Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Book Review: Drown by Esther Dalseno

My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Author: Esther Dalseno
Genre: YA Retelling
Published: 2015

I adore The Little Mermaid. I always have. I'll meet people when they're visiting my parents and they'll be  like "oh you used to sing the little mermaid song for everybody", Yeah thats fantastic who are you again? 

 I found Esther's book on Instagram and knew I'd have to get my hands on a copy of her story. I was absolutely thrilled when she offered to send me one. I figured I knew what I was getting into having read the actual fairy tale and my emotions would be fine. Nope. I was wrong. 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seven emotionless princesses.
Three ghostly sirens.
A beautiful, malicious witch haunted by memories.
A handsome, self-mutilating prince.

Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a troubled human prince, she is driven by love to consult the elusive sea-witch who secretly dominates the entire species of merfolk. Upon paying an enormous price for her humanity, the little mermaid begins a new life, uncovering secrets of sexuality and the Immortal Soul. As a deadly virus threatens to contaminate the bloodstreams of the whole merfolk race, the little mermaid must choose between the lives of her people, the man she loves, or herself.

A complete reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, this is a magical-realist fable that captures the essence of sacrifice and the price of humanity.

Esther Dalseno took this well loved, classic fairy tale and turned it into a completely new story. We had some of the old characters but we also had some new ones. The setting was essentially the same but the background story was all new. We discovered how mermaids came about, why Ursula was out on a mission of destruction, and just how lonely a rich prince could be. I loved how you could see the old fairy tale coming through the book but at the same time manage to feel anticipation for what was coming next. 

The characters were all very much alive in this story. You could see them come to life on the paper as you continued to read the story. The Little Mermaid who was an adventurous, and curious but she was also confused as to why she was so different from the other mermaids. And the Prince was a lonely teen who was now struggling with his new role as King. He didn't have much of a father and now he had been left with a kingdom, and a group of stuffy advisers. All the characters in the story just had such vivid personalities. The sisters, the Prince's Uncle, the maid that helped The Little Mermaid fit in. Even Ursula was someone you felt pity for and wished a better ending for. They just all seemed so real and it was something that made the story more realistic and enjoyable. 

The stories development was another thing that impressed me as I read. Retellings are some of my favorite things to read but I've noticed it's hard for an author to  not bore their reader because they can't put their own twist on it and it just ends up being the same old tale with a few new characters. The original story of The Little Mermaid is a sad story about a girl who falls in love with a prince and risks it all for him just to end up on her own. Esther Dalseno gave us so much more. I've never fallen in love with a retelling as much as I have with this one. 

If you can't tell by now I loved this book. Everything about it was perfect. The ending was bittersweet and it made tears come to my eyes but at the same time I couldn't see it ending any other way. If it had I would have been disappointed. Esther came through though and it was perfect. The tale was dark but it was obnoxiously so. You could see where The Little Mermaid was coming from and her regret at how things were at the end. If you like fiction, YA, retellings, or just good books in general then I recommend this one to you. I loved every page of it.

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