn't, I wish I could just accept that feeling. I have her other book, but haven't read it yet...and from what you said, it sounds like the better one to start with, huh?

  2. I'm rather torn about whether I want to read this book or not. The whole "torture yourself to get the guy" thing is really what puts me off of the original story as well... People should never do that. :P

  3. You know, I was pretty surprised the other day when I went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean and saw a trailer for a movie based on this book before it. I didn't even know it existed, just Godmother! I wonder how I'd feel about this one... but I'll probably read her other book first.

  4. I've only seen one other review for this one but it was a pretty positive one. I'm not entirely interested in the book but you have reminded me that I *need* to read Charles de Lint! ;)


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