Between the Sea and Sky
Bloomsbury Teens, 2011
Old sailor’s lore tells of mermaids who sing their siren song, causing men to drive their ships upon the rocks. Esmerine is a young mermaid who is on the threshold of becoming one of those Sirens. It will be her job to protect the oceans from over-fishing and pollution by mankind, causing ships to sink and drowning the sailors if necessary. It is a job she is magically suited for but one she’s not sure she wants to do. Like her sister Dosia, also a Siren, she has a fascination with the world above the water and wants to engage with humans and the Fandarsi (a winged race of peoples), to read books and to explore the world above the water. Because she is a Siren she can transform her fish tail into legs and walk on dry land. After her initiation, Dosia runs away to live life as a human and Esmerine transforms and goes after her. She accidently meets her childhood Fandarsi friend, Alander in a book shop, and together they search for Dosia. All the while Esmerine struggles with living on land, accepting her love for Alander, desperately wanting to find her sister, and going home to the sea.
This light romance has a totally cool premise – that of a mermaid who loves a man/creature of the air. He is unable to join her under the ocean and she can’t walk without extreme pain in her tail-transformed-feet. I liked the story okay; there was no emotional hook for me and I didn’t care about Esmerine and Alander one way or another. The world under the sea the author created was not real to me; even with my vivid imagination I was unable to picture it. There seemed to be an assumption that because the story was about mermaids the reader was able to picture a world under water. Having never lived under water I was unable to imagine it and needed help that the author didn’t provide. It was also difficult for me to picture Alander the way he was described by the author. He had wings, but not the familiar angel wings, but more like bat wings, which I didn’t figure out until just now. Also there was another one of those endings I loathe – where a block of time passes between the second to last chapter and the last chapter with no signifying device of indicating the passage of time. (Go here to see my feelings on that kind of ending.)
Because of these issues and just the overall feeling of blah I was left with, this book is rated rather low.