So far I’ve only reviewed good books. But I suppose I ought to give honest reviews of bad books, too.
I picked this up when it was offered for free on Amazon. There’s a mermaid on the cover. It was listed under Christian fantasy, and it had no reviews. I thought, hey, why not?
It’s about this mermaid who falls in love with a human, but her dad Neptune gets mad and lets out the Leviathan to kill the human. But then the Ancient Man (the renamed Jesus, even though the various angels and Satan aren’t renamed) one-ups Neptune by letting loose the Tide Walker. The Tide Walker is a giant half man half fish like something from Cthulhu.
Oh yes, and all the merfolk are actually aquatic Nephilim.
Cue the headdesk. Headdesk. Headdesk.
But the story would still be interesting if not for the other story that keeps interrupting it. The other story is first person from this guy named Georgie (I keep thinking of him as Georgie Porgie) who apparently was the hero of the previous book. He’s running around harvesting lobsters and dating a girl his mom doesn’t approve of. Oh, and somebody’s been cutting his traps loose. It couldn’t be his childhood friend-turned-rival-who-hates-him-for-inheriting-money, could it?
I can’t bring myself to care about this parallel story, because the world’s not at stake. Also, everything that happens in this story, then happens in the mermaid story. He dates a girl his mom doesn’t like. The mermaid dates a guy her dad doesn’t like! And so on. Page after page of mirror story.
The mermaid’s name is Serena. Her sisters are Selena and Sabrina. When they’re all on screen, good luck keeping track of who’s who.
All the animals talk a la Disney. I wouldn’t mind this so much, if the seals didn’t all have various on Selkie, and the dolphins are named things like Dolphine and Adolpho.
The monsters, the Tide Walker and the Leviathan, spend their time eating people’s heads off and mustache-twirling about how they’re going to destroy the world. Except the Leviathan is now the Tide Walker’s whipped housewife. It’s a giant seven-headed hydra, creeping along, doing whatever the Tide Walker says, or the Tide Walker beats it up. It’s like any Saturday morning cartoon, where the two villain stooges yell halfway funny things at each other.
The props. In the underwater city, the merfolk have things like books and silk scarves and silk blankets. I kept trying to figure out how they got them, and how the things held up underwater. Then when the leviathan breathed fire underwater … I’m sorry, the book just lost me because I’m laughing so hard.
The dialogue. Ooooohhh, the dialogue. Let me give you an example.
Mom sighed and said, “Eat your supper, George and we can talk about whenever these new ideas are a little later. You know how much your Father hates to be interrupted when he’s watching the Red Skelton Hour.”
King Jubal smiled a sad sort of smile and replied, “There are times when being the king is a heavy burden, indeed. This is one of them. It will be one of the most difficult tasks I have ever undertaken, but it is my duty and a true king never shirks his duty. His subjects well-being must always come before his own ease. I will leave for Oceanus directly. Perhaps, you can find Shep and bring him along. Somehow having you both with me will make this ordeal seem easier.”
Huge chunks of exposition are packed into every character’s dialogue. Real people don’t talk like that. It made the entire book annoying and hard to read.
The story does have potential, and so do the character conflicts. But the way everything is resolved at the end left me extremely unsatisfied. I kept expecting the storylines to cross over, like have Georgie be out harvesting lobsters and have a mermaid pop out of the ocean for a quick word. Never happened.
Every character gets redeemed at the end, except for two dog-nasty evil types who are counterparts of each other in the parallel stories. But the antagonistic characters all turn out to have hearts of gold. The deus ex machina is actually a physical plot point. I was really disappointed.
Now, all this would be completely acceptable if it was a Little Mermaid fanfic. But this thing is an ebook on sale for ten bucks.
I’m sorry, if I’m going to shell out cash to read something, it’d better a heck of a lot better than this.