Monday, August 27, 2012

Sarah's Review on Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama (@elizabethfama)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Format: E-Galley
Pages: 302
Source: Netgalley
Rating: Escapable
Challenge: 2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge
Extras: Facebook
Seek: Amazon, Goodreads
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.
This cover was haunting and beautiful. The perfect fit for the title. If you want to see the entire cover, with an awesome back cover, check out Elizabeth's blog here. It's really gorgeous in real life.
It was a woman as pale and luminescent as a ghost, with swirling white hair. Ezra startled, dropping his pencil into the water. Her face snapped toward him. Her eyes were too large, clear green, and had horizontal, slit-shaped pupils, reminiscent of an octopus.
I am in love with mermaid tales, so I read a lot of mermaid-themed books. Monstrous Beauty was by far one of my favorite mermaid books ever. It is unique, dark, and there's a forbidden love! Ah! It was just everything I wanted in a book.

I thought this was just going to be another mermaid book, with a girl from the sea falls in love with a man on land. Everyone doesn't want them to be together, but in the end, they live happily ever after. Yeah... this is nothing like that. Although, there is love. This is more At World's End type mermaids then The Little Mermaid stuff. These are dangerous, immortal mermaids. 

When I first noticed that the book was split into two different time periods, I admit, I was thrown off. But it was the writing...such beautiful writing...that brought me back to this book. The way the author weaves the words together, got me hooked. It will probably take me awhile to get into another mermaid book after this, because nothing will compare to this one.

This is deep, dark storytelling at its best. This book was so captivating, that I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I started reading this book before bed and told myself I was only going to read a ¼ of it before falling asleep. But when I stopped, I kept picturing the characters in my head and thinking about what is going to happen next. Coming up with theories to the mysteries. That I couldn't take it anymore, and continued reading. By 5 a.m., I finished the book with so many thoughts and emotions going through me.

The mystery is what made me stay awake through the night. Not only was Hester looking for why every woman in her family dies after giving birth, there was also a murder mystery. There's a curse, and Hester is the only one who can fix it. With every curse, there are some sacrifices. Some more heartbreaking than others. Going back and forth between time periods, you get pieces to the puzzle along the way. However, not until the ending, do you finally understand everything.

I would recommend this book to older young adults, like 16+ because you need to be able to focus on the storytelling. I checked on Edelweiss, to see what age group the publishers listed for this book, and it was 12-17. Which I know is incorrect. This is a deep tale that would captivate readers, and there are some things that I don't think young readers should be reading. Blood and gore type things.

I was searching for a quote that would draw you in when I came across a review by Wendy Darling. She picked the perfect teaser and it really does catch your attention without spoiling anything.
Elizabeth is working on a new thriller book titled Plus One. It is set in an alternate time during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. I am definitely reading that one! However, it does come out until 2014. You check it's Goodreads page for more info.

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