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The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines

The Mermaid's Madness

by Jim C. Hines

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I thought it was a good follow up to Stepsister's Scheme, although this book could also be read as a stand alone novel. Characters were well written. I was disappointed that Danielle's sword from the first book was barely mentioned and the girls seemed to complicate matters in several areas. Good fantasy read that reminds me of Weis/Hickman Dragonlance work. ( )
  PhxDan | Aug 28, 2014 |
Wow, so, the second book is better than the first. Not that I disliked the first at all, but it really was an introduction compared to this one.

First off: I GOT IN EVERYONE'S HEADS. It was fun! I liked that. Not that Danielle was a bad POV in the first one, it's just I was intensely curious about the other princesses's thought processes.

Second off: I am so happy with the gay in this book. Like, normally I have to wade through pages and pages of ilk about how some female protagonist lurves some guy and angst, but in this book? It's some lady love, albeit currently unrequited. And it's kind of sad how little of that I get outside of porny vampire books. Kind of hit me in the gut and reminded me of my confusing teen years. I especially love the contrast between the human angst and the more freeform magic folk

Third off: Wow, it's really obvious that the author has some experience with therapy and people that have been through trauma. And it's nice to see some characters that have gone through trauma and survived juxtaposed with one that didn't--the latter being all too common. If there were ever a fairytale to use for these kinds of things, The Little Mermaid would be it.

These books so far are just hitting all the things I really REALLY wished I had growing up. Seriously. The author's daughter is so lucky! ( )
  cendri | May 30, 2014 |
I was really looking forward to this one, and not just because it dovetails with my own mermaid story. The mermaid fiction that isn't a rehash of "The Little Mermaid" is few and far between, unless ups the mush or turns mermaids into monsters. Before I start let me just say I love me some Jim C. Hines. He's a cool guy and the writer I can most relate to in this world. I like his work.

But the story left me dissatisfied, maybe because my hopes were too high. It's an action-oriented plot, meaning characterization and plot get pushed to the background. There's lots of pirate ship fights, tense trespassings into enemy territory, and hand-to-hand/magic-to-magic combat. That means there's no neat revelations or "oh crap" moments that provoke an emotional reaction and make the plot page-turning like "The Hunger Games" did. It's a straight shot through -- no literary techniques like chekhov's guns or red herrings or allegories.

The characters are great, but I wished they had been explored more. And I felt he was padding near the end (maybe because I know he was padding near the end because he wrote it on his blog). Maybe it's just me, but I wanted to see more of the mermaid world. He had a great antagonist--Ariel made into a serial killer--and it looked like he was going to do a good job with her, but then she was reduced to a mewling, muttering straitjacket-wearer huddled up in a tower. Her potential as an enemy ended up largely ignored, and heroes are only as good as their enemies. 3.5 stars. ( )
1 vote theWallflower | Nov 13, 2013 |
There is a new threat to the kingdom – the seas around the nation are becoming impassable due to rampaging mermaids and, worse, Queen Bea herself has been injured and lays dying. It falls to Princess Danielle, Snow and Talia to set out again, the only ones who can to try and save Bea’s life – and her very soul – and preserve not just the kingdom but all seafaring nations

But it’s a complex task and finding who the actual villain is proves more complex than previously imagined. It begs the question – even if the villain is the victim, can they afford to be merciful?

And all because the Little Mermaid didn’t get her Happily Ever After

I do like how this series challenges a lot of assumptions about fairytales, a lot of the staples we’ve all grown up on that are, frankly, dubious to say the least. In this book we have a very strong challenge to the whole love-at-first sight trope that so dominates fairytales. Why should that prince you’ve barely met and hardly know turn out to be a nice guy? How can you be so sure of his affections after such a short time knowing him? Or that, occasionally, that guy you fall for turns out to be a brutal, manipulative, arsehole?

So when the Little Mermaid decides to give up her family, her people, everything for the sake of the love of a human she has known for a week – is it any surprise that it ends badly or one applies reality rather than fairytale rules? This story is a tragedy through and through because Lirea is, in many ways, a victim as much as she is a perpetrator. Ultimately, she was a very young woman who fell hard for the wrong man and was badly used by people who were older and wiser than her who sought to exploit her for their own ends. I like how this is even applied to Danielle’s own story – Talia pointing out just how lucky she was that Armand was a good man since they married after knowing each other for so little time. Danielle is presented as having made a very naïve, very silly decision that, luckily, worked out; this is even more stark when you consider that out of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid, Cinderella is the only one who managed her Happily Ever After.

This book does a very good job of preserving that nuance, partly through the lens of Danielle’s near infinite compassion and the pleas of Lirea’s family, but also through the much harsher and more cynical gazes of Snow and Talia who recognise the real bad guy. At the same time, this doesn’t require anyone to be a saint or ruin the story with people being just so damn nice that you have to wipe the sugar off your tablet screen. While there’s sympathy for Lirea, there’s equally not much forgetting that she has killed people, she is threatening the nation and she has hurt Queen Bea. Compassion and acknowledgement of her victimhood does not translate into automatic forgiveness – certainly not from Talia, nor does it stop the 3 princesses from doing what they consider necessary to save Queen Bea. And if that means everyone doesn’t get a happy ending – well, so be it; not everyone’s promised one.

Even the behind-it-all villain is presented with a level of nuance. Ultimately her actions stem from the widely held belief that mermaids are lesser people; a belief they took to heart and sought a way to save themselves and their people from. No-one is just a villain, and even bad people have people who care about them.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
3.25 stars

Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (White) are tossed into a new adventure when the undine and their leader Lirea (The Little Mermaid) want to wage war. With Lirea's sister (Lannadae)'s help, they find the girls' grandmother, Morveren, who they are hoping will be able to help. Beatrice, the queen, has taken ill and Morveren has an object that might help Beatrice recover.

It's been a few years since I read the first book in the series, but I don't think I liked this one as much. I'm odd with fantasy – I like some (more likely YA or urban, and usually fairy tales or retellings), but usually not the real “traditional” fantasy. This felt a little more like the traditional fantasy that I'm not as crazy about, mixed with adventure. I quite enjoyed some parts of this, but then lost a bit of interest in other parts. I will still probably try the third book in the series, at least, before giving up on it. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 15, 2013 |
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Princess Danielle Whiteshore of Lorindar clung to the rail at the front of the ship, staring out at the waves. If this wind kept up, she might become the first princess in history to welcome the undine back from their winter migration by vomiting into their waters.
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"There is an old story--you might have heard it--about a young mermaid, the daughter of a king, who saved the life of a human prince and fell in love. So innocent was her love, so pure her devotion, that she would pay any price for the chance to be with her prince. She gave up her voice, her family, and the sea, and became human. But the prince fell in love with another woman. The tales say the little mermaid sacrificed her own life so that her beloved prince could find happiness with his bride. The tales lie. If you want to know the real story, a tale not of unrequited love and noble sacrifice but one of madness, murder, and magic gone awry, Daniella, Talia, and Snow--a.k.a. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White--are the three princesses who can tell you what really happened. They were there when everything fell apart, and unthinkable tragedy struck the kingdom of Lorindar. And they were the only ones who stood a chance of setting things right, not only for Queen Bea and Lorindar, but for the merfolk as well...."--p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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